The two countries have recently suffered from strained relations due to Dutch interference in Morocco's domestic affairs.
Rabat – Moroccan and Dutch parliamentary delegations held talks in Rabat on the means to strengthen cooperation between the Netherlands and Morocco.
The vice-chairman of the foreign trade and development cooperation committee in the Dutch parliament, Hayke Veldman, met with the 5th vice-president of Morocco’s House of Advisors, Abdelhamid Souiri.
The Dutch ambassador to Morocco, Désirée Bonis, also attended the meeting.
The Moroccan official expressed satisfaction with the current state of relations between Morocco and the Netherlands. The two countries’ cordial relationship, he said, is based on mutual respect and cooperation as well as strong ties between the two royal families.
Souiri also noted the solid Moroccan-Dutch cooperation efforts in security and other fields and commended the Netherlands’ support for the UN’s efforts to find a just and negotiated political settlement to the conflict in Western Sahara.
Parliamentary diplomacy, he continued, would effectively strengthen relations between Morocco and the Netherlands and serve the two countries’ interests.
Finally, the official invited Dutch businessmen to scale up investments in Morocco and take advantage of the North Africa country’s strategic position between Africa and Europe, economic growth, and attractive investment climate.
The Dutch official welcomed Morocco’s progress in fortifying its investment climate and stressed the importance of nourishing trust between the two countries.
Veldman also noted that his visit aims to examine means of boosting bilateral trade and economic relations between Morocco and the Netherlands and called for greater political and diplomatic cooperation.
Dutch interference in Morocco’s internal affairs
Morocco and the Netherlands have recently suffered from strained relations.
Last week, the Spokesperson of the Moroccan government Hassan Abyaba blasted the interference of the Dutch parliament in Morocco’s domestic affairs.
In the most recent development in a long-running row, MPs from the Dutch parliament issued a report on the Hirak Rif Movement, calling on Morocco to release imprisoned activists.
Hirak Rif refers to the Moroccan popular protest movement that erupted following the death of local fishmonger Mohcine Fikri in October 2016 in Al Hoceima, northern Morocco.
The Dutch report came after a delegation from the Netherlands visited Al Hoceima in January 2020.
The Dutch government has repeatedly called on Morocco to release the activists that authorities arrested during the Hirak protests.
Morocco’s government, however, has repeatedly rejected the Netherlands’ interference.
Morocco is a sovereign country and “does not accept the interference of any party in its internal affairs,” Abyaba argued on February 20.
Morocco is a sovereign country and “does not accept the interference of any party in its internal affairs,” he continued, insisting that the country refuses to take lessons from any third party.
“This is unacceptable,” Abyaba declared.
Morocco’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita has also criticized Dutch interference in the country’s domestic affairs regarding the Hirak movement.
In September 2018, Morocco rejected Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok’s report on the Hirak presented Thursday to the Dutch Parliament.
In a meeting with Dutch Ambassador Bonis, Bourita stressed that the situation in Morocco’s Rif is not a diplomatic issue but an internal affair.
In December 2019, the Dutch FM said that diplomatic relations between his country and Morocco must improve. However, it is unclear if stronger parliamentary cooperation between the two countries will alleviate Morocco’s gripe with Dutch interference in its domestic affairs.