Mediterranean NATO assembly group meets Moroccan officials
Morocco-International, Politics, 4/30/1999
The visiting Mediterranean group of the assembly of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) conferred Thursday in Rabat with several Moroccan government members on Morocco's relations with NATO, the European Union and efforts to consolidate the rule of law.
The NATO Assembly Med-Group, led by Pedro Moya (Spain), met mainly with speaker of the Chamber of Advisors, Jallal Essaid, Interior Minister Driss Basri, and the minister in charge of the Maghreb, Arab and Islamic affairs, Abdesslam Znined.
During their separate talks with the NATO representatives, the Moroccan officials renewed Morocco's attachment to the UN settlement plan for the Sahara and called for the respect of the rights of all people of Sahrawi descent to participate in the referendum the UN is planning to hold in the Sahara.
They also underlined Morocco's attachment to the respect of human rights principles and recalled the major achievements made by the Kingdom in various sectors.
Morocco's political experience, multiparty system and efforts to combat illiteracy, unemployment, drain foreign investment, reform the administrative and educational sectors were also raised by the Moroccan officials in their talks with the NATO assembly delegates.
The Moroccan-NATO assembly talks dealt further with the technical and financial assistance needed by the Kingdom to modernize its economy in addition to the situation in the Balkans, NATO peace mission, Euro-Mediterranean partnership and Morocco's strategic role for the consolidation of peace and stability in the Mediterranean basin.
The NATO assembly Med-group, which arrived Wednesday in Morocco on a several-day information mission, is composed of MPs from eight countries: Spain, France, Italy, Norway, the Netherlands, Portugal and Turkey.
The NATO assembly Mediterranean group is an inter-parliamentary forum, composed of European and North American legislators to debate issues of common interest.
The assembly is completely independent of NATO but constitutes a link between national parliaments and the alliance, which encourages governments to take alliance concerns into account when framing national legislation. It also acts as a permanent reminder that intergovernmental decisions reached within NATO are ultimately dependent on political endorsement in accordance with the due constitutional process of democratically-elected parliaments.
Delegates to the North Atlantic assembly are nominated by their parliaments according to their national procedures on the basis of party representation in the parliaments. The assembly, therefore, represents a broad spectrum of political opinion. It comprises 188 parliamentarians, each country's delegation being mainly determined by the size of its population.
The assembly meets twice a year and functions through five committees (Political, Defense and Security, Economic, Scientific and Technical, and Civilian Affairs).
The committees study and examine all major contemporary issues arising in their respective fields of interest.
The primary purpose of the assembly is educative and consensus-building. The assembly also constitutes an important touchstone for assessing parliamentary and public opinion on alliance issues.
During the last three years, the assembly opened its doors to the parliaments of Central and Eastern Europe. A number of other countries also send delegations of parliamentary observers to meetings of the assembly, notably Japan, Australia and Morocco.
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