MFA Nasser Bourita receives the Swiss Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs

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The Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates, Mr. Nasser Bourita received, on June 23, 2023 in Rabat, the Swiss Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Ignazio Cassis.

At a press briefing following the bilateral talks, Mr. Bourita praised the strength of bilateral relations, described as excellent and promising, marked by a very positive dynamic, noting that this visit would further promote the partnership between the two countries and raise it to a higher level.

"Since the adoption of the joint declaration, there has been a very positive synergy which has given a new impetus to Moroccan-Swiss cooperation", the minister said, expressing the Kingdom's satisfaction with the way in which the commitments mentioned in the declaration have been implemented.

"His Majesty King Mohammed VI attaches great importance to diversifying the Kingdom's partnerships with all countries, particularly within Europe," he stressed, adding that the strengthening of relations with Switzerland is in line with the implementation of Royal Directives.

On this occasion, the two ministers noted with satisfaction the strengthening of political dialogue, marked by regular consultations and exchanges of visits on both sides, while welcoming the close collaboration between the two countries in the field of migration.

Mr. Bourita and Mr. Cassis also stressed the importance of strengthening cooperation in the university and scientific research fields, in particular by promoting the mobility of students, teaching staff and administrative and technical executives.

They also praised the excellent collaboration between the two countries at multilateral level, notably in the context of Switzerland's mandate on the United Nations Security Council (2023/2024), and Morocco's mandate on the Human Rights Council (2023/2025).

The two ministers stressed the importance of further strengthening the economic partnership.

They highlighted the growing joint economic potential, with total trade volume exceeding 700 million Swiss francs for the first time in 2022, noting that the Kingdom is the Swiss Confederation's third-largest partner in Africa, and that Switzerland is one of the Top 10 foreign investors in Morocco, with 50 Swiss companies in Morocco employing around 7,000 people.

Mr. Bourita highlighted the opportunities offered by the free trade agreement between Morocco and Europe, noting that a strong structuring of the economic players in both countries and the setting up of a businessmen's council would greatly help in this perspective.

He also stressed that the two countries are working within the framework of tripartite Moroccan-Swiss cooperation with Africa, noting the signing of a series of cooperation agreements and programs between the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation and the Swiss cooperation directorates.

For his part, Mr. Cassis said that Switzerland welcomes the major reforms undertaken by Morocco, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI. He also hailed the reforms undertaken by the Kingdom, particularly in the political, economic and social fields.

"I welcome the important reforms implemented in Morocco, under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, for an open and dynamic Moroccan society and economy", he said.

He also said that Switzerland has reiterated the importance of Morocco's serious and credible efforts aimed at a political solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue, based on compromise, commending positively the autonomy plan in the process of settling this issue.

"Switzerland recognizes and reiterates the importance of Morocco's serious and credible efforts to find a peaceful political solution based on compromise," he said.

Referring to the autonomy plan presented by Morocco to the United Nations General Secretariat on April 11, 2007, Mr. Cassis said that "this initiative is a positive point in the process, and we will do everything in our power to facilitate a favorable solution."

"It's time for this issue to be settled and to find a solution, because this crisis has been going on for too long,” said Switzerland’s top diplomat.

He also indicated that Switzerland backs the efforts of the United Nations and the central role it plays in the process concerning the Sahara issue, and that it supports a political solution in line with international law and Security Council resolutions.

"I believe we need to find an agreement with the UN representative that can bring the process to a successful conclusion, with flexibility on everyone's part,” he said.

The two ministers emphasized the importance of the joint declaration, signed in December 2021 in Berne, as a roadmap for strengthening these bilateral relations in all areas.

In this respect, Mr. Cassis stressed that today's visit was an ideal opportunity to take stock of this bilateral cooperation following the signing of the joint declaration which, beyond its symbolic role in marking the centenary of bilateral relations, was intended to be productive and rich in results.

He also highlighted the deep-rooted friendship linking the two countries, which is "solid and more than a century old", since two years ago in Berne, Morocco and Switzerland celebrated the 100th anniversary of diplomatic relations (100 years since the opening of the first Swiss embassy in Morocco), reiterating his country's desire to further deepen relations with the Kingdom.

Describing this assessment as very positive, he noted that over the past 18 months, the two countries had signed a climate cooperation agreement, on the sidelines of the COP 27 Climate Conference, held in Sharm El Sheikh in 2022. Similarly, a memorandum of understanding on education and research has been adopted, in addition to the creation of a Moroccan-Swiss parliamentary friendship group, which will strengthen exchanges between the two countries.

"Morocco plays an important role on the international and multilateral scene, such as within the UN and the Human Rights Council", stressed the Swiss official, adding that in such a short time the two countries have succeeded in developing stable, growing and productive bilateral cooperation, which will enable them to meet regional and geopolitical challenges.

Mr. Cassis added that Switzerland hails Morocco's committed and important role as a hub of stability in the region and a relay for development on the African continent. He underlined Morocco's positive role, dynamic attitude and constructive contribution to the settlement of regional and continental issues.

In this respect, he highlighted the Kingdom's positive commitment in Libya, within the framework of the Bouznika process, in favor of a peaceful political transition in this country, through elections.

"Morocco also plays an important role on the international and multilateral scene", notably within the framework of the United Nations and the UN Human Rights Council.

At the end of the meeting, the two ministers noted that they shared the same views, with the aim of contributing to the strengthening of regional and international peace, security and stability.

Mr. Cassis and Mr. Bourita also agreed to pursue consultation and coordination on regional and international issues of common interest.

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