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The year 2020 marks the military cooperation between Morocco and the United States

2020 was a key year for Morocco's military cooperation with the United States. In addition to arms orders, the two countries have entered into a ten-year military agreement.

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2020 was a year that marked the start of the comprehensive and integrated modernization plan launched by King Mohammed VI on May 14, the 64th anniversary of the creation of the Royal Armed Forces. This strategy has enabled Morocco’s army to increase weapon purchases despite the health crisis.

Its main supplier remains the American market. After obtaining the needed go-ahead from the Congress, Morocco’s FAR entrusted Boeing with the manufacture of 24 Apache AH-64E helicopters, for a total of USD 4.25 billion. 

Ordered in November 2019, these devices are set to be delivered in 2024. By the end of 2020, Morocco concluded another sale, acquiring four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones for USD 1 billion.

Between these two orders, many others were concluded, such as the ten Boeing AGM-84L Harpoon Block II missiles for an estimated USD 62 million.

A new military agreement with the United States

This proximity to Washington DC was mainly reflected in the signing of a new military cooperation agreement during the visit of the former US Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, in October in Rabat. The ten-year-long agreement «aims to strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries and support common security objectives», the Moroccan Foreign ministry announced in a press release. 

«The agreement will open doors for trilateral cooperation between Morocco, the United States and African countries», the American official revealed during the press briefing jointly with Foreign minister Nasser Bourita. For the record, since June 2004 the Kingdom was given the status of major ally of the United States outside NATO.

While cooperation with the United States has been particularly strengthened, Morocco has not forgotten other strategic countries. In October, General John Lorimer, senior British Defense Advisor in charge of the MENA region, visited Rabat where he held talks with the Minister Delegate for the National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudyi, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs. A visit followed in early November by that of the Minister of the British Armed Forces, James Heappey.

For its part, France sent its Minister of Defense, Florence Parly, to Morocco in February. In September it was the turn of François Lecointre, chief of staff of the French armies, to hold meetings with Loudiyi, Bourita and the Inspector general of the FAR, General Abdelfattah Louarak. France has benefited from a contract of EUR 192.1 million, financed through a loan granted by BNP Paribas bank for the manufacturing of missiles.

Rabat was able to put its cooperation with Mauritania on track. Despite a chaotic relationship and unexpected twists and turns, such as the blocking of the Guerguerate border crossing, the two countries managed to hold two sessions of their joint military commission in 2020 : the first in January 29 in Rabat and the last on December 21 in Nouakchott.

The legal framework of the military industry made in Morocco is adopted

The year 2020 will also have witnessed the launching of the legal framework for the Moroccan military industry. The first step was taken during the Council of Ministers, chaired on July 7 by King Mohammed VI, approving a bill related to defense and security materials and equipment, arms and ammunition. After the vote by the two Chambers of Parliament, in record time and unanimously, Law 10.20 was published in the Official Bulletin in its August 4.

This law reflects the ambition already expressed by Abdellatif Loudiyi in November 2019 in Parliament. The Minister Delegate for the National Defense Administration had indeed affirmed that Morocco seeks to develop the maintenance of military equipment by requiring, as far as possible, its suppliers to undertake to transfer equipment and maintenance technology acquired by the Royal Armed Forces.

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