Sales met with Morocco’s minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, Nasser Bourita, on Thursday, August 30, in Rabat.
“The commitment shared by the government of Morocco and the United States to fight and defeat terrorists is at the heart of a strong Moroccan-American partnership,” Sales was quoted by the state-owned news agency (MAP) as saying.
The US official’s visit to Morocco came as part of a diplomatic trip to Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco August 26-30.
The purpose of Sales’ trip is to “engage in bilateral discussions with his counterparts on countering violent extremism, foreign terrorist fighters, and information sharing,” according to the State Department media note published on August 27.
“Terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaida continue to threaten and unite us in our determination to fight this scourge,” Sales said at press briefing following his meeting with Bourita.
In January 2018, the US Department of Defense gave Morocco arms equipment worth $18 million to reinforce the country’s special forces units combating terrorism, in light of the threat ISIS poses to North African countries. The US allocated $60 million as security assistance to allies in the MENA region.
Le Ministre des Affaires Etrangères et de la Coopération Internationale, M. Nasser Bourita, a reçu, le jeudi 30 août 2018 à #Rabat, l’ambassadeur SEM. Nathan Sales, Coordinateur du contre-#terrorisme au département d’état #américain.#Maroc #MAECI #EtatsUnis #USA pic.twitter.com/KQtXuVCKhd
— MAECI Maroc ?? (@MarocDiplomatie) August 30, 2018
Sales described his discussions with Bourita as “productive” and also remarked on the “excellent” friendly relations between the US and Morocco and their alliance to combat terrorism especially within the framework of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF).
The GCTF is a apolitical and multilateral counterterrorism platform launched on September 22, 2011, in New York. The objective of GCTF, which is currently co-chaired by Morocco and the Netherlands, is to develop a strategic approach to counterterrorism and prevent the violent extremist ideologies supporting terrorism.
Sales also expressed his country’s wish to promote cooperation between the US and Morocco in the future.
Sales has led the State Department’s Counterterrorism Bureau since August 2017 and serves as the principal adviser to the US secretary of state on international counterterrorism matters.