Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis welcomes the foreign minister of the Kingdom of Morocco to Bern
Bern, 03.12.2021 - On 3 December in Bern, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis welcomed Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates. This official visit marks the centenary of Switzerland's diplomatic presence in Morocco. Both sides signed a joint declaration, a memorandum of understanding on political consultations and a declaration on cooperation under the Paris Agreement.
The two foreign ministers commended the relationship between Switzerland and Morocco: "Our two countries have been bound by strong ties for a century. Our relationship continues to evolve and has a bright future ahead." During their talks, Mr Cassis took the opportunity to present the Federal Council's Middle East and North Africa (MENA) strategy to his counterpart.
Both ministers also discussed the challenges of international migration. Morocco is on the frontline of the Mediterranean migration route; Switzerland is committed to projects in the region that protect migrant children and support their reintegration in their country of origin. Mr Cassis and Mr Bourita highlighted the quality of current bilateral migration cooperation and agreed to strengthen it through the establishment of a regular dialogue as well as a formal framework for cooperation on migration issues.
Signing of memorandums of understanding
During the meeting, Mr Cassis signed a joint declaration with his Moroccan counterpart covering all the areas of cooperation which the two countries wish to develop, from the economy to new technologies and including sustainable development. The declaration was also an opportunity to reiterate Switzerland's position on Western Sahara. Switzerland supports the United Nations' efforts and their central role in achieving a political settlement in accordance with international law and the relevant Security Council resolutions. Accordingly, Switzerland has reiterated the importance of Morocco's serious and credible efforts to find a political solution based on compromise and has noted the plan for autonomy that Morocco has presented to the UN Secretary-General.
The two counterparts also signed a memorandum of understanding calling for regular political consultations between their countries as well as a joint climate statement. The statement is linked to the negotiations between Switzerland and Morocco on a forthcoming cooperation agreement under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
Strong ties with Switzerland since 1921
Switzerland and Morocco are connected by their geographical proximity and cultural links, including their common use of the French language. The first Swiss diplomatic representation opened in Casablanca in 1921. Since then, the two countries have forged strong and wide-ranging ties. Morocco is Switzerland's second largest trading partner in North Africa and has significant industrial potential. Switzerland supports economic development projects in areas such as exports, women's access to the financial sector and sustainable tourism.
The last meeting between the head of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and their Moroccan counterpart was in 2013.
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