Meknes – Morocco and the European Union (EU) signed, on Friday in Meknes, a letter of intent under which the EU will grant Morocco a donation of 60 million euros to support the Pillar II of the Moroccan Green Plan (PMV). This new donation, by virtue of the letter of intent which was signed by Agriculture minister Aziz Akhannouch and director general for agriculture and rural development at the European Commission Jerzy Bogdan Plewa, will be paid over four years starting from 2014.It will contribute to improving the income of small farmers by taking into consideration the preservation of natural resources through supporting the implementation of the Pillar II of the Moroccan Green Plan. The donation aims also to achieve, in the four targeted areas (Fez-Boulemane, Meknes-Tafilalet, the eastern region and Souss-Massa-Draa), the goals of developing the agriculture-related matters as laid in the Pillar II of the PMV, promoting economic and social participation and increasing the ministry’s operational capacities for a better PMV follow-up.The program implementation will span 72 months divided into two phases. The first phase of operational implementation will last 48 months and the second is a closing phase of two years.In 2010, the EU have donated 70 mln euros to fund the program dubbed PAPSA, “program for supporting the agricultural sectoral policy”, said Akhannouch at the signing ceremony held on the sidelines of the 9th International Agriculture Show in Morocco (SIAM).
Adopting a Presidential Statement, the 15-nation Council spotlighted, among other things, cross-border issues, including the large flows of natural resources, migrants and refugees, as well as the activities of armed groups and criminal networks in and around the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).“Solutions to the prevailing situation in the Great Lakes region should come within a regional perspective, by addressing the root causes of conflicts, many of which are regional in nature,” the Council underscored.The Council expressed grave concern over the continued illicit exploitation of natural resources and their trade in the eastern DRC, urging coordinated efforts by the signatory States of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework, regional organizations and the international community to undercut the economic lifelines of armed groups benefitting from those activities.Today’s adoption of the text followed the 21 March Council open debate on the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes region, held under Angola’s presidency for the month.On the security front, the Council reiterated the importance of neutralizing all armed groups in country’s eastern part, particularly the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the various Mai Mai groups, in accordance with resolution 2277 (2016).Noting the announcement of the resumption of joint military operations between the DRC’s Government and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), the Council called for immediate restart of such activities in earnest to completely neutralize those armed groups.Turning to the political front, the Council urged regional support for initiatives aimed at promoting inclusive dialogue amongst national stakeholders and stressed the importance of enabling the full and free participation of peaceful political parties, civil society and the media in the political process.The Great Lakes region includes Burundi and Rwanda as well as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.While welcoming the credible and peaceful conduct of elections in some States in the region, the Council noted that the recent and ongoing electoral processes in other States raise deep concerns about the risk of instability, human rights and humanitarian law violations and abuses, and further displacement of people.The Council called on States in the region to take steps to ensure that electoral processes promote peace and security through timely, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections.