Magharebia, Washington Post, PBS NewsHour (Washington, DC, July 28, 2012) — Morocco and the United States have agreed to move towards a “much more ambitious strategic partnership,” said Youssef Amrani, Morocco’s Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs, on Thursday, concluding a two-day visit to Washington, DC. Amrani met with leaders in the Administration, Congress, and at Brookings Institution, addressing issues ranging from ongoing Arab Spring reforms, the crisis in Syria, al-Qaeda in northern Mali and the Sahel, and Morocco’s role on the UN Security Council.
“We discussed bilateral relations and agreed to move towards a much more ambitious strategic partnership, with an element of political dialogue on bilateral, regional and international issues,” said Amrani after meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Thursday, reported MAP news agency. The aim of deepening the Morocco-US strategic partnership, Amrani told the Washington Post, is to achieve a “political dialogue, joint dialogue” and work cooperatively on a variety of pressing Africa and Middle East concerns. “We bring some vision from Africa and from the Arab world.”
Amrani said that in his meeting with Burns the two countries reviewed what they had achieved together on the UN Security Council, on issues such as Syria. Speaking on PBS’s NewsHour, Amrani called the worsening situation in Syria a “humanitarian crisis,” which if nothing is done will become a “civil war.” He said Morocco is hosting the upcoming “Friends of Syria” international conference, which should continue to put “more pressure on the Syrian regime.” The priority, he said, must be “to stop the violence against civilians and to prepare the necessary conditions for a political and democratic transition.”
As to how the US could help the Arab world, Amrani emphasized, “we should do our own homework first. We need order in our own countries. Then we can ask for partners to help us.” He said, “help should accompany these reforms to support transition [to democratic rule].” Rabat and Washington agreed to contribute to the joint support of these transitions and conflict resolution. The two countries also stressed the need to move forward with reinvigorating the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU), and pointed to recent progress including the prospect of an upcoming AMU summit.
Minister Amrani’s meetings with Administration and Congressional leaders highlighted “a convergence of views” between Morocco and the US on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues — including Morocco’s decade-long reforms initiated by King Mohammed VI and its autonomy plan for the Sahara. The dialogue also underscored a commitment to deepening a partnership that extends back more than two centuries, to the 1787 Morocco-US “Treaty of Peace and Friendship,” America’s longest-standing treaty, and Morocco’s 1777 recognition of American independence, the first by any nation.
For more on Moroccan Minister Youssef Amrani’s US visit, see:
- The African News Journal, “Morocco, US Agree To Build Strategic Partnership”
- PBS NewsHour: “More Diplomatic Pressure to Resolve Crisis in Syria” – Morocco’s Youssef Amrani
- Washington Post, “Morocco, A Strategic Partner?,” by Jennifer Rubin