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U.S., Morocco Chart Defense Cooperation Through 2030

Oct. 2, 2020 | BY Jim Garamone , DOD News

Morocco and the United States renewed the alliance between the two nations as a foundation stone for peace in Africa.

Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita signed the defense cooperation road map in Rabat, Morocco. The road map charts cooperation between the two nations through 2030.

Soldier salutes man in business suit.
Moroccan Salute
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper receives a salute upon his arrival at the Moroccan Ministry of Defense in Rabat, Morocco.
Photo By: Jim Garamone, DOD
VIRIN: 201002-D-FN314-001C

Morocco is one of America's oldest friends, recognizing the United States as it was still battling for independence in 1777. 

The country remains a critical partner on a range of security issues. "Now more than ever, our two nations are working closely to tackle the challenges of an increasingly complex security environment ranging from counterterrorism and other transnational threats to regional instability and broader strategic challenges," Esper said. "We do this together to promote the security, the stability and the prosperity of our shared goals and our peoples."

Men sit in office.
Partner Talks
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper speaks with Moroccan Inspector General Abdelfattah Louarak prior to signing the U.S.-Moroccan defense roadmap in Rabat, Morocco.
Photo By: Jim Garamone, DOD
VIRIN: 201002-D-FN314-002C

The goal is to continually reinforce America's long-standing, steadfast commitment to Morocco and, by extension, to Africa, the secretary said.

Morocco is a major non-NATO ally, and the country's strategic location makes it a gateway to Africa. "Morocco is a country we have been friends with for many, many years, and I am confident that we will remain friends and strategic partners for generations to come," Esper said.

Men sit at a very large conference table.
Morocco Meeting
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and staff meet with Moroccan military leaders at the Ministry of Defense in Rabat, Morocco.
Photo By: Jim Garamone, DOD
VIRIN: 201002-D-FN314-003C

The discussion with a range of Moroccan leaders touched on many issues, including regional problems, economic issues and more, Esper said. All of the progress made in other areas is enabled by security. "We cannot accomplish this unless we also continue to advance peace and stability and security across the continent," he said. "We must do so by strengthening our defense partnerships with African governments."

The road map will allow the United States and Morocco to improve defense cooperation, partnerships and interoperability. One specific was the importance of Exercise African Lion, which draws participants from across the continent. "It is a key training and exercise event for many, many years, not just between the United States and Morocco," Esper said.