Rabat – The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs encouraged Morocco and Russia to intensify their political dialogue through regular contact, Morocco’s state media reported.
In a statement issued on the 62nd anniversary of Morocco-Russia diplomatic relations, the Russian ministry said the two countries must discuss international and regional issues more frequently.
Morocco and Russia’s foreign ministers should exchange visits more often and the two countries’ parliaments must further develop their consultations, the statement said.
According to Morocco’s state media, Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the importance of bilateral economic and technological cooperation, especially in the energy sector.
The two countries have partnered for the Russian-Moroccan Intergovernmental Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation, and the Russian-Moroccan Business Council. Russia has also contributed to several energy projects in the North African country.
The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also highlighted the significant number of Moroccan students who pursue higher education in Russia. According to the statement, more than 600 Moroccan students are currently studying in the transcontinental country and over 11,000 graduated in the past from Soviet and Russian universities.
Russian-Moroccan relations date back to the end of the 18th century. In 1777, the Moroccan Sultan Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah and the Russian Empress Catherine II agreed to establish contacts and exchange trade between the two countries.
Russia first opened a consulate general in Tangier, northern Morocco, in November 1897. However, the official establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Russia—as part of the Soviet Union at the time—dates back to September 1958.
Relations between the two countries have warmed up in recent years, especially in the fields of trade and agriculture.
Russia is Morocco’s primary citrus export destination. In 2017-2018, Morocco’s citrus exports to Russia reached 205,091 tonnes, exceeding the exports to the EU, estimated at 166,299 tonnes.
Between 2014 and 2018, overall trade between the two countries grew by more than 10%.
On the diplomatic field, President Vladimir Putin highlighted on several occasions the quality of relations between Morocco and Russia.
On January 5, 2020, Putin received the Moroccan Ambassador to Russia, Lotfi Bouchaara. During the meeting, the president highlighted the two countries’ achievements in the agricultural, economic, and political fields.
“We have all the instruments to give a multidimensional impetus to [bilateral] relations,” said Putin.
More recently, on July 30, Putin sent a message to King Mohammed VI to congratulate him on the 21st anniversary of his ascension to the throne.
In his message, the Russian president expressed his “sincere congratulations” and his “wishes for good health and success.” He also wished “happiness and prosperity” for the Moroccan people.
Putin commended the friendly relations linking Russia and Morocco and encouraged further development of bilateral ties.
“Our countries maintain constructive political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields,” he said.
“I am sure that the further development of bilateral ties fully responds to the interests of our peoples and goes in the direction of the consolidation of security and stability in the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and Africa,” Putin added.