WASHINGTON – US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates Nasser Bourita discussed Tuesday at the State Department areas for future US-Moroccan cooperation within the framework of the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue.
Pompeo and Bourita emphasized their commitment to the long-standing relationship between the United States and Morocco that dates back to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1787.
Pompeo highlighted King Mohammed VI’s leadership in advancing a bold and far-reaching reform agenda over the past two decades. He expressed appreciation for His Majesty’s continuous and valuable support on issues of common interest such as peace in the Middle East, Africa’s stability and development, as well as regional security.
The two officials exchanged views on bilateral issues and welcomed the convening of Strategic Dialogue Working Groups during the course of the year that identified opportunities to work together on political, economic, and security issues in Morocco and the region.
Pompeo and Bourita expressed particular satisfaction for the convening of the first Africa Working Group of the Strategic Dialogue in order to strengthen cooperation on our common interests in Africa. They welcomed the holding of the “African Lion,” “Lightning Handshake” and “Epic Guardian” joint military exercises and discussed ways to further deepen the excellent military cooperation at the strategic policy level.
They agreed to sustain cooperation to advance shared interests in regional stability and to defeat terrorist groups including Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) and the Islamic State group (IS).
Pompeo praised Morocco’s ongoing leadership of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and its sustaining role in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.
The two officials discussed joint efforts to combat terrorism in Africa, and in particular to secure the enduring defeat of ISIS, by enhancing the capacity of security services in the region, including through a joint platform for security cooperation.
They also discussed the danger posed by Iran and its proxies besides cooperative efforts to combat attempts to spread Iranian influence in the region including in North West Africa.
Both sides reiterated their commitment to a closer economic partnership and to developing innovative ways to maximize the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement. They also emphasized Morocco’s potential to serve as a platform and gateway for an increasing number of American firms doing business in Africa and welcomed Morocco’s commitment to supporting growth and development across the continent.