H.E. Mohamed Maliki is the newly appointed Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Nepal, India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. He presented his credentials to President Bidya Devi Bhandari on 5 June 2017. A graduate in literature, Maliki is trained in Strategic Studies and Diplomatic Studies in Morocco, Pakistan, Malaysia and the United States. He has more than two decades of experience in various diplomatic capacities. Maliki began his career as the First Secretary of Foreign Affairs in charge of Technical Cooperation with African countries. He has wide experience in African and Asian affairs having served in Cameroon from 1994 to 2000 and at the Directorate of Asia and Oceania Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Morocco.
In his first media interview after presenting his credentials to the President of Nepal, Maliki talked to Sujan Tiwari of Business 360, and shared his experience in this region, the changing world politics, and the areas of possible cooperation between Nepal and Morocco. Excerpts:
You have just assumed office as the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco to Nepal. What are the core areas of your focus in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries?
Nepal and Morocco have shared cordial relations since 1965 as we place high the common values like peace, tolerance, mutual understanding and respect of territory among others. Despite the geographic distance between Nepal and Morocco, we have had very good cooperation. We have very strong coordination in international arena too. We tend to forget that the relationship between countries is based primarily on how far they can go to support each other in their core issues. Morocco has found Nepal to be a reliable partner in this regard. Regarding our cooperation, we can focus on education, tourism and agriculture as these are major sectors of focus for both countries. We can also work together in water management and energy sector.
You have served as the head of Asia and Oceania Affairs under the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. What has been your reading of the region?
Nepal is part of the region that I was covering. The region is rich, challenging and presents a new perspective. Asia, as a whole, is a complex and varied continent. The region has been leading the growth of the world for a long time. My tenure provided a rich yet challenging experience.
Traditionally, Morocco has always looked at the north for cooperation, and a little to the east. For the last 15 years, however, when His Majesty ascended the throne, we started to look more towards the south and developed strong relations. But for the last few years, there has been a strategic decision from the top administration and His Majesty to diversify the partners. We are trying to keep the momentum and affable relations with the old partners, while looking for new strategic partnerships too because you need to have different allies. The world politics is changing and getting more challenging, we all need to have many friends who can support us. So we are looking for more partners in this region, including Nepal.
You have been to Nepal a few times before this. What is your personal assessment of Nepal?
Nepal has human values, one of the best ingredients for prosperity, which is lacking in other countries. It has the highest degree of acceptance and tolerance of the others. There is scarcity of these values in the world since they are being hijacked by terrorist activities. But people, ultimately, need to go back to the same values. Nepal is a great lesson for the world in this regard since it encompasses faith and belief. The peace and quiet you feel and the wellbeing you experience in Nepal—you don’t find it everywhere.
Looking at the potentials, Nepal is equally gifted. It has good human capital as well as it can achieve a lot in renewable energy which is the most crucial thing in the world right now. You have good amount of sunlight and wind; not to mention the potential of hydropower. Tourism is another huge potential for Nepal.
You have a long experience in various diplomatic capacities. What can Nepal expect from your tenure?
As a diplomat, my job is to reinforce the relationship between Nepal and Morocco. I will be defending the interests of my country and that’s why I am here, and I am honoured to serve my country as the ambassador for his Majesty the King of Morocco. On the other hand, I will also be Nepal’s ambassador in Morocco as I will be serving Nepal’s interests too.
My other responsibility will be to enforce legal frameworks for the business communities of Morocco and Nepal to work together. We need to give incentives to the business people, assist them and prepare the ground. I reckon the ground is prepared by making effective legal frameworks that could attract investments. We like to do the right things for the right people, and as Nepal is a very friendly country, we have very good intentions for it. I am very optimistic of the future. I am not a man of promises; but, the only thing that I can promise is that I will work tirelessly for the benefits and development of both countries.
We have had a long diplomatic relation since 1975, but our economic cooperation hasn’t been very significant. Why? What are the areas where Nepal and Morocco can work together for mutual benefit?
We need to be ambitious; but also realistic. Even though we have the highest degree of mutual understanding and cooperation, sometimes, it becomes physically difficult to do certain things. Economically, things haven’t been very viable because of the distance between the two countries and the taxation over transport. There have been some attempts for economic cooperation before, and we can still do it in the future. We can cooperate in education, tourism and agriculture as these are the main sectors for both countries. However, we want to explore areas that show potential for both the countries.
What is your message to Nepal and Nepali people?
You have a blessed country, and I hope that the political stability would soon be achieved. Often times, it can take a while for things to come in order, but, eventually, they do come in order. Nepal has opened up itself to the world, and I was impressed by the number of flights coming to and from Kathmandu. I encourage globalisation, but also advise not to forget your traditions. That’s what makes countries different and deeply rooted in history. Not all the countries have this capacity, not all countries have this ability of facing the challenges of the future by looking back at the past.