By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 2/9/2006 | 4:06 pm
The US Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfield is expected in Marrakech (southern Morocco) on Sunday to discuss ways of reinforcing military cooperation between Morocco and the United States, AFP news agency reported.
Rumsfield and a US military delegation will be received by HM King Mohammed VI to discuss the situation in the Arab world, mainly in Iraq and the Maghreb. Bilateral military cooperation and the war on terrorism will be also the focus of his discussions with the Moroccan Sovereign, said AFP.
His visit comes after that of the FBI director Robert Mueller who paid a two-day visit to Morocco this week.
In an exclusive interview with Groupe Maroc Soir, the FBI head said that the US and Maghreb countries have to work closely together to exchange information to prevent attacks and criminals from preying on our people. Therefore, associations and friendships between our countries are exceptionally important.
In his meeting with King Mohammed VI, Mueller stressed that the War on Terrorism addresses certainly those few individuals who would undertake terrorist attacks. But, he said “we also have to work with the social structure, developing the jobs and opportunities that King Mohammed VI has in his vision over the last several years.”
Mueller also met with his Moroccan security counterpart and discussed ways in which they continue to cooperate together in the area of exchanging expertise on fingerprints, fingerprint databases, on giving assistance and developing a DNA database structure so that in the future they can exchange these forensic tools and be able to address these terrorism threats.
Rumsfield's visit coincides with the handing over to the Moroccan authorities of three Moroccans, formerly detained in the American Base in Guantanamo Bay. Najib Lahssini, Mohamed Souleimani Laalami and Mohamed Ouali are now under the supervision of the General Prosecutor of Casablanca.
Last August, five Moroccan Guantanamo detainees were transferred to Morocco by American authorities after they were arrested by the US military in Afghanistan.
Morocco, a strong US ally in the region, has clamped down on suspected cells of Islamic radicals since 2003, when multiple bombings in the country's business capital Casablanca killed 45 people and shocked the normally peaceful country.