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At a time when the United States is struggling to devise an “Arab Spring” policy and is running low on strategic allies (as Egypt evolves as a wild card rather than a reliable ally), Morocco’s deputy foreign minister, Youssef Amrani, was at the Brookings Institute to talk about the Middle East, the U.S-Morocco relationship and more.
The soft-spoken diplomat has a degree from Boston University and more than 30 years in Morocco’s foreign ministry. In a 30-minute interview I asked him why he is in the United States. He answered: “I’m here to strengthen this relationship between Morocco and the United States.” Indeed, he doesn’t conceal his aims. “We’re ambitious and want to move toward a larger partnership, more strategic.”
Relations between the United States and Morocco are solid, but what Amrani’s kingdom is after is a more comprehensive relationship rather than simply a discrete list of agreements. His country is looking for “political dialogue, joint dialogue,” he explains, on a whole range of issues concerning Africa and the Middle East.
There is good reason for both sides to work cooperatively. Amrani is quick to remind me, “We bring some vision from Africa and from the Arab world.”
Morocco is attempting a peaceful transition to a constitutional democracy while also devolving power to local authorities and modernizing its schools and judiciary. Along with a family code that provides for greater rights for women, Morocco is trying to accomplish in a decade what took centuries in Western Europe.He recalls that for 10 years Morocco has been working for reform under the auspices of a reformist king, Mohammed VI. “The king had the leadership to promote reform,” he explains. This meant that both economic and political reforms were required. “It was his top priority....
Read full Article at Washington Post
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