Ankara, March 18, 2012 (MAP)
Ankara, March 18, 2012 (MAP)
Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad Dine El Otmani started on Sunday a three-day official visit to Turkey, which is supposed to lay the basis for a “privileged partnership” between Ankara and Rabat in order to give a fresh impetus to the bilateral relations, marked in recent years by strong momentum at all levels.
El Otmani will, on this occasion, hold meetings and political consultations at the highest level, notably with President Abdullah Gul, Parliament Speaker, Cemil Cicek, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.
These talks will focus on ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation in several areas, as well as regional and international issues of common interest, primarily those in the agenda of the U.N. Security Council.
The Syrian issue appears at the top of these discussions as both countries are interested in the crisis taking place in this country.
Both Ankara and Rabat are increasing initiatives, regionally and internationally and within the U.N., to find a peaceful solution that will end the bloodshed in this country, where the regime continues to violently suppress a popular revolt that demanded its departure.
Turkey, which shares a border of over 800 km with Syria, feels “directly affected” by the chaos that blights this neighboring country and its citizens are fleeing violence to the northern neighbor.
More than 15,000 Syrian nationals and have found refuge in camps set up by the Turkish authorities in the province of Hatay on the border with Syria.
For its part, Morocco, non-permanent member of the 15-nation Security Council, espoused the cause of the Syrians and strongly defends it at the U.N. bodies and within the framework of the Arab League.
El Otmani, who received President of the Syrian National Council (SNC) Bourhane Ghalioune, had said Morocco will continue to act to resolve peacefully the crisis in Syria, prospect it considers “a priority” of its action at the Security Council.
The Kingdom “will undertake to do everything, in concert with the international powers to stop violence and help the Syrian people,” he underlined.
In early February, Morocco had submitted a draft resolution at the Security Council demanding the “immediate end of all human rights violations” in Syria, a draft that was aborted because of the Sino-Russian veto.
The draft adopts the outline of a plan proposed by the Arab League in favor of a transition in Syria to end the year-long conflict that has claimed thousands of victims.
In addition to regional and global issues, El Otmani will examine with the Turkish senior officials means to bolster the bilateral ties in several areas.
The visit offers, thus, an opportunity to explore the prospects for strengthening economic relations and increase trade between the two countries, given the remarkable growth of bilateral cooperation in the wake of entry into force, in January 2006, of the free Trade agreement.
On this occasion, Morocco and Turkey will sign a series of agreements relating to road transport, promotion of SMEs and cooperation between Moroccan and Turkish foreign ministries’ diplomatic academies of studies.
Examination of new mechanisms to promote cultural exchange between Moroccan and Turkish peoples is also on the agenda of El Otmani’s discussions in Turkey.