King Mohammed arrives in Washington
Morocco-USA, Politics, 4/22/2002
Morocco's King Mohammed VI arrived in Washington Sunday evening for a work visit to the United States.
During this visit, the second since he accessed the throne in July 1999, the sovereign will confer with President George Walker Bush and will meet senior governmental officials and outstanding political and economic figures.
After Washington, King Mohammed VI will fly to New York for talks with United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Annan.
The White House had said in a statement announcing the royal visit earlier this month that President Bush was looking forward "to the opportunity to review regional and bilateral issues with the King of Morocco, who has played a constructive role in the search for Middle East peace and has been a staunch ally in the international fight against terrorism."
Moroccan minister of foreign and cooperation, Mohamed Benaissa, told MAP news agency that the Palestinian cause and the Arab-Israeli conflict in general will be among the priority topics to be discussed in Washington (Tuesday) by the sovereign, Chairman of the Al-Quds Committee (an off-shoot of the Organization of Islamic Conference), and President Bush. Besides President Bush, King Mohammed VI will meet Defense Secretary, Donald Rumsfield, Secretary of State, Colin Powell, US Trade Representative, Robert Zoellick, and other officials of the US congress and of the civil society, Benaissa said.
Talks will cover a wide range of issues of common concern pertaining to bilateral relations and political and strategic developments in the world, particularly in the Middle East and Africa, Benaissa said, adding that the Algerian-Moroccan conflict over the Sahara "will undoubtedly be studied with the US officials, given the impact the conflict has on the foundations and objectives of the Arab Maghreb Union."
"Africa, to which King Mohammed VI grants a major interest, as well as the challenges facing African peoples and the initiatives and projects concerning the promotion of development, stability and peace in the continent, such as the NEPAD project, will also be on the agenda of talks between King Mohammed VI and President Bush and with the key officials of the US administration," Benaissa said.
The sovereign was welcomed at the airport by head of the protocol of the United States, Donald Ensenet, and was later on greeted by the members of the Arab diplomatic corps accredited to Washington, led by their dean the ambassador of Saudi Arabia, Prince Bandar Ben Soltane.
The sovereign was also greeted by the two countries' ambassadors, by the heads of the various Moroccan representations in the United States, as well as by representatives of the Moroccan community settled in the US.
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