afrol News, 9 May - The Moroccan King, Mohammed VI, has concluded a long official visit in the United States with major diplomatic victories and is reported to have left New York this Thursday heading back home. The King managed to agree on a US-Moroccan free trade treaty, confirm the long-standing military cooperation between the two countries and lobby for Western Sahara and Palestine policies.
On 23 April, King Mohammed VI had met with US President George W. Bush in the White House. The talks were constructive and the US President presented a concept of a US-Moroccan free trade treaty, which King Mohammed VI had received "with satisfaction". The details of the treaty are to be discussed in bilateral talks on a lower level, and one expects the free trade treaty to be signed within one year.
The King also conferred with the heads of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, James Wolfensohn and Horst Koehler.
The US has been supplying Morocco with military devise for decades. Contrary to most European countries, the US has not bothered to ask for the human rights situation in Morocco in this context, seeing the Kingdom as a stronghold against communism and later Muslim fundamentalism. The bilateral military cooperation seems to have been fermented during the King's visit.
Also Morocco's foreign policy interests have been properly addressed during the King's stay, as he talked to both US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, and the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld. The King did lobbying in the case of Morocco-occupied Western Sahara - on which the UN Security Council will decide within few months - and on the Israeli occupation of Palestine. He also spoke to UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan concerning the Western Sahara issue.
All in all, the Moroccan sovereign made an important step in consolidating the well-established US-Moroccan relations in a new era. For the US, Morocco under Mohammed's rule remains a key partner within a world that seems threatening the new world empire. The regional destabilising role of Morocco's human rights violations and its occupation of Western Sahara remain unimportant to Washington in this context.
Sources: Based on Moroccan and US govt, press reports and afrol archives.