Media doorstop with Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Salaheddine Mezouar

  • Transcript, E&OE

Minister BISHOP I amdelighted to have had this opportunity to meet with Minister Mezouar and Icongratulated him on the leadership that Morocco has shown at COP22. We wereparticularly honoured by the presence of the King and we believe that Moroccohas done a magnificent job in hosting this conference and we look forward toits successful conclusion.

The Minister and I also discussed the bilateralrelationship between Australia and Morocco, and we have many common interests,and many shared values, and we face common threats, but we also see some greatopportunities for our two countries to work together.

I am delighted to announce that Australia intendsto open an Embassy in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, because we see thepotential for this relationship to broaden and deepen.

We will work together on improving our economicrelationship and see great potential for further trade and investment,particularly in the areas of energy – and I acknowledge Morocco's commitment torenewable energy – and resources, mining, agriculture, health, tourism.

We hope that the new Embassy will be the beginningof a new era in Australian-Moroccan relationships.

We are aware that Australians are very keentravellers and I know that at least 30000 Australians visit Marrakesh every year,and we feel sure that with a diplomatic presence in Rabat we will see thenumber of Australians travelling to Morocco increase, and likewise we hope tosee more Moroccans travelling to Australia.

We also discussed the challenge of terrorism, the conflicts in theMiddle East, and how that impacts on our respective countries, and we havevowed to work more closely together to counter terrorism and the threat itposes regionally but also to both our countries.

So it was a very productive discussion and I lookforward to working closely with the Minister as we work towards theestablishment of an Australian presence in Rabat.

We see Morocco as the crossroads between Africa,Europe and beyond and it's very important for us to have a presence here.

Minister MZEOUAR (Translated from French) I was delighted to meetMinister Bishop. We discussed the topics she just mentioned. We thankedMinister Bishop for her presence but also for Australia's support ensuring thatCOP22 will be a success.

We also thanked Australia for its support to the Marrakesh proclamationthat will confirm the commitment of the international community for (inaudible)action. Marrakech is the COP of action and it is necessary that the wholeinternational community supports this turning point that we are taking for theclimate and the fight against climate change.

We were pleased that Australia announced the opening of an Embassy inMorocco. Australia has done an important choice in a region that it considersto be important for the future. Australia mostly wishes to reinforce thestrategic partnership relations that we have in all fields: agriculture andnatural resources, energy and particularly renewable energy, tourism, health butalso other services including financial services.

I think this new partnership, this new dynamic we are setting, but alsothis willingness to work together will pave the way to new relations betweenour two countries. The political dialogue will be maintained; we have excellentpolitical relations. We will now structure permanent political ties. We knowhow important it is in international and bilateral relations to structure andreinforce this aspect.

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