Thank you, Minster-Delegate Bouaida, and thank you, Ambassador Bouhlal, for hosting this important event.
This ceremony highlights our long standing relationship with the Kingdom or Morocco and what we hope will be an equally successful future partnership. We have had an exceptionally positive experience working with the Kingdom through the ATA program since 1986, and we are enthusiastic about moving into a new phase of this partnership.
The signing of the Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) is particularly timely in that it comes at a time when the U.S. is working to ensure that its counterterrorism strategy effectively counters the emerging global threat. As President Obama underscored in his speech at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in May, the U.S. cannot tackle the terrorist threat on its own. As the threat becomes more diffuse and decentralized all over the world, our partners -- who are facing many of the same threats -- and their efforts take on increased importance.
Morocco’s law enforcement community has demonstrated a strong willingness to build and sustain Counterterrorism (CT) capacity both within Morocco’s own borders and in the wider region. In particular, with Morocco’s advanced capacities in the areas of crisis management, investigations, and border security, the Kingdom is now in a position to share this set of skills and expertise with its friends and allies to build long term stability in the region.
Morocco has taken other important steps to counter the growth of extremism, as well. We applaud the King’s initiative to build relationships with Moroccan and Malian Imams, and we welcome the effort to disseminate common narratives on extremism. Clearly, defeating terrorism will not just be a function of law enforcement and security, though those components are fundamental; it will also be a function of rule of law, tolerance, and a wider understanding of social trends that lend themselves to the development of extremism and extremist groups.
This Trilateral Cooperation initiative we are signing today is further evidence that Morocco is a regional CT leader. The MOU is only one component of the many bilateral efforts on which our two governments have worked together. Morocco has also been an exceptional partner in many multilateral initiatives, and here I would highlight in particular Morocco’s work in the GCTF context on the problem of foreign fighters.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding on Trilateral Cooperation we are signing here today, the U.S. government is signaling that we strongly support Morocco’s desire to share their expertise with key partners in North and West Africa. The U.S. is grateful for the opportunity to work once again alongside and in support of Morocco’s fight against terrorism, and we are sure the fruits of this newest form of collaboration will be profound and immediate.