Joint Statement: Morocco, Switzerland Intend to Strengthen their Cooperation in All Areas of Common Interest

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Déclaration Conjointe: Le Maroc et la Suisse entendent raffermir leur coopération dans tous les domaines d'intérêt commun
Morocco and Switzerland expressed, Friday December 3rd, 2021, their wish to strengthen their bilateral relations and to reinforce their cooperation in all fields of common interest.

In a Joint Statement, issued at the end of the visit to Bern by Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Expatriates, MFA Nasser Bourita, the two countries say "recognize the importance of a comprehensive and regular dialogue to strengthen mutual understanding". They also recall their respective commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement, reaffirmed at COP22 in Morocco.

Working to develop exchanges on all issues of common interest, with a view to contributing to the strengthening of peace, security and prosperity, Morocco and Switzerland affirm that they recognize the transnational nature of migration issues and the interest of addressing them in a spirit of partnership at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. They also recall their numerous bilateral agreements and declarations of intent on sectoral cooperation.

The statement further reaffirms that both countries are bound by the principles and purposes enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and adhere to the rule of international law.

It adds that the Kingdom of Morocco and the Swiss Confederation wish to hold regular political consultations, in principle on an annual basis alternating between Rabat and Bern, by pursuing the objectives of strengthening and deepening the high-level political dialogue, in order to promote concrete cooperation on bilateral, regional and international issues, and to consult on strategic issues of major importance for both countries, on global issues, exploring new areas of sectoral cooperation and to make periodic reviews of progress made.

The two countries, notes the Joint Statement, will work to accelerate the pace of working visits at the level of senior officials and at all levels to strengthen dialogue and consultation between governments and economic operators, contribute to strengthening peace, security and international stability, and exchange on human rights, including the progress made by the signatories in the protection and promotion in this area.

Morocco and Switzerland also aspire to strengthen the political dialogue between the two countries, through regular meetings between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and contacts between the central directors of the two respective departments.

On the economic and trade aspect, both countries welcome the free trade agreement between the Kingdom of Morocco and the member states of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA), as well as the investment protection agreement and the double taxation agreement between Switzerland and Morocco, which provide a good basis for bilateral economic relations.

They recall that their free trade agreement is an important instrument of their bilateral relationship and that the joint committee of this free trade agreement between EFTA and Morocco is the competent body to discuss any matter related to it.

Recognizing the importance of continuously improving the conditions for growth and diversification of trade and investment, based on the interest of the companies involved, both countries are ready to conduct ad hoc economic exchanges and meetings and facilitate the development of links between the respective private sectors, for example through the holding of investment forums.

They wish to explore the possibilities of cooperation in order to develop joint Moroccan-Swiss actions towards Africa, notably through the Cooperation Agencies of both countries.

The Kingdom of Morocco and the Swiss Confederation also intend, based on the interests of the respective economic places, to promote cooperation of actors in areas such as pharmaceutical industry, medical equipment, chemical industry, high technology, infrastructure of renewable energy and, as part of cooperation in economic development and sustainable finance.

The two countries aspire to continue and deepen their cooperation in the field of sustainable tourism, including the organization of tourism fairs, exhibitions and seminars, as well as in the field of training of specialists in the hotel and tourism sector.

They wish to continue their cooperation in international trade, economic and financial institutions, to better serve the objectives of sustainable development and ensure the integration of both countries in the system of international economic relations.

On the subject of migration, Morocco and Switzerland welcome in the Joint Statement the strengthening of bilateral cooperation on migration, including through the holding of bilateral migration consultations.

They intend to further deepen this bilateral cooperation on migration management and protection of migrants, through the establishment of a regular migration dialogue, including through the creation of a permanent joint migration group and the conclusion of a cooperation agreement on migration.

The two parties wish, among other things, to discuss and explore common opportunities to strengthen their cooperation in the areas of protection and integration of migrants, governance of migration, ways of promoting mechanisms to stimulate regular and circular migration.

This also includes strengthening technical and operational capacities, particularly in the areas of document fraud and AFIS (Automated Fingerprint Identification System), the return of formally identified illegal residents, including voluntary return and the identification and protection of victims of human trafficking. With regard to "Justice and Police", both countries welcome the good cooperation on security matters and wish to further deepen it. They attach importance to their long-standing bilateral treaty on the transfer of sentenced persons and emphasize the quality of police cooperation, which has been intensified by the accreditation of a Swiss police attaché.

In parallel with the conclusion of an agreement on Migration, the two countries also wish to strengthen this good police cooperation and intensify their relations in the area of mutual legal assistance, bearing in mind that procedures for mutual legal assistance in criminal matters and extradition are governed by the respective national laws.

With regard to "Social Insurance", and within the framework of discussions for the conclusion of an agreement in the field of migration, both countries are ready to enter into a cooperation agreement on social security.

With regard to sustainable development, both countries wish to continue the dialogue initiated in September 2020 concerning cooperation under Article 6 of the Paris Climate Agreement.

They welcome the Declaration of Intent signed in April 2019 on sustainable agriculture, and wish to explore the operationalization of the Declaration of Intent of January 30, 2018 on cooperation in the field of energy, to continue the good cooperation in the field of sustainable tourism, and to develop their cooperation in the areas of "climate and environment" in light of their respective policies and strategies in these areas.

Both countries express their wish to explore the possibilities of South-South and triangular cooperation in the field of environment and climate.

In the field of education and new technologies, both countries encourage and welcome cooperation in the areas of training, research and innovation, based on the principles of scientific excellence, mutual interest and the own initiative of the institutions concerned.

They encourage the mobility of students, together with faculty, administrative and technical staff within the framework of existing instruments between the two countries.

In this context, both countries welcome the existing cooperation between Swiss and Moroccan universities, such as the Excellence in Africa program of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne and the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, as well as other autonomous collaborations between Swiss and Moroccan institutions.

In this regard, they wish to exploit and take advantage of existing mechanisms and instruments for funding science and technology cooperation projects.

Both countries encourage the exchange of best practices in the framework of cooperation between, and on the initiative of, the universities of both countries. They also want to explore the possibilities of exchanges in the field of digitization, technology, innovation, higher education and scientific research.

In the field of Transport, both countries welcome the Declaration of Intent signed in September 2019 on technical cooperation in the fields of roads and railways. They aspire to intensify cooperation and exchange of information and visits of experts in areas of common interest. Transport issues covered by the bilateral agreement on international road transport are discussed in the Joint Commission provided for this purpose.

Regarding financial cooperation, Morocco and Switzerland emphasize their mutual willingness to continue their discussions on the existing bilateral technical cooperation and to identify projects of common interest that can contribute to sustainable development and accelerate the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

This technical cooperation aims to focus, among other things, on the development of framework conditions for the private sector as well as the public sector, including infrastructure projects in the framework of public-private partnerships.

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