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SECRETARY BLINKEN:  Good morning, everyone.  It’s a pleasure to have my friend Nasser Bourita, the foreign minister of Morocco, here at the State Department.  We’ve had the opportunity to talk and see each other on a number of occasions since January.  But it’s especially good to have him here at the department because we have a longstanding partnership with Morocco, one that we want to strengthen and deepen.

We’ll have an opportunity today to talk about a number of issues in the region.  We’ll have an opportunity to talk about the very important normalization of relations between Morocco and Israel and the work that is being done there.  And it’s also, I think, a timely visit because we now have a new Special Envoy for the Secretary-General of the United Nations for the Western Sahara Staffan de Mistura, and I look forward to talking to the minister about his work and efforts there.

But with that, Nasser, welcome.  It’s great to have you here.

FOREIGN MINISTER BOURITA:  Thank you.  Thank you very much, Tony, and always a pleasure to be here.  And as you said, we have a very longstanding partnership and it’s time to enrich it more – enrich our strategic dialogue, our military cooperation, how to defend our interests, and other matters around the world.  And I think the challenges we are facing, the global ones – climate change, extremism – but also in some regions in Libya and Africa gives more relevance to this relation, and this is exactly the vision of His Majesty King Mohammed VI – to promote and to make this relation stronger and stronger.  Thank you.


U.S. Department of State

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