Rabat, 24 June 2023 (TDI): The Swiss Federal Councillor and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ignazio Cassis, arrived in Rabat on June 23 and engaged in a productive conversation with the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Nasser Bourita.

Morocco-Switzerland bilateral cooperation

The bilateral discussions revolved around a comprehensive exploration of potential areas of cooperation, with particular emphasis placed on sector-specific collaboration, including climate initiatives, education, research advancements, and migration-related issues.

Moreover, the two sides also analyzed the prospects for peace and development in the region. They discussed the progress and accomplishments achieved by the two countries since the signing of the Joint Declaration 2021.

In the spirit of the Joint Declaration, a memorandum of understanding on scientific research was reached bilaterally in 2022. This agreement led to the development of 10 joint academic research projects between the institutions of the two states.

They highlighted that the two countries had inked a bilateral agreement on climate cooperation at COP27 in Egypt.

Furthermore, the two Ministers admired the imminent creation of a Swiss-Moroccan permanent joint migration group, facilitating collaboration in this field.

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They also covered the recent developments in the Middle East, North Africa, and the whole African continent and reaffirmed their joint standing and efforts, especially in the Libyan peace process and the crisis in Sudan.

Both sides reviewed the magnificent development of economic cooperation between Bern and Rabat, stressing the fact that more than 50 Swiss companies are working in Morocco.

Ignazio Cassis visited the Swiss embassy in Morocco and received a warm welcome from the staff of the embassy.

Swiss Standing in the Western Sahara Issue

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis praised Morocco’s regional commitment and lauded its instrumental role in promoting stability and advancing development in Africa, as well as its noteworthy contributions on the global and multilateral platforms, during the joint press conference following the meeting.

Switzerland has reaffirmed the importance of Morocco’s serious and credible efforts for a political solution to the Moroccan Sahara issue. It is a long-standing dispute for territorial control between the Moroccan government and the Sahrawi indigenous population of Western Sahara.

He expressed Swiss support for the autonomy plan presented by Morocco in 2007 at the United Nations. The Moroccan plan demands compromise from both sides and grants a significant level of autonomy to the people of western Sahara while retaining its territorial integrity under the sovereignty of the Moroccan government.

The minister affirmed Switzerland’s support for the peaceful settlement of the issue according to International law. He also underlined the strengthening of their relations with the creation of the Swiss-Moroccan Inter-parliamentary Friendship Group in 2022.

On his part, the Moroccan Foreign Minister appreciated Switzerland’s constructive approach toward the Sahara plan. He considered that the Swiss presence in the UNSC would play a positive role in resolving the issue.

He added that Switzerland is one of the top 10 investors in Morocco, fostering their economic relations. Morocco is the second-largest trading partner of Switzerland in North Africa and the third-largest export market on the African continent.