Rabat – US secretary of Defense, Mark Esper highlighted on Friday the leadership of King Mohammed VI and Morocco in promoting stability and prosperity in Africa.
“Under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco has remained a crucial partner for the United States on a wide range of security issues,” said Esper.
He also highlighted the “many respects” of the “friendship” between Morocco and America, describing the North Africa country as an indispensable ally in America’s “Africa strategy.”
The American official’s comments came during a signing ceremony at the headquarters of Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the event, Morocco and the US agreed on a 10-year Roadmap (2020-2030) to bolster their defense cooperation.
The US Department of Defense considers the cooperation the latest milestone in the “already strong” Morocco-US partnership that dates back more than 200 years.
During his discussion with Bourita, Esper said that the US and Morocco are working more closely than ever to meet the increasing challenges of a common security environment.
These include the fight against terrorism and other transnational threats, in addition to regional security and global strategic challenges, he noted.
The US official indicated that the US and Morocco are working together with the aim to promote shared US-Morocco goals in the MENA region and beyond, mainly security and stability.
Morocco as a strategic ally, gateway to Africa
For Esper, America benefits alot from its partnership with Morocco, including on counterterrorism and other national security-related factors.
The US’ commitment to bolstering ties with the North African country, he noted, stems from a desire to “to continuously consolidate its strong and long-standing commitment to Africa and especially to Morocco, a strategic ally of the United States outside NATO and a gateway to the African continent.”
In addition to national security and military cooperation, Esper and Bourita explored a wide range of venues to upgrade their countries’ bilateral ties. Discussions included the promotion of trade and commercial ties between the US and its African partners.
As far as Esper is concerned, however, security should be the first priority of the new roadmap of US-Morocco partnership. Only after promoting peace, stability and security across Africa can there be a possibility to work on a “prosperous future.”
Regarding Morocco’s role in America’s African goals and ambitions, the US secretary underlined that Rabat is “at the heart” of the U.S. Africa strategy.
Bourita and Esper also shared their concerns about instability in Mali. They hopfe for the West African country’s transition government to re-establish constitutional order and upgrade the fight against terrorism.
During his stay in Rabat, Esper also met with Lieutenant General Abdelfattah Louarak, the Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR).
Abdeletif Loudyi, Morocco’s Minister Delegate to the Head of Government who signed the cooperation agreement with his American counterpart, underscored Morocco’s “humanistic approach” to the management of the migration crisis.
Like Esper and Bourita, Loudyi also mentioned Rabat’s constant commitment to regional stability as well as its multidimensional strategy in the fight against domestic and transnational terrorism.