Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken will travel to Rabat, Morocco from March 28 to 30, where he will meet with Prime Minister Aziz Akhanouch and Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita to exchange views on regional political issues and bilateral cooperation. The Secretary will also engage with Moroccan civil society leaders and participate in a media engagement.
A DEEP AND LASTING RELATIONSHIP
- The long-standing relationship between Morocco and the United States dates back to the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in 1787 when Morocco became the first nation to recognize the United States. The strategic bilateral partnership between the United States and Morocco is rooted in shared interests in regional peace, security, and prosperity. We welcome Morocco’s role in promoting regional stability, prosperity, and the historic normalization of relations with Israel.
- This month, we begin the final year of the five-year, $460 million compact administered by the U.S. Millennium Challenge Corporation. Together, the United States and Morocco are expanding education and employment opportunities for young people across the Kingdom, as well as land productivity and land rights for women in rural areas.
EXPANDING THE ABRAHAM ACCORDS AND NORMALIZATION AGREEMENTS
- Over the past year, the Morocco-Israel diplomatic relationship has blossomed with the historic re-opening of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat. This past year also witnessed the first visit since normalization of relations by senior Israeli officials to Morocco, including Foreign Minister Lapid, along with direct commercial flights operating between Casablanca and Tel Aviv.
- Expanding the circle of peace to advance prosperity and security between Israel and other countries in the Middle East, South Asia, and beyond will remain a priority for the United States.
BILATERAL AND REGIONAL POLITICAL ISSUES
- The United States is committed to expanding areas of bilateral cooperation with Morocco. To broaden those ties and explore future U.S.-Moroccan cooperation, Deputy Secretary Wendy Sherman and Moroccan Foreign Minister Bourita held bilateral political consultations in Rabat earlier this month and co-chaired a session of the Morocco-U.S. Strategic Dialogue on Regional Political Issues.
- The United States recognizes the role played by Morocco in maintaining regional security and stability as well as its contribution to peace and prosperity in the Middle East.
- The United States and Morocco regularly engage on human rights issues, including advancing freedoms of expression and association, criminal justice reforms, women’s rights and gender equality, and government transparency.
- The United States and Morocco are committed to continuing cooperation on issues of common interest, such as regional peace and prosperity and regional security. The United States and Morocco expressed their intent during the strategic dialogue to continue strong counterterrorism cooperation, including against AQIM and ISIS. We appreciate Morocco as a stable security-exporting partner, for its leadership of the Global Counterterrorism Forum and for its sustaining role in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS, including by co-chairing the Africa Focus Group of the Coalition and hosting the upcoming Ministerial Meeting of the Coalition in May.
- The bilateral relationship includes close collaboration on a range of issues, including the Sahel, Libya, and Ukraine. We reaffirm the importance of respecting the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and national unity of all the Member States of the United Nations.
- The United States welcomes Morocco’s efforts to support the UN’s work on the political process in Libya and hosting the intra-Libyan dialogue. We are united in our strong commitment to the sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and national unity of Libya and the priority for organizing national elections in the near term.
- U.S. and Moroccan military officials have started planning already for this year’s African Lion, the largest military exercise in Africa and a critical component for the U.S.-Morocco security partnership. The 2021 exercise, which took place in June across the Kingdom, was the largest since the annual training event started in 2004.
- The United States continues to view Morocco’s Autonomy Plan as serious, credible, and realistic, and one potential approach to meet the aspirations of the people of Western Sahara.
- The United States supports United Nations Personal Envoy of the Secretary-General Staffan de Mistura in leading the political process for Western Sahara, under the auspices of the United Nations.
- The U.S. government has invested nearly $20 million in Morocco’s COVID-19 pandemic response.
- We have worked with the Ministry of Health and other partners to raise awareness about COVID-19 risks, train healthcare workers, study vaccine effectiveness, enhance Morocco’s vaccine cold chain, and provide hygiene and laboratory equipment and supplies.
- The U.S. military has donated a $1.5 million field hospital that will help combat infectious disease outbreaks in Morocco and recently donated a field Intensive Care Unit (ICU) system ($1 million) and a mobile emergency room annex ($700,000).
- Morocco has received 2.45 million doses of Pfizer vaccine from the U.S. contribution to COVAX, a global initiative aimed at ensuring equitable vaccine distribution, in the last several months, as well as more than 300,000 doses of the J&J vaccine earlier in 2021.
- Both Morocco and the United States understand the critical importance of working together to tackle the climate crisis.
- The Kingdom should be applauded for its recognized leadership in climate action.
- One of Morocco’s greatest climate-related concerns is water shortage, due to projections of reduced precipitation and increased drought.
- Morocco is a leader in renewable energy transformation and climate action. Renewable energies now account for an impressive 45 percent of all electricity production.
- Morocco’s commitment to reach 52 percent of generated renewable energy capacity by 2025 is impressive and the world should take note. In addition, Morocco is considering matching the U.S. government’s commitment to net zero carbon by 2050.