Fathallah Sijlmassi, former Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean

A prominent Moroccan diplomat has been appointed Director-General of the African Commission

Fathallah Sijlmassi, a well-known Moroccan diplomat, has been named Director-General of the African Commission, which is led by Moussa Faki Mohamed. This is the highest position Morocco has attained in the African Union since his return in 2017.

Sijilmasi was previously Morocco’s ambassador to France and the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean, located in Barcelona.

Fathallah Sijilmasi earned a postgraduate diploma (DEA) in European economics from the Institute of Political Studies in Grenoble in 1989, as well as a PhD in European economics from the University of Social Sciences in Grenoble.

He began his professional career with the Commercial Bank of Morocco, where he worked from 1989 to 1992, most notably as the bank’s representative in Milan between 1990 and 1992.

Between April 1992 to April 1993, he worked in the Office of the Minister of Foreign Trade as an officer in charge of the European Union talks file. Between April 1993 to December 1994, he was the Head of the Bilateral Trade Relations Department at the Agency of Foreign Trade, before being named Director of International Trade Relations at the same ministry from December 1994 to 1999. In 1999 and 2000, he was also the Director of Multilateral Cooperation.

Sijlmassi joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs during the time of former Foreign Minister Muhammad bin Issa, and King Mohammed VI nominated him as Morocco’s ambassador to the European Union in Brussels.

In the Ministry, he also held the role of Director of European Affairs. In 2003 and 2004, he served as ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, where he focused on strategic and geopolitical problems. King Mohammed VI appointed Morocco’s ambassador to France in November 2004, and he served until December 2008, when he was replaced by Mustafa Sahel, the former Minister of the Interior.

Fathallah Sijlmassi, who speaks Arabic, French, English, Italian, and Spanish, has participated in and chaired a number of international economic negotiations, including the Association Agreement between Morocco and the European Union between 1992 and 1995, as well as negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between the United States and a number of Arab and African countries.

King Mohammed VI named him director of the Moroccan Agency for Investment Development on July 2, 2009.

He became the Secretary-General of the Union for the Mediterranean on March 1, 2012, after being unanimously elected in Brussels in February of that year to replace Youssef El Amrani, who was appointed as Delegate Minister of Foreign Affairs in Abdelilah Benkiran’s first government, and his term in that position was renewed on December 4, 2014.

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