Moroccan Minister to Secretary Kerry: “We are Members of the Bloc of Freedom, the Camp of Peace”
Washington, DC, April 10, 2015 (MACP) — On Thursday, April 9, Secretary of State John Kerry and Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar led the third round of the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue in Washington, DC, during which leading Moroccan officials met with their US counterparts to discuss enhanced cooperation in four areas: political affairs, economic cooperation, security, and educational and cultural affairs.
In remarks welcoming Foreign Minister Mezouar and the Moroccan delegation, Secretary Kerry stated that Morocco “is doing more than its fair share of contributing to the global dialogue on the issues of the day.” He noted that Morocco is working “to reform its justice sector, to professionalize its police force, to promote the rule of law, and strengthen its border security and its counterterrorist capabilities. The United States strongly backs all of these initiatives, and we will do everything that we can to be helpful as Morocco pursues success in each of those sectors.”
In his opening remarks, Foreign Minister Mezouar said, “I salute the excellent relationship that we share… We are members of the same bloc, the bloc of freedom, the camp of peace, that of democracy – the bloc of universal values, the bloc that defends the most disenfranchised, and also the bloc of solidarity. I think that these are the values that we share, and they allow us to always work with great peace of mind, to work together on the fundamental topics.”
Among these topics was Morocco’s progress on democratic reforms. In the Joint Statement issued following the meeting, “The Secretary reiterated the United States’ appreciation for the action and leadership of His Majesty the King in continuing efforts to strengthen further Morocco’s democratic institutions and promote economic prosperity and human development.” Secretary Kerry noted “the important role of civil society as a voice for the public in the policy process,” and “congratulated the Minister on Morocco’s immigration reforms and its legalization of more than 18,000 illegal migrants and asylum seekers over the course of 2014.”
On economic cooperation, “The Minister and the Secretary reviewed the successful Global Entrepreneurship Summit held in Marrakech in November 2014 and discussed the next steps to jointly promote a culture of entrepreneurship in support of socioeconomic development and shared prosperity across the region.” Secretary Kerry “congratulated Morocco on its eligibility for a second Millennium Challenge Corporation compact,” and both leaders “applauded the Memorandum of Understanding signed… between the Government of Morocco and the Millennium Challenge Corporation designed to share expertise and lessons learned with other select countries in Africa.”
On Africa, Secretary Kerry “highlighted the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI in promoting human development and economic prosperity within Africa,” and both leaders “reaffirmed the two countries’ will to work jointly to ensure security and stability and economic growth in Africa.”
On the longstanding issue of the Western Sahara, the statement emphasized that US policy toward Western Sahara supporting autonomy of the region under Moroccan sovereignty “has remained consistent for many years.” The statement reaffirmed that “Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, realistic, and credible, and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity.” Secretary Kerry and Foreign Minister Mezouar also reaffirmed their “shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people in the Western Sahara and discussed appropriate ways to meet that goal.”
And on security, in addition to recognizing the high-level cooperation between the two countries and specific initiatives like the Global Counterterrorism Forum, “The Secretary noted the United States’ appreciation for Morocco’s leadership in countering violent extremism and welcomed the creation of Mohammed VI Institute of Training of Imams, Morchidines and Morchidates from Morocco and other African, Arab and European countries.”
Launched in September 2012, the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue – the first in North Africa – builds on the longstanding strategic relationship between the two countries, based on common interests and values, and a shared commitment to promoting stability and economic development in North Africa and the Middle East. It follows on the roadmap agreed to when King Mohammed VI met President Obama at the White House in November 2013, as well as 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.
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
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