Monday, July 24

Kerry to visit Morocco early November

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US Secretary of State will visit North African country for first time since being appointed chief US diplomat.
Middle East Online

First visit to Morocco as US Secretary of State

RABAT – US Secretary of State John Kerry is to visit Morocco in early November during a tour of the Maghreb region, a diplomatic source said on Thursday.

Kerry’s first visit to the North African country since being appointed chief US diplomat will take place on November 7 and 8, the source said, requesting anonymity.

The Moroccan government’s spokesman, Mustapha Khalfi, refused to confirm or comment on the visit.

In neighbouring Algeria, Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, cited by official media, said Kerry would travel to Algiers in early November but without giving specific dates.

Washington has historic ties with Morocco, which was an important regional ally in former US president George Bush’s “war on terror.”

But the relationship has not been without hitches this year, notably over the Western Sahara.

In April Morocco cancelled annual joint military exercises after angrily rejecting a US proposal to task the UN peacekeeping force in the disputed territory with a human rights monitoring mandate.

Separately the US State Department expressed concern earlier this month over Morocco’s decision to charge a journalist with aiding “terrorism” after he posted a link to an Al-Qaeda video.

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