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Morocco-NATO: Towards strategic cooperation

Morocco is among the few countries in the world to have a privileged partnership with the Organization for the Maintenance of Peace and Security. Bourita wants the countries of the South to be entitled to citizenship in NATO and no longer be mere “consumers of decisions”.

Relations between Morocco and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are not new. At a seminar held yesterday in Rabat at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, around 25 years of Morocco-NATO cooperation in the framework of the Mediterranean Dialogue, a report and future prospects were highlighted. The quality and diversity of participants in this event testify to the maturity and strength of these relationships. A pillar of stability and peace in the Mediterranean, this relationship, which dates back to 1995, made it possible to reach a security and strategic consensus as well as mutual trust built up over the course of the operations carried out together.

In his speech, Nasser Bourita emphasized that this seminar, the third of its kind, is unique in that it tries to be multidimensional, touching on other no less important aspects of cooperation such as scientific research or involvement of Civil Society in Security and Stability Issues in the Region. “The relationship with NATO is not only military, it is also political, scientific, integrating the issues that civil society is facing,” said the Minister of Foreign Affairs. But he also put into perspective the image of NATO, subject to debate as well as that of the South in the media and the perception of public opinion in the North of the Mediterranean. In the same vein, the minister asked that the South be able to take part in the reflection on security in the region and not be only “consumer of decisions”.
Bourita highlighted the problem of diversification of the threat in the region, which today requires a diversified response, and no longer only military or security. He also spoke of the threat of separatism in relation to crime and terrorism in the region.

For Alejandro Alvargonzalez, NATO’s Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs and Security Policy, Morocco is a pioneer in political dialogue and a pillar of regional security. He explains this by the fact that the kingdom is directly confronted with the situation on the ground, especially in Libya and in the Sahel. In this regard, he underscored the country’s commitment to NATO and its crucial role in defusing the Libyan crisis as well as its support for the G5 Sahel.

Alvargonzalez, on the other hand, drew attention to the proliferation of small arms trafficking that has developed in the region as a result of the fight against illicit weapons, notably by NATO. The official did not fail, for his part, to recognize the importance of the Science for Peace and Security program, with the prospect of signing a legal agreement with Morocco in the future. “What Morocco does every day for the security of citizens of the Mediterranean basin, and beyond this geographical part, is extremely positive for the stability of all,” said the official. This strategic partnership with Morocco was discussed at the Warsaw Summit in 2016.

The Royal Armed Forces is also involved in a number of defense capacity-building operations in high-tech areas such as cybercrime, governance and crisis management by NATO. The organization, as part of its Science for Peace and Security program, provides training in environmental security, border and port security, and the human and social aspects of security.

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