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Moroccan Sahara: Netherlands Joins International Momentum to Support Autonomy Plan
On 11 May, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of The Netherlands H.E. Wopke Hoekstra and The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates H.E Nasser Bourita held bilateral consultations on the margins of the 9th ministerial meeting of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Marrakech.

Mr. Hoekstra congratulated Mr. Bourita on the excellent organization of the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS’ ministerial meeting. Morocco and the Netherlands reaffirmed their strong partnership in preventing and combatting global terrorism.

Both ministers recalled the longstanding relations the two countries have had for over 400 years. They highlighted the close social, cultural, economic and human ties between the two countries. The two ministers underlined their mutual commitment to strengthen dialogue and cooperation.

Both Ministers confirmed the importance of the bilateral Action Plan. They welcomed progress made since last year, making reference to recent missions of the Dutch Counterterrorism Envoy and the Commissioner of the Netherlands National Police to Morocco, as well as the exhibition of Moroccan Art in the Cobra Museum in the Netherlands.

They expressed their firm intent to continue frequent dialogue and an increased cooperation in all areas including on current affairs, migration, culture, security, human rights and economic cooperation. In this spirit, both ministers agreed to prepare further visits and exchanges, including economic missions. Minister Bourita accepted the invitation of minister Hoekstra to visit the Netherlands.

Both countries emphasized the importance of their strategic partnership for regional stability and development. They recognized the importance of EU-Morocco cooperation in jointly addressing current global and regional challenges. They also recognized the important role of Morocco within the framework of EU-Africa cooperation.

Mr. Hoekstra emphasized the need that Russia ends immediately the war in Ukraine and the humanitarian suffering caused. Both ministers are deeply concerned about the grave impact, including its consequences for food and energy security.

The Ministers discussed the various security challenges in the Sahel region. They spoke about Morocco’s engagement and efforts towards increasing regional stability, as well as the Netherlands contribution to the security and stability of the region. 

On Libya they emphasized their support for the work of UNSMIL and underlined the need for free and fair elections. The Netherlands expressed appreciation for Morocco’s active commitment to the peace process led by the UN.

The Netherlands and Morocco affirmed their support for the UN Secretary General’s Personal Envoy for the Western Sahara and his efforts to continue a political process aimed at reaching a just, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution in accordance with the resolutions of the UN Security Council and the aims and principles set out in the United Nations Charter. In this context, the Netherlands considers the autonomy plan presented in 2007 as a serious and credible contribution to the UN-led political process.

The two Ministers discussed the importance of regulated migration and the efforts both countries undertake to fight smuggling and human trafficking. The two countries are strengthening cooperation in all areas of migration, including return and readmission and  regular migration. Both countries are committed to further regular political dialogue as well as exchanges at various governmental and operational levels in the spirit of constructive engagement.

Mr. Bourita and Mr. Hoekstra reaffirmed their commitment to collaborate against transnational crime and terrorism. The ministers are looking forward to further progress on the recently intensified bilateral dialogue on security. The two countries are committed to continue their collaboration in the Global Counterterrorism Forum, as well as in other multilateral fora such as the UN, and the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS.

Recognizing shared aspirations to further develop close ties between both countries, the Ministers agreed to intensify cultural exchanges as well as cooperation in creative industries. They highlighted the importance of deepening economic cooperation and promoting investments. The ministers expressed enthusiasm about the dynamics between the two countries in the field of innovation and the nexus water, sustainable energy and food. The ministers recognized the possible role of the Dutch-Moroccan community in the Netherlands in different areas. They welcomed the resumption of international travel between the two countries, including the restart of exchange programs for students at the Dutch educational institute NIMAR in Rabat.

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