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Visit of the US Secretary of Defence to Morocco

The US Secretary of Defence, Mr. Mark Esper paid, this week, a visit to the Kingdom of Morocco during which he met with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita and took part to the signing ceremony of the ten-year Roadmap (2020-2030) for Defence cooperation between the two countries. This visit reflects the firm willingness voiced by His Majesty Mohammed VI, King of Morocco and by the American President, Mr. Donald J. Trump to foster the long-standing strategic partnership between Rabat and Washington. This visit comes also within the framework of the two countries’multidimensional partnership and regular dialogue with regard to the various imperatives linked to the fight against terrorism in North Africa and in the Sahel-Saharan region, being essential prerequisites for the consolidation of peace and stability on the continental level.

 

Mr. Esper’s visit has been marked by his meeting with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita to discuss the relevant themes of bilateral cooperation between the two friendly countries, notably those related to security environment, fight against terrorism, transnational threats, regional security and other global strategic challenges. Following this Meeting, The U.S. Department of Defence issued a statement to highlight "the strong leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI," at a time when the African continent faces multiple threats.  The Pentagon stressed equally that the two Ministers shared their mutual concerns about regional instability caused by violent extremist groups and coercive foreign activity and also discussed the important work of the Transitional Government in Mali to restore constitutional rule and prevent terrorists from taking advantage of the situation.

The U.S. Secretary underlined, for his part, that his discussions with Mr. Bourita were not only limited to security issues, but also covered other issues such as promoting robust trade and commercial ties between the United States and African partners. He added that his country will continuously consolidate its strong and long-standing commitment to Africa and especially to Morocco, a strategic ally of the United States outside NATO and a gateway to the African continent. Besides, Mr. Esper emphasized that his discussions with the Moroccan Officials in Rabat also focused on ways to improve military cooperation, partnerships and interoperability, being an important foundation of ties between both countries.

During this visit, the US Secretary of Defence signed, in the capital of Morocco, alongside the Minister Delegate to the Head of Government in charge of National Defence Administration, Mr. Abdellatif Loudiyi the ten-year Roadmap (2020-2030) for Defence, stressing that this Roadmap constitutes another milestone in the Moroccan-American Partnership, dating back for more than 200 years. Mr. Esper considers, equally, that this Roadmap will guide cooperation in a range of priority areas, expressing his full support for initiatives aimed at modernizing Morocco's Defence sector.

Recalling Morocco’s leadership regionally in the field of Defence and its primordial role as a Major Non-NATO Ally in advancing stability and security across Africa, Mr. Esper underlined the importance of the African Lion multilateral exercises, which are well known throughout the region as essential maneuvers for many countries, adding that both countries’ actions today are aimed at promoting cooperation on many fronts as to achieve security objectives, contributing to stability and prosperity in Africa and beyond.

This Visit of the Pentagon’s Chief to Morocco comes to reiterate the excellent ties of cooperation between the Kingdom and the United States, determined, as highlighted by the US President, Donald Trump in his letter to His Majesty Mohammed VI on the occasion of the glorious Throne Day in July 2020, to work, together with the Sovereign ‘’as a leader in Africa and the Arab world, to accelerate the development of the African continent and promote genuine peace in the Middle East’’. Mr. Esper’s visit comes also to further reinforce the excellent outcomes of the 4th Morocco-United States Strategic Dialogue.