Moroccan foreign minister winds up visit to France
Morocco-France, Politics, 5/13/1999
Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Mohamed Benaissa wound up on Wednesday a two-day working visit to France, during which he met with President Jacques Chirac, Foreign Minister Hubert Vedrine, and other French officials, MAP reported.
Benaissa told MAP's bureau in Paris that his visit to France, the first since his appointment as Morocco's minister of foreign affairs and cooperation last April 8, took place in a warm atmosphere of friendship. He said all his interlocutors expressed resolve to consolidate further Moroccan-French cooperation within the frame of a partnership up to the shared history between the two peoples and countries.
The French side pledged to back Morocco within the G-7 of industrialized countries to alleviate the burden of external debt, especially through raising the ceiling of debt that can be converted into investments. This ceiling is now set by the "club de Paris" at 20% of debts, Benaissa said.
France has also agreed to lower the constraints and to render more flexible the conditions for granting French assistance to development.
The two sides convened to explore new ways to increase the volume of French investments in Morocco and to consolidate cooperation between Morocco and the European Union.
It has also been decided to revise the convention on cultural, scientific and technical cooperation signed in 1984 to adapt it to the new requirements.
In this regard, French Minister of Cooperation Charles Josselin, will visit Morocco next June 18-19 to co-chair with Benaissa the meeting of the Moroccan-French standing committee on cultural, scientific and technical cooperation.
In a bid to involve the civil society and non-governmental organizations in Moroccan-French partnership, it has been decided to hold a colloquy to open dialogue between opinion-makers in Morocco and France. The colloquy to gather the intelligentsia of the two countries is meant to correct up stereotypes and preconceived ideas.
Besides the one-hour meeting with the French president and the meeting with the foreign minister, Benaissa also conferred with the ministers of cooperation and culture, as well as with the chairmen of the foreign affairs committees at the national assembly and at the senate.
Talks covered, besides bilateral relations, the latest developments of the Sahara issue, the Middle East peace process, the situation in the Maghreb and a set of other topical regional and international issues.
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