The Republic of The Gambia opened Tuesday a Consulate General in the southern city of Dakhla.
The inauguration ceremony was chaired by minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans abroad, Nasser Bourita, and his Gambian counterpart, Mamadou Tangara.
The opening of the Gambian Consulate General in the southern provinces of the Kingdom is in line with the consistent position of this African country vis-à-vis the Moroccan Sahara issue, Bourita said at a joint press briefing with his Gambian counterpart.
The Gambia has always supported the international legitimacy and historical rights of the Kingdom in all regional and international fora, he said.
He also stressed the importance of this event in the history of the solid and long-standing relations between Morocco and the Gambia, links which have undergone a great evolution in recent years, recalling in this regard the holding of the joint commission soon in Banjul where a series of agreements will be signed in several areas.
Many countries are interested in opening diplomatic representations in the southern provinces, to express their support for the Moroccan Sahara, he noted, adding that other consulates will be inaugurated in Dakhla and Laayoune by African and non-African countries.
He underlined that this decision also reinforces the positive momentum of the national cause on the international scene through the constant support expressed by several countries to the Moroccan Sahara.
In addition to its political significance, the opening of these diplomatic representations constitutes a lever for the development of commercial and economic exchanges between Morocco and these countries, he said.
For his part, the Gambian minister of Foreign Affairs stressed that his country's decision to open a Consulate General in Dakhla is an act of sovereignty in accordance with diplomatic rules and customs, adding that this act is in line with the logic pursued by The Gambia since its independence, namely the recognition of the Moroccanness of the Sahara.
In this vein, he reiterated the position of The Gambia, which "has never suffered any ambiguity on the issue of the Moroccan Sahara and the territorial integrity of Morocco".
Tangara also pointed out that today's opening is a "historic event," given that The Gambia is the first African country to have inaugurated a diplomatic representation in this city, noting that "this is only the beginning of a very strong dynamic of cooperation between the two countries," especially after the opening of a Gambian embassy in Rabat and an honorary consulate in Casablanca.
The Kingdom of Morocco effectively exercises its sovereignty over its Sahara and The Gambia's decision to open a consular representation in this region of the Kingdom is in line with the positions expressed by this State at the UN General Assembly and other international fora backing Morocco's territorial integrity, he stressed.
The Gambian FM underlined that "any criticism of this decision represents an interference in the diplomatic relations between two sovereign African nations, Morocco and The Gambia".
Last June, Côte d'Ivoire opened an honorary consulate in Laayoune and in December, the Union of the Comoros inaugurated a consulate general in the same city.