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Counterterrorism : USA praises Morocco's strategy

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US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. / DR

The U.S. Department of State praised Morocco's counterterrorism strategy highlighting, in its new report released Wednesday, the «robust and long-standing cooperation» between the United States and the Kingdom in this area.

The 2019 edition of this annual report welcomed Morocco's efforts in the fight against terrorism, stating that «the Government of Morocco continued its comprehensive CT strategy that includes vigilant security measures, regional and international cooperation, and counter-radicalization policies».

«In 2019, Morocco's CT efforts largely mitigated its risk of terrorism, doubling the number of arrests compared with 2018», the report said, adding that law enforcement agencies, including the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation (BCIJ), «leveraged intelligence collection, police work, and collaboration with international partners to conduct CT operations».

«In 2019, under the direction of the Ministry of Interior, Moroccan law enforcement aggressively targeted and reported to have arrested more than 125 individuals, effectively dismantling more than 25 terrorist cells in the early stages of planning attacks against a range of targets, including public buildings, public figures, and tourist sites», the Department of State said, noting that «there were no terrorist incidents reported in Morocco in 2019».

In addition, the report stressed that «border security remained a top priority for Moroccan authorities», commending in particular the work of the airport authorities, which have «excellent capacities in detecting fraudulent documents».

The same source also highlighted the kingdom’s policy of combating violent extremism, noting that «Morocco has a comprehensive CVE strategy that prioritizes countering radicalization and oversight of the religious sphere».

It recalled, Morocco is «a major non-NATO ally», noting that the Kingdom has hosted the annual African Lion exercise and participated in multilateral regional training exercises.

«Morocco also has strong cooperation with European partners – especially Belgium, France, and Spain – to thwart potential terrorist threats in Europe», the report pointed out, stressing that the Kingdom currently co-chairs, with Canada, the Global Counter-Terrorism Forum, while being an «active participant» in the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

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