Washington DC – The United States and Morocco will be signing a strategic dialogue Thursday in Washington DC, USA, to enhance a long standing relationship between the two countries.
Morocco will be the first Arab and African country to have signed such a cooperation treaty with the USA. This dialogue is the accomplishment of 13 years of personal involvement of King Mohammed VI of Morocco in promoting bilateral relations between the Kingdom and the USA. The Strategic Dialogue focuses on opportunities for closer cooperation in four broadly defined and deeply interrelated categories: political, security, economic, and cultural and educational affairs. Each area will offer Morocco and the US opportunities to strengthen cooperative efforts and provide mechanisms for working together to advance policies and programmes throughout the region and elsewhere where both nations share common values, goals, and interests. As both countries have been the targets of unjustifiable terrorist violence, they pledge to deepen their cooperation to counter the threats to international peace and stability emanating from terrorist groups in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and elsewhere that seek to disrupt the legitimate aspirations of the peoples of the region for democratic government, social and economic development and respect for universal human rights. Both countries recognise the urgent need for close cooperation to promote a durable resolution to the conflict in the Sahara region of Morocco to create a more stable region and improve conditions for its residents. This will also enable the Arab Maghreb Union to work more effectively as a regional organisation to improve the lives of the region’s peoples through more integrated political, security, economic, commercial, and social endeavours. The US reiterates its endorsement of Morocco’s proposed Autonomy Initiative for Western Sahara as a serious, credible, and realistic effort to reach a just and lasting political settlement, which will provide local citizens with new opportunities to govern their own local affairs with dignity and self reliance within the context of Moroccan sovereignty.
Morocco is a moderate Arab and African state that maintains close relations with Europe, the US, Africa and the Arab world. In the wake of the Arab Spring, Morocco continues to make positive strides in pursuit of political reform. The Rabat and Washington governments are dedicated to working together as partners to promote human and economic development in the region. Morocco and the US recognise that economic security and job creation are crucial to the success of Morocco’s political reforms; and that Morocco’s progress could be an example of how a progressive Arab country can succeed. In this regard, they agreed to set up an economic working group to focus on initially three areas: food security; energy development in carbon and renewable sectors, to assist Moroccan consumers and US national energy goals; and fuller realization of our trade and investment relationship, including by building upon the US-Morocco Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
The two nations are committed to achieving the full, mutual benefits of the FTA to ensure greater bilateral trade and investment. The US and Morocco welcome the potential extension of the FTA culmulation benefits to the other Maghreb countries. The US also welcomes and supports Morocco’s participation in the Open Government Partnership, the Deauville Partnership, and the North Africa Partnership for Economic Opportunity (NAPEO) – vehicles for enhancing political openness and economic growth and empowerment. The US supports Morocco’s inclusion in programmes that support economic and democratic progress in the MENA region. Both countries agree to cooperate on consideration of a second Millennium Challenge Corporation Compact to anchor the US commitments to prosperity for Morocco and the region. Furthermore, to support Morocco’s regional role in promoting security and stability in the region, both governments will work together to encourage US private sector investment in Morocco, including the Sahara region, as well as throughout the Maghreb. We agree to support expanded concrete engagement between the Moroccan and US private sectors, with a view towards reducing barriers to, and increasing, cross-border trade and investment. In this regards, both governments agree to establish a private-public sector Morocco-US Business Council in the next quarter to serve the mutual interests of the Moroccan and American private sectors. In addition, both governments recommended that a US-Morocco Business conference be convened in the US in the spring of 2013 as a platform for the exchange of business opportunities and interests. Both governments are dedicated to supporting educational and cultural exchange and education programs, such as the Fulbright Scholarship Programme, the US-supported International Visitor Leadership Programme, English language training programmes, and other projects funded by USAID and MEPI that promote capacity building for the Moroccan people. The US and Moroccan delegations agreed to form a working group to further facilitate these exchanges and foreign assistance programmes and to report progress at the next US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue to be held during the first half of 2013.
The Kingdom of Morocco was the first nation to recognise the independence of the United States in 1777, and that the Treaty of Friendship between the two nations which was ratified by the US Senate on 18 July 1787 is still in force today and remains the oldest treaty relationship between the United States and any nation.