The agreement seeks to restrict the import of cultural materials from Morocco to the US, including archaeological and ethnographic items.
Rabat – The Moroccan and US governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday, seeking to promote and protect Morocco’s cultural heritage.
The US Embassy in Rabat issued a statement to announce the news, saying the MoU aims to protect Morocco’s tangible cultural heritage from smuggling.
The agreement also seeks to strengthen the strategic partnership between the US and Morocco, the embassy said.
The MoU also restricts the import of certain archaeological and ethnographic materials from Morocco to the US.
US Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer signed the agreement along with Moroccan Minister of Culture Othman El Ferdaous.
US Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Marie Royce participated in the event virtually from Washington, D.C.
Commenting on the signing, Royce celebrated cooperation between Morocco and the US in all fields, including culture.
“This agreement is yet another example of the long history of collaboration between the United States and Morocco,” she said.
The US ambassador in Rabat also, once again, expressed satisfaction over a new bilateral agreement. He renewed thanks to King Mohammed VI for his “unwavering support for this type of critical work” and for preserving Morocco’s cultural riches for “future generations.”
The US diplomat also commended the monarch’s efforts to ensure that both Washington and Rabat can work together “on such a noble endeavor.”
The agreement will also allow security services to strengthen measures to protect Morocco’s cultural patrimony from traffickers.
Morocco’s government expressed satisfaction with the signing as well.
Culture minister El Ferdaous said the signing followed preparatory work that lasted more than a year by cultural experts from both Morocco and the US.
“This agreement is part of the efforts led by Morocco under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to preserve the national cultural heritage, and reflects the eagerness to work in close collaboration through increased cooperation and coordination between the institutions and services concerned,” El Ferdaous said.
The government sees the agreement as a means that will boost collaboration among scientific, educational, and cultural institutions in both the US and Morocco.
Boosting already-strong cooperation
The US embassy recalled that the two countries have long worked together to ensure the preservation of cultural heritage sites throughout Morocco.
The statement revealed that the US’ Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation has invested more than $860,000 in 11 projects to preserve Morocco’s cultural heritage since 2002.
The embassy said the USAID dedicated $3 million to fund programs in Morocco, seeking to support the protection and support of the cultural heritage of religious minorities.
The signing of the agreement comes at a time when both the US and Morocco continue to vow to strengthen cooperation, especially after US President Donald Trump decided to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
Following the decision, US institutions expressed determination to see their investments grow in Morocco, especially in the southern provinces, to help the North African country accomplish its regional development and reform ambitions.