Secretary Michael R. Pompeo and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita at the Signing of Enhanced Immunities Agreement With Morocco
SEPTEMBER 1, 2020
FOREIGN MINISTER BOURITA: Mr. Secretary of State and dear friends, I’m delighted to see you again and all together at this virtual bilateral event. It was a real pleasure of seeing you, sir, on your last visit to Rabat last December, and would have liked to welcome you again if not for the ongoing pandemic. Yet while the world has changed so much since we last met, our event today proves once again the strength and resilience of our ties.
Mr. Secretary, the rich history of relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the United States of America is unique. It is as old as America itself. We’d like to remind ourselves and the world that Morocco was the first to recognize the United States of America in 1777. In 1786, Morocco and the U.S. formalized their relations through a treaty of peace and friendship. These two values, peace and friendship, remain at the core of our relationship.
The drafters of that treaty, Sultan Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah from the Moroccan side, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson from the U.S. side, envisioned this treaty with a triple sense: A sense of geography because we are neighbors, Mr. Secretary, despite the 6,000-kilometer large ocean between our shores. A sense of geostrategy. The decision of King Sidi Muhammad ibn Abdallah, was not a gamble; it was a strategic move. And a sense of trust; it was also proof of confidence and belief in America’s great destiny.
Since then, Mr. Secretary, Morocco and the United States have always stood together on the right side of history, be it during the major events that marks the 20th century or in supporting the noble values of peace and coexistence. Today, more than ever, our nations continue to work together closely to tackle the various challenges of the 21st century and to promote the security, stability, and shared prosperity of our people. His Majesty King Mohammed VI choose to honor the peace and friendship pact since two and a half centuries ago by making it rich and all-time higher level of a genuine alliance and a real partnership.
Over the years, Morocco and U.S. have been successful in setting up efficient instruments and innovative tools of cooperation across all sectors, such as the FTA, the only one the U.S. has with an African country; two consecutive MCC compacts; and the U.S.-Morocco Strategic Dialogue, whose framework allows us to conduct regular high-level consultations on bilateral, regional, and international issues. In particular, our defense and security cooperation is a beacon of excellence, as reflected by Morocco’s status of U.S. major non-NATO ally and our successful cooperation in the fight against terrorism and violent extremism worldwide.
Mr. Secretary, today’s signing ceremony over bilateral agreements on enhanced privileges and immunities extended to the consular corps is a proof that our steadfast alliance continues to grow and prosper. By reciprocally extending more favorable privileges and immunities to our consular posts than those currently enjoyed under the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations we concretely demonstrates the high level of trust and confidence (inaudible) between our two countries.
This agreement will allow us to better support the important work carried out by our respective consular officers in service to our citizens abroad, and it will also accompany our expanding cooperation in this area. Just as we concurred in laying the first bricks of that – of what will become the international diplomatic law, we concur today in modernizing it. The building of the new U.S. general consulate in Casablanca will further the regional outreach of America’s historic presence in Morocco. These developments could not be timelier as we are celebrating this year – next year the 200-year anniversary of American legation in Tangier, the first and oldest U.S. diplomatic property in the world and a lasting testimony of our time-honored friendship.
Mr. Secretary, once again our history is a constant reminder of the exceptional nature of our diplomatic ties. Today we confirm, if need be, that our commitment to the Moroccan-American alliance is as vibrant and promising as ever. As we look to tomorrow, we see a greater potential that will allow our cooperation to strengthen and diversify, and whose future success is ensured by the firm commitment of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to pursue the legacy of his forefathers and innovate our strategic partnership to even greater, greater heights. Thank you, Mr. Secretary. (Applause.)
SECRETARY POMPEO: Nasser, thank you. Mr. Minister, it’s great to see you again today. Sorry we couldn’t do this in person. Great to be here along with Ambassadors Fischer and Khales. Thank you for hosting me on my visit to Morocco last December. It seems like a long time ago. You greeted me with tremendous warmth and generosity, and I appreciate that. Before we discuss the wonderful agreement we’ll sign today, I want to note how our ties have grown under the Trump administration. We’ve expanded our strategic partnership with the U.S.-Morocco Free Trade Agreement, strengthened security cooperation, and stepped up joint efforts to promote religious tolerance and freedom.
Your government has stood with us in support of the legitimate government of Juan Guaido in Venezuela, and worked with us to find more opportunities for U.S. businesses in Morocco. We’re very grateful for your partnership. Our close ties, as you said, should come as no surprise. Morocco and the United States are the oldest of friends – first nation to recognize us in December of 19 – excuse me, 1777. Shortly after, our nations signed the Peace and Friendship Treaty in 1787, now the longest standing treaty in U.S. history. We remember, too, the kindness of the Sultan Suleiman giving the legation building in Tangiers to the United States. It’s our oldest diplomatic property celebrating, as you said, 200 years just next year, and our only national historic landmark that is outside of the United States of America.
Today, our countries write another great entry into our diplomatic history books. Thank you for working with us on this Enhanced Immunities Agreement, crafted with the support of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. Our nations’ consular staffs deserve the same privileges and protections that our embassy staffs enjoy. This agreement provides those good things. This accord also reflects the incredible service our teams have performed this year. More than 200 years after Americans sent the first U.S. consul to Morocco to help protect U.S. vessels passing through Gibraltar, American diplomats continue to serve our nation’s citizens there.
I’m extremely proud of our team at the U.S. consulate in Casablanca who organized the repatriation of more than 2700 American citizens on 16 flights this spring and summer. We’re grateful too for the assistance of our Moroccan friends in that noble mission. You all were just great. This agreement, along with the new consulate we’ll begin constructing in Casablanca later this year, is a statement of how much our two nations value the safety and morale of our teams and their families. It’s another achievement in our long history of friendship, which, God willing, will continue long into the future. Thank you.
MS ORTAGUS: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Now, U.S. Ambassador to Morocco David Fischer and Ambassador Khales will sign and exchange the Enhanced Immunities Agreement. This agreement extends immunities accorded to embassy personnel under the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations to consular officers and employees working at the U.S. Consulate General Casablanca and Moroccan Consulate General New York. The U.S.-Moroccan Enhanced Immunities Agreement is the first of its kind between the United States and an African nation.
(The agreement is signed.)
MS ORTAGUS: Well, thank you, Mr. Minister, Mr. Secretary, Ambassadors Fischer and Khales, for your participation today.
SECRETARY POMPEO: Thank you, everyone. Thank you, ambassadors. Well done.