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Morocco: monthly report April 2024

France seeks to bolster its relations with the Alawi kingdom. Across the last month, Rabat hosted the French ministers of Commerce, Interior and Finance, while foreign minister Stephane Sejourné welcomed his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, in Paris. In the last few weeks, France and Morocco signed a memorandum on agriculture as well as a 134-million-euro agreement on education. France also greenlit the transfer of 30 2000-9E fighter aircraft from Morocco to the United Arab Emirates. The deals mirror France’s attempt to strengthen ties frayed by colonial legacies as well as by France’s parallel outreach to Algeria.

Rabat looks to Europe. Morocco and Belgium inked a memorandum of understanding on political dialogue, as well as two agreements for cooperation in the fields of energy and justice, as Belgian prime minister Alexander de Croo met with both king Mohamed VI and prime minister Akhannouch on the sidelines of the Moroccan-Belgian Joint Commission. De Croo also stated Belgium’s continued support for the Moroccan autonomy plan on the Western Sahara region and discussed counter-terrorism cooperation with Moroccan minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Laftit. In the same days, Akhannouch met with Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán, who was attending the Centrist Democrat International convention in Marrakesh: the meeting focused on migration and border security.

Finally, Morocco strengthens its armed forces. According to the US Department of Defense, Lockheed Martin signed a 33-million-dollar agreement to upgrade and maintain Moroccan F-16s. The kingdom acquired 25 F-16 Lockheed aircraft in 2021 for 3,8 billion dollars. In November 2023, Morocco also acquired the Viper Shield electronic system from L3 Harris to enhance their performance. In the past few weeks, moreover, the Department approved the potential 260-million-dollar sale of 612 Javelin FGM 148-F and 200 Javelin Lightweight units. Despite the Gaza crisis, the kingdom also pursues military cooperation with Israel, as BlueBird CEO Ronen Nadir announced the launch of a drone production factory in Morocco. The Israeli company, which is 50% owned by Israel Aerospace Industries, specializes in producing UAV systems and has already sold Morocco batches of ThunderB, WanderB and SpyX drones. According to Nadir, the facility is already completed and will become operational “in the near future”.

Download the April 2024 report

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