Thursday, November 17, 2016

Australia to Open Embassy in Rabat

Yesterday (Wednesday, November 16) in Marrakech, Australia’s top diplomat, Julie Bishop, announced that Australia will open an embassy in Rabat. This long awaited development is good news for both Australian expats and the thousands of tourists who visit the Kingdom each year
Salaheddine Mezouar and Julie Bishop

Australian Foreign minister Julie Bishop is in Morocco representing Australia at the 22nd UN conference climate conference (COP22) convening in Marrakech.

Following her meeting with Moroccan Foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, acting chairman of COP22, the Australian Foreign minister said her country has decided to open embassy in Morocco’s capital because the two countries share huge untapped potentials and bilateral cooperation prospects look promising.

“We hope the opening of the embassy will usher in a new era in Australian-Moroccan relations”, she said, expressing her country’s keen interest to foster further economic relations, especially in renewable energies.

About 30,000 Australian tourists visit Marrakech each year, added Mrs Julie Bishop, saying she is convinced that this number will keep growing in the coming years due to Morocco's political stability, tolerance and thriving tourism sector.

Morocco has a rapidly industrialising economy and there is significant opportunity to expand Australia’s trade and investment links, including in food and agriculture, infrastructure planning and sustainable development, mining, oil and gas, and health  as relations between the two countries are gaining momentum
Today I announce the Government’s intention to open an Australian Embassy in Rabat, Morocco, with the agreement from the Moroccan Government, as part of our commitment to expanding Australia’s diplomatic network. An embassy in Morocco is an important addition to Australia’s diplomatic network in Africa, a region of considerable commercial interest to Australia - Julie Bishop
It is believed that the new Embassy will also facilitate enhanced collaboration on counter-terrorism and other security issues.  Mrs Bishop pointed out that Australia values Morocco’s significant role in international efforts to fight international terrorism and extremism.

The two countries enjoy strong people-to-people links, with many thousands of Australians visiting Morocco each year.

The Australian Government hopes to open the Embassy in the 2017/2018 financial year contingent upon identifying a suitable location and office fit-out.

It is to be hoped that the new links mean that Australian residents in Morocco will also be able to gain residency permits for longer than one year.

Local Australians have welcomed the news while New Zealanders hope that their country will follow the Australian lead.


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