A high-level US delegation, led by Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs David Schenker, and including US ambassador to Rabat David Fischer, on Sunday visited the premises of the future Consulate General of the United States in Dakhla.
The recent developments in US-Morocco relations “have been made possible through the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI in promoting a bold and far-reaching reform agenda over the past two decades”, Schenker stressed at a press briefing following talks with minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita.
The US official also praised the King’s “continued and precious support” on issues of common interest, including peace in the Middle East, stability and development in Africa and regional security.
“The American-Moroccan relations are stronger than ever (..). Our best years are ahead of us,” he said, recalling the landmark recognition last month of Morocco’s full sovereignty over its Sahara.
Schenker underlined that the United States is determined to deepen and strengthen its ties with Morocco through the promotion of trade relations and cultural exchanges, in addition to the strengthening of governmental-to-government relations.
He also highlighted Morocco’s efforts to “promote religious tolerance and harmony” which are “a model to follow in the region”, mentioning in this regard “its historic tradition of protecting its Jewish community” as well as the signing of the Marrakech Declaration on the Rights of Religious Minorities in the Islamic World.
Morocco “is a key partner for regional stability and our two nations enjoy a broad military-to-military partnership,” he pointed out.
The US official added that the Kingdom is the only African country with which the United States has signed a free trade agreement, noting that Moroccan exports to the United States have more than doubled since the entry into force in 2006 of the agreement.
“The value of our bilateral trade has quintupled during this period,” he said.
Schenker recalled that the year 2021 marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of the first United States diplomatic mission in Morocco, in Tangier, where “the oldest US diplomatic installation in the world” is located.
On Saturday, the US delegation made a trip to the capital city of the Sahara, Laayoune, where it visited the diplomatic quarter which hosts the consulates of several countries as well as the headquarters of the United Nations mission in the Sahara (Minurso).
The delegation also took part in the launch ceremony of the center for education through sport “TIBU Laâyoune Center”, realized by the US Embassy in Morocco. The center aims to promote youths’ education, their social inclusion, and their human development through basketball.