Home » (Yonhap Interview) Morocco’s Reluctance to Accept Humanitarian Aid After Earthquake Not ‘political’ Choice
Marroco News North Africa

(Yonhap Interview) Morocco’s Reluctance to Accept Humanitarian Aid After Earthquake Not ‘political’ Choice

SEOUL, Sept. 20 (Yonhap) — Morocco’s decision to selectively accept humanitarian assistance from a few countries following a devastating earthquake earlier this month is not politically driven but merely based on logistic calculations, a Moroccan scholar said. Ahmed Abaddi, the secretary general of the Mohammedian League of Religious Scholars, made the remarks in an interview with Yonhap News Agency in Seoul on Tuesday, after Rabat’s acceptance of limited foreign aid in the aftermath of one of the country’s deadliest earthquakes raised questions over whether politics were impending humanitarian aid.

“It’s not a matter of reluctance, it’s a mere issue of organizing those donations and have them be optimized,” he said. “There have been some political interpretations by some countries, which is not the truth.” Since the 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck central Morocco on Sept. 8, its government has only accepted aid from four countries, including Spain, Qatar, Britain and the United Arab Emirates, while rejecting or ignoring offers from other countries.

“If we have our sufficiency of product or a matter, and we receive it from other countries, it would be waste. So we just asked to pause in order to operate the results of what we have and protect our true needs, then our demands will be based on statistics, will be based on exploration of the existing products and what are our true needs,” he said. South Korea’s foreign ministry also offered to send a disaster relief team and humanitarian aid worth US$2 million to Morocco last week. The ministry said it was in close consultation with Morocco on detailed supportive measures.

“And of course, Morocco, as Korea will, not do any receptions just for the sake to receive because it won’t seem to be scientific, optimized, functional way,” he added. Abaddi was appointed in 2006 by the Moroccan king, King Mohammed VI, to head the state-sponsored think tank and is known as a respected Islamic scholar in the region. Abaddi, who is currently visiting Seoul at the invitation of the Korea Foundation, said he was impressed with South Korea’s “wonderful success story.”

“Your history and especially modern history, in which you made the leap from $25 a year to $75 a year and $35,000 a year, that’s something that will make your voice audible and no one will dare say those are idealistic people,” he said. He stressed that South Korea could serve as a “peace-building venue” given its considerable size and history of never having invaded another country.

“Your history is a history of pride and resistance, and you’re not using your power to subject anyone,” he said. “You could take a place in the world that no one else can take … and you will find us and your long-standing friend, Morocco, someone who’s by your side and (we’ll) work in our own country to which we can be your gate to Africa.” Morocco was the first African country with which South Korea established a diplomatic mission. They forged diplomatic ties in 1962.