Othmani Receives US Senator Western Sahara Tops Priorities

By Thomas DupaquierRabat – As his first official activity as Head of Government, El Othmani welcomed the US Senator William Thad Cochran to discuss the relationship between the US and Morocco. By hosting Cochran as his first guest, Prime Minister El Othmani clearly stated his will to work with the US on many critical international issues.Senator Cochran is the current senior United States Senator from Mississippi. He also acts as the president of a commission within the US Congress focusing on the different aspects of cooperation between the US and Morocco. He is on visit in Morocco as the head of a US delegation. Senator Cochran congratulated Prime Minister El Othmani for his appointment as the head of government and noted the strategic partnership linking the two countries in many domains. He also underlined the importance of Morocco for the preservation of security and stability in North Africa and praised Morocco’s initiatives to support the development of other African countries.Meanwhile, El Othmani commended the United States’ support for the proposal presented by the Kingdom to settle the Sahara issue. The US administration has reacted favorably to Morocco’s position, which could help advance a solution to the ongoing conflict.Further, Nasser Bourita, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation also held talks this Wednesday with Senator Cochran.The visit of Senator Cochran is very strategic for Morocco. Indeed, by hosting Mr. Cochran as his first guest, Prime Minister El Othmani clearly stated his will to work with the US on many critical international issues.Morocco is hoping to receive the support of the United States in the Western Sahara conflict.The US have previously claimed that the United Nations holds the legitimacy necessary to facilitate a lasting political solution to this conflict and will support such resolution. However, they have also noted that Morocco’s autonomy plan is serious, credible and realistic.” While the UN recently published its latest report, stating the need to bring the parties back to the negotiating table, the support of the US on such as issue would be huge.Finally, the visit of Senator Cochran also reminds us of the US’s recent electronic ban for all passenger on Royal Air Maroc flights to the US. The ban had put in question the relationship between the two countries, as it seemed discriminatory for the Moroccan company.This meeting confirmed the importance of Morocco as a strategic ally in the eyes of the US following the ban. Whether it will have any impact on the evolution of the ban remains unclear but there is hope that the new governments in both countries are willing to work together.