**Saudi Arabia to finance Morocco projects worth $1.25 billion, GCC exends $5 billion**
Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, October 18, 2012) — Yesterday’s Saudi-Moroccan summit talks between Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah and King Muhammad focused on the worsening situation in Syria as well as the latest developments on the Palestinian front.
“The two leaders discussed major Arab and international issues including Syria and Palestine and explored prospects for strengthening cooperation between the two countries,” the Saudi Press Agency said.
The summit talks came following a meeting of Saudi and Moroccan ministers that discussed a number of development projects in Morocco, especially in the areas of agriculture, hotel business, transport and communication, health and education.
Finance Minister Ibrahim Al-Assaf said Saudi Arabia would finance a number of development projects worth $1.25 billion in Morocco through Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), on the instructions of King Abdullah.
He referred to the GCC decision to extend financial support to Morocco and Jordan, adding that four GCC countries including Saudi Arabia would take part in this program. According to the GCC decision, Morocco will receive a financial aid of $5 billion with the Kingdom’s share amounting to $ 1.25 billion, which will be extended through SFD.
He described Morocco as one of the best places for investment in the Arab world. The Saudi private sector currently invests in Morocco’s tourism, industry, agriculture and ports.
“Saudi Arabia and Morocco have gone a long way in discussing projects to be financed by SFD and both sides have agreed to set up a technical committee for the purpose,” Al-Assaf said, adding that an SFD delegation would soon visit Morocco to finalize the projects.
He said the meeting discussed prospects of SFD supporting projects in agricultural, health, transport and other sectors. “We also discussed partnership between the government and the private sector, boosting joint investment projects and expanding trade exchange,” Al-Assaf said.
SFD has played a big role in supporting Morocco in the past and it will continue to finance development projects in the country in the coming phase, the minister said.
Moroccan Finance Minister Nizar Baraka said the meeting was a good opportunity to discuss prospects of expanding cooperation between the two Arab countries. Trade between the two countries rose from $ 1 billion in 2000 to $20 billion in 2011. He hoped that King Muhammad’s visit to Saudi Arabia would further strengthen bilateral ties.
He estimated total Saudi investments in Morocco at more than $ 550 million. He hoped the Saudi-Moroccan Company would carry out new investment projects in his country.
Fouad Al-Duwairy, Moroccan minister of energy, minerals, water and environment, said the meeting had discussed prospects of investment projects in energy, agriculture, infrastructure, health and housing.
Omar Aziman, adviser to the Moroccan king, emphasized the need for such constructive talks between the two countries. “We hope the talks would result in agreements to expand bilateral cooperation in various sectors,” he said.
Aziman described King Muhammad’s visit to the Kingdom as historic saying it would take Saudi-Moroccan relations to greater heights. He disclosed plans to sign an important agreement between the two countries to promote cooperation and support investments in Morocco.