Mark Esper: Under 'wise Leadership of His Majesty the King,' Morocco 'Remains a Crucial Partner' for US on Wide Range of Security issues

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Rabat,(MOFA) - The Kingdom of Morocco, "under the wise leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, remains a crucial partner for the United States on a wide range of security issues," U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said Friday in Rabat, estimating that "in many respects, the Kingdom is the first friendly country of the United States of America".

In a speech delivered at the signing ceremony at the headquarters of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the ten-year Roadmap (2020-2030) for defense cooperation, signed by Esper and minister delegate to the head of government in charge of National Defense Administration, Abdellatif Loudiyi, the U.S. Secretary of Defense said that this Roadmap "is the latest milestone in the Moroccan-US partnership that dates back more than 200 years".

Mr. Esper, who was received by Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita, on the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, stressed that "our two nations are working, more closely than ever, to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex security environment: from the fight against terrorism to other transnational threats, regional security and other global strategic challenges".

The Kingdom of Morocco and the United States, Esper said, "are working together to promote security, stability and prosperity for our common goals and our peoples," noting that his country is driven by the desire "to continuously consolidate its strong and long-standing commitment to Africa and especially to Morocco, a strategic ally of the United States outside NATO and a gateway to the African continent”.

The U.S. Secretary of Defense said he is "confident" that the two nations "will remain allies and strategic partners for generations to come”.

The U.S. official said that his discussions earlier in the day were not limited to security issues alone, but also covered other questions related to promoting robust trade and commercial ties between the United States and African partners. This goal, he noted, "is at the heart of the U.S. Africa strategy as we work together toward a more prosperous future," stressing that "we will not be able to achieve this objective unless we persevere on the path of promoting peace, stability and security across the African continent”.

In order to achieve this goal, Mr. Esper added, "we must strengthen our defense capabilities and develop partnerships with African governments," recalling that "Morocco is a leader in this field”. In this regard, he said that his talks in Morocco also focused on ways "to improve our military cooperation, partnerships and interoperability as the foundation of our relationship”.

In this context, he highlighted the importance of the African Lion multilateral exercises, "which are well known throughout the region as essential maneuvers for many countries," adding that "our actions today are aimed at promoting cooperation on many fronts as we build on our partnerships to achieve our security objectives, which will contribute to stability and prosperity in Africa and beyond”.

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