Meeting between Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs and H.E. Dr. Saad Dine El Otmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco
March 5, 2012
On Monday, March 5, Mr. Koichiro Gemba, Minister for Foreign Affairs held a meeting with H.E. Dr. Saad Dine El Otmani, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of the Kingdom of Morocco, who was visiting Japan as a distinguished guest of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, for about fifty minutes from 6:30 p.m. Following the meeting, the two ministers signed the Joint Statement of the Foreign Ministers of Japan and the Kingdom of Morocco (in Japanese and French), and exchanged notes regarding non-project grant aid of 300 million yen for Provision of Industrial Products. The overview of the meeting is as follows.
- Opening remarks
Minister Gemba welcomed the visit to Japan by Minister El Otmani, and expressed his gratitude for the assistance provided by Morocco at the time of the Great East Japan Earthquake. Minister Gemba also stated that he would like to utilize the Joint Statement to be issued this time as a stepping stone to the enhancement of bilateral relations between the two countries.
In response, Minister El Otmani expressed his condolences for the victims of the earthquake, and stated that the assistance provided by Morocco at the time of the earthquake was Morocco’s obligation to a friendly nation.
- Bilateral relations
(1) Political relations
Minister Gemba appreciated Morocco’s efforts for reforms, including the revision of the Constitution and the holding of the election of the House of Representatives, and stated that he expects Morocco to continue its efforts for reform not only in the political sphere but also in economic and social areas.
Minister El Otmani stated that the new government of Morocco also would like to deepen bilateral relations with Japan and cooperation in the international arena. Furthermore, Minister El Otmani expressed that Morocco would like to exercise leadership to promote political reform and the democratization process in the region.
(2) Economic relations
Minister Gemba and Minister El Otmani exchanged opinions on the economic relations between Japan and Morocco, and agreed to further promote bilateral cooperation in the field of solar energy.
Both ministers also agreed that it is important to develop the investment and trade environment in Morocco, and Minister El Otmani expressed that Morocco will further promote the various reforms that it has already been tackling.
(3) Economic cooperation
Minister Gemba stated that Japan will support the reform and democratization efforts in the Middle East and North Africa including Morocco under the Deauville Partnership, and stated that Japan had decided to contribute 1 million dollars to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and provide non-project grant aid of a total of 300 million yen to support Morocco’s efforts for socioeconomic development. Minister Gemba also expressed the intention to provide a yen loan for the Sewerage System Development Project (III) targeting nine cities in rural areas.
In response, Minister El Otmani expressed his deep gratitude for the assistance provided by Japan over the years, and stated that he will continue to make efforts for the effective implementation of projects.
Minister Gemba and Minister El Otmani agreed on the importance of the role played by Morocco in providing triangular cooperation to African nations, and agreed to continue to promote this cooperation.
- Middle East and North African situation
While Minister Gemba and Minister El Otmani welcomed the development of the democratization process in the Middle East and North Africa, they also shared their concerns about the growing tensions in Syria, and agreed on the importance of holding political dialogues between the two countries for the solution of the Syrian issue, and of the cooperation of the international community.
Minister El Otmani stated that Morocco attaches importance to the integration of the Maghreb, and is making efforts to this end. Minister Gemba referred to the important role that Morocco plays for the stability in the Maghreb.
- Cooperation in the international arena
Minister El Otmani referred to the necessity of promptly realizing the reform of the Security Council and the importance of Japan’s role in the international arena, and expressed his support for Japan at the election for non-permanent membership of the Security Council to be held in 2015.
Furthermore, Minister Gemba and Minister El Otmani confirmed that they will seek cooperation for the successful holding of the Fourth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) Ministerial Follow-up Meeting scheduled to be held in Morocco in May 2012. Minister Gemba stated that he expects summit-level participation from Morocco at the Fifth Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD V) scheduled to be held in Yokohama in June 2013.
- (*The foregoing is a provisional translation. The date indicated above denotes the date of issue of the original press release in Japanese.)
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