Morocco, Belgium Reaffirm Willingness to Establish Strategic Partnership to Meet Current, Future Challenges – Joint Statement –

Morocco and Belgium reaffirmed their willingness to establish a strategic partnership to match the potential of both countries in order to meet current and future challenges. In a joint statement issued after talks, on Thursday in Rabat, between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Affairs and Foreign Trade and Federal Cultural Institutions of the Kingdom of Belgium, Hadja Lahbib, on a working visit to the Kingdom, the two ministers confirmed their commitment to strengthen dialogue and cooperation and reaffirmed their shared willingness to further deepen relations between the two kingdoms, in order to establish a strategic partnership that meets the expectations and potential that exist between the two countries, so as to meet the current and future challenges. In this context, they agreed to hold a regular political dialogue and to structure the Belgian-Moroccan partnership in the various areas of common interest, including economic and trade cooperation, renewable energy, security, justice, migration and readmission and cultural cooperation, the Joint Statement said, adding that this should lead to the holding in Rabat of the 3rd session of the Higher Joint Partnership Commission. The two ministers, who had fruitful exchanges, stressed the importance of a strategic relationship between Morocco and Belgium. Recalling the success of the economic mission led by Her Royal Highness Princess Astrid in 2018, the two ministers reaffirmed their willingness to strengthen and expand bilateral economic and trade relations, in a spirit of mutually beneficial partnership, particularly in the areas of energy transition, green hydrogen, circular economy, blue economy, digitalization and health. They stressed their aspiration to further develop economic and trade relations between the two countries, encouraging Belgian companies to explore, following the new Moroccan law on investment, new investment opportunities in Morocco both bilaterally and in the framework of a triangular Moroccan-Belgian-African trade cooperation. The two ministers noted the dynamic of interregional and inter-municipal cooperation between the two countries which plays an important role in further strengthening cooperation between Morocco and Belgium. Examining the challenges and issues of migration in its various aspects, they agreed to intensify and increase migration cooperation in various areas such as return, readmission and the fight against human trafficking. The two ministers welcomed the establishment of a joint Moroccan-Belgian Migration Group, whose first meeting should be held before the end of 2022. “Our common fight against irregular immigration requires shortened and more efficient procedures for the identification and return of persons who do not have or no longer have the right of residence, including those who have committed offences against public order, or for the transfer of convicted persons to serve their sentences in their country of origin,” the same source said. The two ministers also undertook to improve cooperation in the field of justice, particularly with regard to the practical implementation of the Convention between the Kingdom of Belgium and the Kingdom of Morocco on assistance to detainees and the transfer of sentenced persons, signed in Brussels on July 7, 1997 and its Additional Protocol, signed in Rabat on March 19, 2007. They support the convening, in the near future, of a meeting between the central authorities of both countries, with a view to the concrete implementation of the commitments contained in this convention. The two ministers also agreed to continue negotiations on the revision of the treaty on mutual legal assistance, including the expansion of the scope of this treaty. The two ministers welcomed the role played by Moroccans living in Belgium and Belgians residing in Morocco, as pillars of rapprochement between Morocco and Belgium. To this end, they agreed on the importance of promoting cultural cooperation actions to strengthen ties between the two countries. The two countries reaffirmed their support and their commitment to strengthen the Strategic Partnership between the Kingdom of Morocco and the European Union (EU). They welcomed, in this sense, the adoption of the Green Partnership between Morocco and the EU which will provide a framework for the development of enhanced cooperation between the two parties, the Joint Statement said.