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Congress Leaders Create Bipartisan ‘Morocco Caucus’ to Signal Strong US Support for ‘Vital Ally’ and ‘Regional Leader’ of Arab Spring Reforms

Congressional Morocco Caucus will build on support from bipartisan majorities in US House and Senate for a key North African partner and America’s longest-running ally

Washington, DC (Sept. 16, 2011) — As historic change continues to shift the landscape in North Africa and the Middle East, leaders in Congress announced on September 13 the formation of a bipartisan Congressional Morocco Caucus, committed to “deepening the economic and strategic relationship between the United States and Morocco,” which has been a cornerstone of US foreign policy in the region for more than two centuries.

Morocco was the first nation to recognize US independence, in 1777, and signed America’s longest “Treaty of Friendship and Peace” in 1787. Its role as a key US partner in North Africa and peaceful example of change has never been more important, with demands for democratic reform and security challenges facing the region today.

“We are pleased to announce the establishment of the Congressional Morocco Caucus for the 112th Congress,” said the letter to their colleagues signed by Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL), Loretta Sanchez (D-CA), Michael Grimm (R-NY), and Bennie Thompson (D-MS), who serve as Co-Chairs of the Caucus.

“Morocco has demonstrated its friendship and loyalty to the United States consistently since our independence,” the letter says. “Morocco has been a vital, Muslim ally in North Africa,” a “vital strategic friend that shares our values and aspirations,” and “a regional leader” for change, noting that “in the midst of the Arab spring, Morocco held a national referendum to revise their Constitution and institute far-reaching democratic reforms.”

“With the recent events in the region,” the Members of Congress said, “US relations with Morocco have taken on a renewed sense of urgency and strategic importance.” They conclude, “Now is the time to signal our strong support for Morocco and work together to ensure the success of their democratic aspirations.”

Last month, Congress Members sent a letter to His Majesty King Mohammed VI calling Morocco’s Constitutional reform vote an “important milestone” for “meeting the political desires and social freedoms of your citizens.”

Support in Congress for Morocco has also focused on the issue of the Western Sahara, with Members in both Houses of Congress expressing concern that the continuing dispute is thwarting efforts to combat rising terrorism and regional instability. In April 2009 a bipartisan majority of 233 US House members sent a letter to President Obama urging support of Morocco’s compromise autonomy plan for Western Sahara.

Last year, a bipartisan majority of 54 US Senators sent a similar letter to President Obama, urging “more sustained American attention” to resolve the Western Sahara conflict and remove a “major obstacle to stability in the region.” The Senators backed “broad autonomy for Western Sahara under Moroccan sovereignty” as the solution, noting its support by the Clinton, Bush, and Obama Administrations.

In Morocco’s July 1 Constitutional referendum, voters in the three southern districts that include the Western Sahara posted the highest turnout in the nation, participating at rates of more than 80% of registered voters and joining Moroccans across the country in approving the reforms by a large majority.

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The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East. For more, please visit www.moroccanamericanpolicy.org

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

 

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