Morocco intensifies Caribbean diplomacy

By Ray Chickrie
Caribbean News Now contributor

RABAT, Morocco — The Kingdom of Morocco, which has been affected very little by the Arab Spring, wants to expand ties with the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and last week appointed two ambassadors to the region. Larbi Moukharik has been appointed ambassador to Brazil and Suriname. He will be based in Brazil, while Mohamed Benjilani, has been appointed ambassador to St Lucia, Dominica, Trinidad and Tobago, St Kitts and Nevis and St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Moroccan delegation was recently on a Caribbean tour that included stops in St Kitts and Nevis, Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada. It was reported that during the visit to Castries, the two countries agreed to finalise plans to open a Moroccan embassy in St Lucia.

Morocco is currently partnering with the government of Dominica on the construction of the Cabrits hotel.

Some years ago Suriname and Morocco were supposed to sign three bilateral agreements in the area of trade, tourism and visa abolition for diplomats but, according to the previous Moroccan ambassador to Suriname, Mohammed Louafa, the former government of Suriname headed by Ronald Venetiaan did not pursue the agreements. However, the current government has shown interest and favours these agreements.

Morocco has appointed an Honorary Consul in Suriname who has visited Morocco at the invitation of Rabat. The two countries want to promote trade and commence and cooperation on international issues via their common membership in the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the United Nations.

Guyana and CARICOM’s recognition of Western Sahara as an independent state has angered Morocco for decades. Morocco considers Western Sahara its territory and has occupied the region since Spain ended its colonization of the area.

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