By Karima Rhanem | Morocco TIMES 7/15/2005 | 12:37 am
Rabat -- Mohamed Bouzouba‚, Moroccan Justice Minister, and Kim Howells, UK FCO minister, explored on Thursday, possibilities of reinforcing cooperation in the legal field between Morocco and the UK.
In a press briefing, Bouzouba‚ announced that the two parties have exchanged their views on bilateral cooperation for the fight against terrorism, particularly in the wake of the July 7 attacks, which struck the heart of London.
The minister added that the meeting was an opportunity to discuss the case of the Moroccan Mohamed El Guerbouzi, currently living in London.
He was convicted in absentia in Morocco in 2003 and sentenced to 20 years in prison in connection with the May 16 Casablanca bombings that killed 45 people.
Moroccan authorities had already required his extradition, but the British government refused because he is holding a British citizenship. Besides, there is no extradition treaty between the two countries.
The minister added that the two parties also decided to establish a joint technical commission to work on a general agreement in the legal field. The commission will meet soon in one of the two capitals.
In turn, the British minister, who started Wednesday a four day official visit to Morocco, said he is confident that Morocco will fully cooperate with the British government and authorities in the fight against terrorism.
Raising the extradition of Mohamed El Guerbouzi, the FCO minister indicated that the experts of the two countries are currently examining the means and the protocol of this extradition which must be carried out in total respect of human rights.
Kim Howells also held talks on Thursday with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Mohammed Benaissa; the Prime Minister, Driss Jettou; the Minister of Interior, Al Mostafa Sahel; and the Minister Delegate to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taib Fassi Fihri.
The British official also met the press on Thursday, in Rabat, during an informal brown bag lunch to discuss several issues related to the two countries from bilateral relations, terrorism to cultural cooperation. The meeting was also attended by a group of the British Chevening scholarship alumni.
Howells is chairing today the signature of a partnership agreement between the centre of young leaders and the British embassy in Rabat in support of young Moroccan entrepreneurs.