Friday, February 17, 2012

Morocco Asks Australia to Open Embassy in Rabat

Should Australia open an Embassy in Rabat? If you ask the opinion of Morocco's Canberra-based ambassador, His Excellency Mohammed Mael-Ainin, the answer is an unequivocal "yes".

Last Friday Ambassador Mael-Ainin had a chance to explain why an Australian Embassy in Rabat is considered important, when he appeared before a parliamentary committee inquiry in Canberra.

At the moment the nearest assistance for Australians is from the embassy in Paris. While the Paris embassy staff have a great track record in providing support to Australians, there is a growing need for a presence in Morocco. An Australian embassy could also be tasked with giving support to New Zealanders in the region. At the moment Australians in Morocco can seek assistance from the Canadian Embassy in Rabat (see information below) while New Zealanders need to contact Madrid.

As Ambassador Mael-Ainin (pictured left) pointed out, more Australians were visiting Morocco each year, with 33,000 Australian tourists in 2010. There has also been an increase in the number of Australian firms investing in Morocco. He said Morocco was a democratic nation which has a new constitution enshrining a commitment to human rights, trade unions, a political opposition and an independent judiciary. "Morocco is a very stable country. Politically it is very stable and that is very important for any country wanting to have an embassy," he said.

 The Australian parliamentary joint foreign affairs defence and trade committee is conducting an inquiry into Australia's diplomatic representation and looking at submissions from nations seeking an embassy. In a submission to the committee, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) secretary Denis Richardson said DFAT managed 95 overseas posts in 77 countries. "The number of posts managed by DFAT is lower than any other comparable country," he said, adding that consular and embassy staff numbers were five per cent lower than in 1996 while the range and intensity of activities have steadily increased.

The Australian Embassy in Paris, France is available to assist any Australian citizen who might be in need of help or consular advice, and the first point of contact is their web site:

The Australian government also has a “consular sharing” agreement with Canadian Embassy counterparts and any Australian citizen seeking consular assistance may contact or present directly (during office hours) to the Canadian Embassy in Rabat.

Embassy of Canada in Morocco
13, bis rue Jaâfa-as-Sadik, Agdal
Rabat, Morocco

Postal Address
Embassy of Canada in Morocco
C.P. 709 Rabat-Agdal
Telephone: ( 212) 537 68 74 00

Please note that the Canadian Embassy cannot issue Australian passports but in certain cases they can provide emergency travel documentation to allow you to travel to the nearest Australian Embassy. They may also be able to provide assistance with certain notarial acts.

New Zealand Embassy, Madrid, Spain (also responsible for Morocco): +34 915 230 226.


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