By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 12/20/2005 | 5:12 pm
Rabat---Deputy Chief of Mission at the US embassy in Rabat Wayne J. Bush said on Monday that Washington encourages both Morocco and Algeria to improve bilateral relations for the stability of the Maghreb region.
Speaking at an international conference held in Rabat on Arab-US relations through the media, Wayne Bush said the US supports a peaceful solution, through the United Nations, to the three-decade war over the disputed-land of the Sahara that opposes Morocco to the Algerian-backed Polisario.
Wayne J. Bush recalled that bilateral relations between Morocco and the US have enjoyed a certain dynamism in the last few years and that the US is highly inspired by Morocco's recent reforms.
He added that the US has reviewed ways to reinforce cooperation with Morocco, especially after the 9/11 and May 16 terrorist attacks.
“Morocco is an ally. Our countries have reinforced cooperation to face our common enemy: terrorism," J. Bush said.
The US official recalled what the US has done to reinforce economic and military cooperation with Morocco after May 16 attacks.
“Following May 16, the US quadrupled its economic assistance to Morocco, doubled bilateral military cooperation, declared Morocco "as being a major non-NATO ally", concluded a Free Trade Agreement which will enter into force in January, and made Morocco eligible for the Millennium challenge Account which aims at fighting poverty through economic growth,” Wayne J. Bush explained.
The US diplomat added that US-Morocco relations were punctuated by a series of high level visits between both countries who have shared values and a common commitment and need to fight terrorism, promote the expansion of democracy and cooperate to address regional conflicts.
He also expressed his country's satisfaction with Morocco's commitment to reforms.
Morocco has made major reforms during the past 3 years including the Family Code, Press Code, Labour Law, Terrorism Law, Political Parties Law, incriminating torture, and the most recent one, the Intellectual and Industrial property Code.
Morocco did not only focus on internal reforms, he said, but also played a leading role and supported reforms in the region by hosting the first Forum for the Future. He added that Morocco followed its commitment in cooperation with the US to implement projects such as the Forum for the Future, and most importantly, the Fund for the Future to support small and media enterprises.
Echoing Wayne J. Bush, Moroccan Minister of Communication and Government Spokesperson Nabil Benabdellah said that the US media should know about the Moroccan experience as a leader of reforms in the region. He added that these reforms were not imposed by any foreign country, but were rather a result of Morocco's will and choice take the path of modernization, change and democracy.
“We have launched reforms, opened up to the world, and initiated change. It is true that we have still a long