The reason behind the sudden change in schedule is unclear.
Rabat – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not follow the published agenda for his Morocco visit, leaving the country earlier than planned. With his early departure, the US secretary of state missed a previously scheduled meeting with King Mohammed VI and a dinner at the royal palace in Rabat.
Pompeo arrived in Rabat today, December 5, to boost the cooperation between Rabat and Washington through meeting several Moroccan officials.
US Secretary of State’s website published the agenda yesterday, December 4. The initial schedule included a meeting with King Mohammed VI on Pompeo’s arrival. It also included a dinner at the royal palace.
The website, however, updated the plan today and reduced the visit to only three meetings.
It is unclear why the meeting with the monarch and the dinner were cancelled. A press conference scheduled after Pompeo’s meeting with Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita was also cancelled for undisclosed reasons.
The Moroccan Foreign Minister and David Green, Charge d’affaires at the US embassy in Rabat, received Secretary Pompeo at the Rabat-Sale International Airport.
The American official then held meetings with Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani in the presence of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bourita, and the Minister of State, Mustapha Ramid.
Finally, Secretary Pompeo held security talks with the Head of Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) Abdellatif Hammouchi at the DGSN headquarters near Rabat.
Pompeo departed shortly after wrapping up his meetings.
The official visit is the latest in several exchanges between Moroccan and American officials aiming to develop partnerships between the two countries.
Ahead of his visit, Pompeo referred to Morocco as one of the US “strongest partners.” The two countries collaborate in a number of fields, most notably in the fight against extremism and global terror threats.
Relations between Morocco and the US are more than two centuries old. Morocco was the first country to grant diplomatic recognition to the US, back in 1777.
Morocco is also the only African country with which the US has a Free Trade Agreement. The value of trade between the two countries quintupled since the signing of the agreement in 2006.
The US considers Morocco as an important partner on a range of security issues. The two countries participate jointly in more than 100 military engagements and annual training exercises.