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USA : Would Morocco benefit from Rex Tillerson’s dismissal ?

American Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has been fired. An opportunity for Morocco to better its diplomatic relations with the Trump administration.

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Former US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson and President Donald Trump./Ph. DR

US President Donald Trump has just sacked Rex Tillerson, proposing CIA director Mike Pompeo. Speaking to Associated Press, two White House officials declared that Tillerson knew he was fired on Friday. The former secretary of state received a call from the White House chief of staff John Kelly who told him that a presidential tweet concerning him may be coming.

Indeed, in a Tweet the American head of state stated that «Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job!», thanking «Rex Tillerson for his service!» and indicating that «Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all».

In a statement, Trump praised the «thought process» of Pompeo adding that he is «the right person for the job at this critical juncture».

Contrary to Tillerson who served as a civil engineer, energy executive, and as the 69th United States Secretary of State from February 1, 2017 to March 13, 2018, under President Donald Trump, Pompeo has a military background. The Republican has been heading the CIA since January 2017.

An opportunity for Morocco and its new lobby

Regardless of the reasons behind Trump's decision, sacking Tillerson can somehow be an opportunity for Morocco to restore its diplomatic relations with the Trump administration.

The CIA and the Pentagon often adopt positions close to those of the Kingdom. This was confirmed when the two bodies stayed away from the anti-Moroccan policy carried out by Barack Obama in 2013 and 2016.

Under Rex Tillerson, Rabat and Washington held no session to discuss their Strategic Dialogue, initiated in September 2012 by the Hillary Clinton office. Meanwhile in Algeria, Tillerson and Messahel co-chaired on the 6th and 7th of April, 2017, the 4th meeting of the Strategic Dialogue. A fifth session was also scheduled for June in Algiers.

Relations between the two countries have significantly evolved in the recent months, thanks to Sonatrach, an Algerian government-owned company formed to explore the hydrocarbon resources of the country. The current director of the oil company was in January on a tour to the United States where met executives from ExxonMobile, which was chaired by Tillerson from 2006 until 2017.

Back home, Ould Kaddour told media that the American company wants to invest in Algeria. Moreover, a meeting between the two parties is planned, at the end of March, to «deepen the discussions on this implementation».

The departure of Rex Tillerson is worth testing for the effectiveness of the new Moroccan lobby in the United States. In January, Morocco accepted the services of a new lobbying company called Glover Park Group (GPG), for a period of 18 months.

The contract is worth $ 360,000. During this period, GPG will have to revitalize relations with the Trump administration and promote US investments in the kingdom.

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