Saturday, July 25, 2015

No Beach Holidays for Morocco's Diplomats

After the lull during Ramadan and El Eid, Moroccan diplomatic activity has increased on several fronts with France and Russia high on the agenda
Russia's Sputnik News Agency reported yesterday (Friday) on an upcoming visit to Russia by HM King Mohammed VI.  It is expected that the King will visit to Russia by the end of the this year, and that during the visit a number of important bilateral agreements will be signed.

Moroccan Ambassador to Russia, Abdelkader Lecheheb, told RIA Novosti on Friday that the preparations for the king's visit planned to take place "by the end of the year" are well underway.

Ambassador Lecheheb
"The forthcoming visit of His Majesty the King has a historical and strategic importance, and is designed to give a strong impetus to the development and quality of bilateral relations and to deepening the strategic partnership between Russia and Morocco," Ambassador Lecheheb.
"We are currently preparing the king's visit, under which Moroccan experts in the fields of energy, the fishing industry, military industry, logistics and agriculture, have already visited Moscow…Many agreements are to be signed during the king's visit, and some major projects will be agreed on," the ambassador said.

The last time King Mohammed VI of Morocco was on an official visit to Moscow was in 2002, when a bilateral declaration on a strategic partnership was signed.

Hollande visiting in September

Francois Hollande is expected to visit Morocco in September. The French head of state is expected as part of this visit to award the insignia of Officer of the Legion of Honour to Abdellatif Hammouchi, Morocco’s head of the Domestic Intelligence Agencys, DGST and DGNS.

The decoration is seen by various political analysts as the last step to bury once and for all the “spat chapter” that hallmarked the relations between the two countries few months ago, a tussle triggered by French police officers looking to arrest the Moroccan DST chief, who was visiting France, for allegedly torturing a French national on Moroccan soil.

Abdellatif Hammouchi
The two countries resumed corporation in February following fruitful discussions at the Elysee Palace between President Francois Hollande and King Mohamed VI.

President Holland is due to hold new talks regarding a set of issues of common interest, such as enhancing security coordination and economic cooperation between the two countries.

Moroccans trapped by Libyan Revolution

A much more difficult situation is that of Mbarka Bouaida, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. This week she revealed that more than 70,000 Moroccan citizens have been removed from Libya since the start of the Libyan revolution in February 2011.

Bouaida, pictured above,  told the Moroccan parliament on Tuesday that when the situation began to deteriorate in Libya, Morocco was very concerned with the safety of its citizens, adding that "out of 120,000 Moroccans living in Libya, less than 50,000 remained there".

Bouaida said a joint committee from the ministries of Interior, Foreign Affairs, Moroccan Expatriate and Migration Affairs was formed to follow up on the subject. According to the minister, two offices were opened in the border between Libya and Tunisia to welcome those who wanted to enter Morocco after the kingdom closed its consulates in Tripoli and Benghazi.

Bouaida added that Morocco has "removed all Moroccans who asked to return to their country and we allocated a special budget to facilitate their travel."

Commenting on the minister's remarks, an opposition lawmaker from the Socialist Union Party said "there are nearly 5,000 Moroccans trapped at the Ras Jadeer border crossing in Tunisia."

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