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Morocco and US hold a session of their Strategic Dialogue without addressing the Sahara issue

During the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue, held Tuesday in Washington DC, the two countries discussed bilateral and international issues, without addressing the Western Sahara conflict.

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Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo. / Ph. DR

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his American counterpart Mike Pompeo co-chaired, Tuesday, the fourth session of the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue at the State Department in Washington DC. During this meeting, the two senior officials «discussed areas for future U.S.-Moroccan cooperation within the framework of the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue», the US Department of State said in a joint communiqué.  

On this occasion, the United States Secretary of State «highlighted King Mohammed VI’s leadership in advancing a bold and far-reaching reform agenda over the past two decades». Moreover, Pompeo expressed «appreciation for His Majesty’s continuous and valuable support on issues of common interest such as peace in the Middle East, Africa’s stability and development, as well as regional security».

Meanwhile, Pompeo and Bourita «exchanged views on bilateral issues and welcomed the convening of Strategic Dialogue Working Groups during the course of the year that identified opportunities to work together on political, economic, and security issues in Morocco and the region».

The Western Sahara question, absent from the discussion

After the relaunching of the Strategic Dialogue was announced in September 2018, Morocco and the United States held a meeting in July, co-chaired by the Coordinator for Counterterrorism within the U.S. Department of State Nathan A. Sales and Ismail Chekkori, the Director of Global Issues in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Morocco.

Five months ago, the Minister Delegate for African Cooperation Mohcine Jazouli and the United States Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy co-chaired in Washington the first session of the Africa Group within the framework of the Strategic Dialogue.

Rabat and Washington, meanwhile, «welcomed the holding of the 'African Lion', 'Lightning Handshake' and 'Epic Guardian' joint military exercises and discussed ways to further deepen the excellent military cooperation at the strategic policy level».

Iran was also addressed in the meeting held yesterday. The two ministers «discussed the danger posed by Iran and its proxies and discussed cooperative efforts to combat attempts to spread Iranian influence in the region including in North West Africa».

However, the Western Sahara question, a highly important issue for the Moroccan diplomacy, was not mentioned in the joint communiqué that followed the US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue meeting. For the record, the UN Security Council is examining in October the conflict to adopt a new resolution by the end of the same month.

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