Visiting Moroccan premier meets French peer
Morocco-France, Politics, 10/2/1998
Moroccan Prime Minister Abderrahmane Youssoufi held in Paris on Thursday a first round of tete-a-tete talks with his French peer, Lionel Jospin, before extending the session to the two countries' delegations.
The prime minister was also the guest as a diner hosted in his honor by Jospin, who praised the appointment of a former opposition leader as prime minister as "a model." He also described Youssoufi's appointment (last March) as the crowning of a "wise and resolved" policy.
The French prime minister added that relations between the two countries have never been as intensive, as illustrated by the exchange of visits since French president Jacques Chirac visited Morocco in 1995 and King Hassan II visited France in the following year. He went on that this exchange of visits has yielded fruits, including progress in the development of Morocco's northern provinces, a creative handling of Morocco's debt and the increase in the value of trade exchange.
The French prime minister, however, noted that restrictions to travel between the two countries (resulting from restrictive French visa-delivery procedures) are a worrying problem, in view of the two countries' proximity and size of exchanges. He added that the French authorities are contemplating a new visa-issuing policy that would respect human dignity.
For his part, Morocco's prime minister said the two Mediterranean countries have duties in the Euro-Mediterranean partnership project, as Morocco is convinced that strong development gaps between the northern and southern banks of the Mediterranean are affecting peace and stability in the region. He added that only a settlement of the causes can contribute to building a region of shared prosperity.
On the same day, the Moroccan official was received by French President Jacques Chirac, to whom he conveyed a message from King Hassan II.
Following the meeting with Chirac, Youssoufi described his talks with Chirac, "a friend of Morocco," as "very positive."
French sources said Chirac expressed the admiration of France, Europe and the world for ongoing economic and political changes in Morocco
Talks covered the issue of Morocco's debt and the French president reassured Morocco that all French authorities were keen on reaching a "positive result as soon as possible"
Several other regional and international issues were covered, mainly the situation in the Middle East.
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