* Kerry, Moroccan FM Mezouar co-chair second meeting of Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue *
Washington, DC (April 4, 2014) — Concluding a tour of Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa, Secretary of State John Kerry today joined his Moroccan counterpart, Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, in Rabat to co-chair the second meeting of the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue. In opening remarks for the meeting, Kerry hailed Morocco’s leadership on reforms as well as security and stability in the region, and pledged continued US support for its long-time strategic partner.
“Morocco is playing an essential leadership role,” said Kerry. “The United States stands by and will stand by this relationship every step of the way.” He said, “The 18 different agreements that Morocco signed with Mali show that Morocco is driving greater security and greater prosperity in the region,” referring to King Mohammed VI’s recent four-nation Africa tour, which resulted in more than 80 agreements between Morocco and Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Gabon on issues ranging from food security to job training and combating religious extremism.
The Joint Statement released after the second meeting of the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue reiterated the “ambitious roadmap” agreed to when King Mohammed VI met President Obama at the White House in November 2013. The statement commended the King’s leadership in “deepening democracy and promoting economic progress and human development.” It also reiterated long-held US support for Morocco’s autonomy plan in its Sahara provinces as “serious, realistic, and credible,” and affirmed a “shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people of the Western Sahara.” The joint statement also “welcomed the recent actions and initiatives taken by Morocco to continue to protect and promote human rights in the territory, including the growing and important role of the National Council for Human Rights.”
Launched in September 2012, the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue underscores America’s “close cooperation with Morocco,” focusing on shared values and common interests in four areas—political affairs, economic cooperation, security, and educational and cultural issues—formally recognizing the historic strategic partnership between the two countries. It builds on progress over the past decade, including the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement, Millennium Challenge Compact, and Morocco’s designation as a major non-NATO ally.
* For full remarks by Moroccan Foreign Minister Mezouar and US Secretary of State Kerry at US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue, go to: http://www.state.gov/secretary/remarks/2014/04/224411.htm
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