Wide Angle

Rabat-Washington : Will Bourita’s visit to China create tension ?

Nasser Bourita’s recent visit to China is definitely making the international community question the Rabat-Washington diplomatic relations. This Friday a ministerial meeting on trade, security and good governance is held in Washington and attended by the USA and African countries.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi (R) meets with Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita in Beijing./Ph. CN news
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Today in Beijing, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. The two senior officials have also signed a memorandum of understanding welcoming Morocco to the «One Belt and One Road» initiative, officially launched last May in Beijing in the presence of 29 Foreign Ministers. Earlier, the Moroccan minister was received by State councilor Yang Jiechi, who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, indicates CRJ news agency. 

Almost at the same time that Morocco and China were strengthening their cooperation, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson chaired a ministerial meeting in Washington D.C. on security, trade and good governance for Africa in the presence of several Foreign Affairs ministers from the same continent. Morocco was also invited to the conference but without Bourita.

An absence and questions

The chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, visited  the American capital to attend the meeting. The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdelkader Messahel was also one of the invited ministers. He had already co-chaired with Tillerson, in April, a session of strategic dialogue between the two countries.

Questions are raised as Nasser Bourita missed the US-Africa meeting in Washington bearing in mind that Morocco is «the first country to recognized the US as an independent nation», according to local official media platforms in the Kingdom.

Yet, at the end of March, when he was part of the Benkirane II cabinet, Bourita attended a less important meeting on the international coalition engaged in the fight against ISIS.

Indeed Nasser Bourita went to the United States on an official visit, where he held talks with Tillerson. But since then the Trump administration has not yet appointed a new ambassador to Rabat. On the other hand, the US president had appointed John P. Desrocher, an American diplomat who currently serves as the United States ambassador to Algeria.

During the Barack Obama mandate, relations between Morocco and the United States had been shaken by two major crises in 2013 and 2016 because of the positions of the previous administration on the Sahara issue.

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