Esper chaired several meetings along with his Moroccan counterparts, including FAR officials and the Moroccan FM.
Rabat – US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper and Abdeletif Loudyi, Morocco’s Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in Charge of the Administration of National Defense, signed today an agreement on military cooperation between Morocco’s Royal Armed Forces and US forces.
The cooperation will focus on consolidating common security objectives improving the “degree of military preparation.”
The agreement’s signing occurred in a meeting to explore avenues to further develop the US-Morocco national security partnership.
Loudyi underscored Morocco’s constant commitment and multidimensional strategy in the fight against terrorism. He also mentioned the country’s “humanistic approach” to the management of the migration crisis.
On US-Morocco common strategic interests in the MENA region, Loudyi renewed Rabat’s commitment to continue fighting the scourge of terrorism in the Sahel region. He emphasized Morocco’s growing leadership role in the development of South-South cooperation.
During the dialogue, the two officials also expressed their satisfaction with the strength, excellence, durability, and dynamism of bilateral cooperation between the two countries on other fronts.
Esper also met in Rabat with Lieutenant General Abdelfattah Louarak, the Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR).
US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer attended the meeting, which focused on the assessment of bilateral military cooperation.
The cooperation includes the “organization of combined exercises, the exchange of information visits and the participation in various training courses,” Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita received Esper upon his arrival in Morocco on Friday as part of a Maghreb tour. Before landing in Morocco, the US official also visited Tunisia and Algeria.
His Moroccan visit included meetings with several officials and top security executives in Morocco.
Visit to boost the ‘already strengthened cooperation’
Esper’s visit seeks to further boost the “already strong” cooperation between the US and Morocco, a senior American official told AFP earlier this week.
The US and Morocco enjoy a strong relationship in a wide range of fields, including defense and national security.
Over the years, the US has remained the number one supplier of arms for the North African country.
The Center for International Policy (CIP) recently released a report saying that Morocco purchases 91% of its arms from the US.
In addition to military cooperation, Morocco and the US are considered mutually reliable allies on security, as evidenced in their shared commitment to combat the scourge of terrorism in the MENA region and beyond.
Units from the US and Moroccan armed forces participate in the annual “African Lion” military exercise, the largest military exercise for American troops in Africa.
The joint military exercise convenes military partners from several countries.
This year’s “African Lion” exercise was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The US-Morocco alliance is especially strong on counter-terrorism and de-radicalization. In the US Department of State’s annual reports on terrorism in the MENA region and elsewhere, US security experts and officers regularly laud Morocco’s counter-terrorsim architecture.
In addition to approvingly describing Morocco’s “comprehensive” counter-terrorism approach, the reports present the North African country as a necessary, reliable US partner in the region.