Minister BISHOP I am delighted to have had this opportunity to meet with Minister Mezouar and I congratulated him on the leadership that Morocco has shown at COP22. We were particularly honoured by the presence of the King and we believe that Morocco has done a magnificent job in hosting this conference and we look forward to its successful conclusion.
The Minister and I also discussed the bilateral relationship between Australia and Morocco, and we have many common interests, and many shared values, and we face common threats, but we also see some great opportunities for our two countries to work together.
I am delighted to announce that Australia intends to open an Embassy in Rabat, the capital of Morocco, because we see the potential for this relationship to broaden and deepen.
We will work together on improving our economic relationship and see great potential for further trade and investment, particularly in the areas of energy – and I acknowledge Morocco’s commitment to renewable energy – and resources, mining, agriculture, health, tourism.
We hope that the new Embassy will be the beginning of a new era in Australian-Moroccan relationships.
We are aware that Australians are very keen travellers 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 the number of Australians travelling to Morocco increase, and likewise we hope to see more Moroccans travelling to Australia.
We also discussed the challenge of terrorism, the conflicts in the Middle East, and how that impacts on our respective countries, and we have vowed to work more closely together to counter terrorism and the threat it poses regionally but also to both our countries.
So it was a very productive discussion and I look forward to working closely with the Minister as we work towards the establishment 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 meet Minister Bishop. We discussed the topics she just mentioned. We thanked Minister Bishop for her presence but also for Australia's support ensuring that COP22 will be a success.
We also thanked Australia for its support to the Marrakesh proclamation that will confirm the commitment of the international community for (inaudible) action. Marrakech is the COP of action and it is necessary that the whole international community supports this turning point that we are taking for the climate and the fight against climate change.
We were pleased that Australia announced the opening of an Embassy in Morocco. Australia has done an important choice in a region that it considers to be important for the future. Australia mostly wishes to reinforce the strategic partnership relations that we have in all fields: agriculture and natural resources, energy and particularly renewable energy, tourism, health but also other services including financial services.
I think this new partnership, this new dynamic we are setting, but also this willingness to work together will pave the way to new relations between our two countries. The political dialogue will be maintained; we have excellent political relations. We will now structure permanent political ties. We know how important it is in international and bilateral relations to structure and reinforce this aspect.
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