Rabat - Morocan head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held talks on Wednesday in the government presidency.
Rabat – Morocan head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani and Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held talks on Wednesday in the government presidency.
The two heads of governments then presided over a joint meeting between Moroccan and Russian officials in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In a speech during the joint meeting, El Othmani stressed that cooperation between the two countries has increased, but that it should be boosted even further.
He pointed that trade exchanges between the two countries moved from USD 200 a year in 2001 to USD 2.5 billion in 2015. He recalled that in 2013 Rabat and Moscow signed an important maritime fishing agreement.
El Othmani also pointed that Russia ranked in 2016 as Morocco’s ninth supplier and 22nd client.
He described trade cooperation between the two countries as generally “satisfactory”, but he insisted “there is still work to be done” to strenghten this cooperation.
The Moroccan head of government detailed the areas in which the two countries are cooperation or have a potential to do say listing agriculture, energy and culture.
He praised the memorendum concluded between the Moroccan Ministry of Endowment and Islamic Affairs and the Russian religious organizations during King Mohammed VI’s last visit to Russia.
Medvedev arrived in Morocco late on Tuesday as part of a two-day visit to the country. He was greeted in Rabat-Salé airport by El Othmani.
The two heads of government held a brief talk in the presence of Moroccan Minister of State in Charge of Human Rights Mustapha Ramid, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, and Minister of Economy and Finance Mohamed Bousaid.
The Russian PM came to Morocco following a visit to Algeria where he met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. In Algiers, he said that his country is ready to help Algeria develop civil nuclear energy. A memorandum was signed between the two countries in 2014 but since then the project has not made any progress.
In Morocco, Medvedev is expected to hold talks with El Othmani in the government presidency, as well as meet the presidents of the two Moroccan parliament houses.
On the Russian PM’s agenda are a couple of topics of common interest for both countries. Rabat and Moscow say they are seeking to boost cooperation in agriculture, industry, energy, and tourism.
Russian press agency Tass cited a Russian government administration official who said that Medvedev came to Morocco at the invitation of the Moroccan Head of Government.
“Russia highly appreciates the traditionally friendly relations with Morocco and attaches exceptional significance to the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various areas,” he said.
The Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) agency said that Medvedev is heading a Russian delegation made up of government officials and businessmen.
On the sidelines of Medvedev’s visit, a Moroccan-Russian business forum will take place.
Since King Mohammed VI’s visit to Moscow in March 2016, the two countries have expressed interest in boosting bilateral cooperation.
In July, Morocco expressed its ambition to become Russia’s top Arab and African trading partner and to extend cooperation to different areas.
“Russia plays an important geo-political and economic role [internationally],” said Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita during the closing ceremony of the sixth Mixed Moroccan-Russian Commission for Economic, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation in Moscow.
“The kingdom [of Morocco] also wants Russia to be among the ten major trading partners of Morocco,” he said.