The foreign minister said that Pompeo’s visit to Morocco is unique in that it it is his first official trip to the country and the region in his capacity as Secretary of State.
Rabat – Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has described Mike Pompeo’s visit to Morocco as “unique,” saying it came at a time when both the US and Morocco understand the significance of their alliance as well as the need to further consolidate their cooperation.
Bourita, speaking after his meeting with the US Secretary of State, underlined the importance of the visit, explaining that it is the first of its kind for Pompeo to the region and in Morocco in his capacity as a US Secretary of State.
“The visit of the Secretary of State comes as a renewal of the strength of the strategic relations between Morocco and the United States,” Bourita said.
The Moroccan official emphasized that the desire of US to strengthen its relations with Morocco “constitutes a recognition of the stability, credibility and reforms characteristic of Morocco.”
The statement from the FM also covered the US-Morocco trade cooperation, stipulating that Rabat and Washington have been able to achieve “close economic cooperation.”
Bourita said that the volume of trade exchanges exceeded the threshold of MAD 51 billion dirhams, representing an increase of 28% compared to 2017.
“The United States is the third importer of Moroccan goods and it is the fourth supplier to Morocco,” the statement said.
US investments come in the seventh place among Morocco’s direct foreign investments. The US has long reiterated the importance of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The US State of Departement said that in 2006, “Morocco entered into a free-trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. Since its entry into force, Moroccan exports to the United States have more than doubled, and U.S.”
About 160 American companies are operational in Morocco.
In addition to trade, Bourita also drew attention to the significant number of US tourists who visited Morocco in 2019.
“More than 300,000 American tourists visited Morocco this year, an increase of 20 percent compared to 2017,” said the Moroccan foreign minister.
The visit also served as an opportunity to discuss and exchange views on a number of international and regional issues of common concern, including the situation in Sahel.
“As Morocco considers that unilateral approaches have proven ineffective, it calls for a comprehensive and collective approach based on coordination between the countries of the Arab Maghreb Union, the Sahel states (CEN-SAD) and West Africa (CEDEAO),” the statement added.
Bourita warned that security challenges in the Sahel remain linked to the growing phenomenon of terrorism and organized crime.
The situation threatens stability and development in the entire region, according to the minister.
Subsequently, the Moroccan minister said that Rabat and Washington discussed avenues to continued cooperation in maintaining regional stability and “defeating terrorist groups and jihadist organizations.”