Monday, February 22, 2016
Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar & Sec. Kerry Speak to Press
February 18, 2016
SECRETARY KERRY: Well, good afternoon, everybody. It’s my genuine pleasure to welcome my friend Salaheddine Mezouar, the foreign minister of Morocco, here. He and I have met at any number of international conferences, but most importantly, I had the wonderful pleasure of being a couple of times his guest and His Majesty’s guest in Morocco, and I’m very grateful for the extraordinary, very generous welcome.
Morocco – many people in the United States aren’t aware of this – is the first country in the world to recognize the United States after our Declaration of Independence. And we have had a very long and important and good relationship with Morocco. Morocco is a non-NATO ally, but a very important ally in any number of initiatives right now, deeply engaged in leading efforts to bring about peace in Libya. And we are very, very grateful for the meetings that have taken place in Morocco under the stewardship of the foreign minister and His Majesty in an effort to try to see a government emerge in Libya and be able to return to Tripoli and begin to unite that country.
In addition to that, they are a partner in efforts to counter terrorism and also to build stability in the region as a whole. Today we will have a great deal to talk about. In addition to some of the challenges ultimately of the Western Sahara and of our shared commitment on climate change, it’s important for me to recognize that Morocco will be the host of the next meeting – the first meeting after Paris – of all of the countries that came together to reach agreement on an historic agreement to move forward on climate change. So we look forward to their important work in that regard.
So I thank you for taking time to come and visit, Salaheddine, and I look forward to our conversation.
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: (Via interpreter) Thank you very much, John. I’m very happy to meet you in Washington. Of course, we meet each other during various meetings. However, I would like to underscore how happy I am to meet with you here and to have this opportunity to have this exchange with you with all of these issues that are in the news that have interested us, but of course, to talk about our bilateral relations, which, as you said, are excellent relations.
Our two countries are two friendly countries, sincerely friendly, because we share the same values. We share the same ambitions for peace, stability, prosperity, democracy – those values, those human values, and the values of equality. These are fundamental values for Morocco, and we are delighted to be able to work with you for their growth and their development also within our region.
Our relations, of course, are progressing in a structured framework. We have the Strategic Dialogue which exists between our two countries, and this is a model in terms of its form and its workings and also and its ambitions. The meetings between our two heads of state two years ago now was a momentum towards a new dynamic in our relationship. We made commitments on either side, and that demonstrates the seriousness of our relationship and that also demonstrates the value that we attach to this relationship.
Of course, there are things that are happening throughout the world and in our region and exchange political dialogue, exchanges of views, but also perfect cooperation which exists between us in terms of security, in terms of fight against terrorism, in terms of eradication of that which represents the fundamentals of terrorism. These are all things that we share and for which we are working together.
There’s also another component, and in this I would like to congratulate you, John, and congratulate your country for all the work that you have accomplished during COP21 in Paris, because without your commitment, it would have been difficult to conclude the Paris Accord. I would like to underscore that today, because this is a recognition of all the efforts that you have carried out during delicate moments in order to achieve an agreement. And I do believe that without you, it would have been quite difficult to achieve the framework that was the Paris framework.
Of course, we are counting on you for the success of COP22 in Marrakesh, which is scheduled for November 7 to 18. Of course, we are facing a challenge, namely that of signing and ratifying, but also the challenge to move from the agreements to the implementation. The world is awaiting the implementation of concrete projects. The world is awaiting to see that we are not talking about a pious wish; no, what we’re wanting to see is an implementation. And with you and thanks to you and thanks to your support, we will ensure that COP22 will be a COP that will begin the implementation.
I would like to thank you for your availability. I would like to thank you also for your friendship. I would like to thank you also for your personal commitment on all of these issues that pertain the world and all of these issues that affect our region. Yes, we are facing real challenge. We’ll meet them together because we have this ambition that the world can only advance under the framework, of course, of peace, stability, and prosperity.
SECRETARY KERRY: Thank you very much.
FOREIGN MINISTER MEZOUAR: Thank you.