Posts Tagged ‘US-Morocco Relations’

The US should do more for its oldest ally

August 6, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s July 30, 2014 special to The Hill.

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Today, July 30, across the Atlantic and just a few weeks after the 238th anniversary of our country’s independence, America’s oldest ally will celebrate the fifteen-year anniversary of its King’s leadership. I was present at King Mohammed VI’s enthronement ceremony in 1999, as the U.S. ambassador to Morocco at the time. I remember being struck by the seeming irony: I was representing one of the world’s most important democracies at the celebration of one of the world’s most long-standing monarchies.

But as I quickly learned, it wasn’t ironic at all. From our very first conversation, just following the death of His father, King Hassan II, I understood that King Mohammed VI holds a very specific vision for Morocco that shares so many US values. He expressed his desire to devolve power to local government; he was proud that his country embraced diversity and tolerance and wanted the world to understand how essential that was to Morocco’s identity; and he wanted his country to prosper—economically, politically, and socially. Having witnessed the first few years of his reign from the US Embassy in Rabat, and having served as an adviser to the Kingdom since 2002, I have been uniquely positioned to witness Morocco’s evolution under King Mohammed VI’s rule.

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Kerry’s—and Congress’s—valued partner in Morocco

April 15, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s April 14, 2014 special to The Hill.

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Earlier this month, Secretary of State John Kerry concluded his whirlwind tour through Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa in Morocco, to co-chair the second US-Morocco Strategic Dialogue. With consensus with Europe on Putin’s expansionist policies only lukewarm, and the apparent derailment of Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, one can imagine that Kerry was relieved to arrive in Rabat.

There, Kerry met with a partner that shares our vision of stability and security in the region, and makes common cause with the U.S. on how to move forward to achieve it. In summing up his visit at the second Morocco-U.S. Strategic Dialogue in Rabat, Kerry said, “The U.S. stands by and will stand by this relationship every step of the way.” He hailed Morocco’s “essential leadership role” on its reform program and its proactive strategy to enhance regional security and stability in Africa and the Middle East.

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Morocco: A bridge between US and Africa

March 19, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s March 19, 2014 special to The Hill.

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At a time when many pundits are concerned about the disarray in U.S. policy, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, our country’s oldest ally continues to take steps to build bridges that not only benefit the region, but have very positive consequences for America’s long-term interests in Africa. I’m referring here to recent events that demonstrate how Morocco’s strategic ties to the continent have significant implications for our economic and security interests in the region.

I have just attended the second US-Morocco Business Development Conference in Rabat, Morocco. No ordinary business meeting, it is part of the Morocco-US Strategic Dialogue, and seeks to promote stronger trade and investment ties and greater utilization of the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement (FTA). I was impressed by the more than 100 US and Moroccan companies, agencies, and organizations that participated in the program, which focused on the investment climate in Morocco, the role of Morocco as a gateway to Africa, and sessions on automotive and aeronautic manufacturing and renewable and other energies.

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Obama and Congress Aligned on Supporting Morocco in Western Sahara

January 21, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s January 20, 2014 special to Middle East Online.

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Every example of bipartisanship—and even more rarely, cooperation—between the Executive and Congress is to be cherished these days, especially when it comes to foreign policy. So the passage of the Omnibus Appropriations bill with important bipartisan language supporting our close ally Morocco’s efforts to secure and stabilize a key part of troubled North Africa is one such occasion. Just as importantly, it provides welcome additional momentum towards a resolution of the conflict in the Western Sahara.

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US-Morocco Strategic Partnership: Two Centuries of Unwavering Friendship

January 7, 2014

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s December 21, 2013 special to Middle East Online.

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At their November 22 meeting in the White House, held against the backdrop of nuclear talks with Iran and the ongoing civil war in Syria, President Obama and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI took full advantage to enhance the strategic alliance between the US and a critical American ally and longtime friend in the Middle East/North Africa region.

In the joint statement issued after the meeting, the two leaders “stressed that this important visit provides an opportunity to map out a new and ambitious plan for the strategic partnership,” and they “pledged to advance our shared priorities of a secure, stable, and prosperous Maghreb, Africa, and Middle East.”

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Morocco: Fifty years later, a steadfast friend

November 25, 2013

Edward M. Gabriel (Ambassador to Morocco, 1997-2001)

Cross-posted from Ambassador Gabriel’s November 22, 2013 special to The Hill.

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It happened fifty years ago today, yet like most Americans alive at the time, I remember hearing the news of President Kennedy’s assassination as if it were yesterday. I was sitting in my eighth grade classroom at St. Joseph’s Catholic School in upstate New York. The announcement was made over the loudspeaker, and moments later we heard the nuns’ terrified whispers. The president—the first Catholic president—had been killed. In shock, we were sent home early to be with and grieve with our families.

Even as a kid I knew that the United States had lost a beloved leader in President John F. Kennedy. We lived in a scary world. The threat of communism loomed over the country. The news spoke of despots in Cuba, in Russia… A guerilla war in Vietnam raged on. And the assassination made it seem even scarier.

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