Morocco and the United States renewed the alliance between the two nations as a foundation stone for peace in Africa.
Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Morocco's Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita signed the defense cooperation road map in Rabat, Morocco. The road map charts cooperation between the two nations through 2030.
Morocco is one of America's oldest friends, recognizing the United States as it was still battling for independence in 1777.
The country remains a critical partner on a range of security issues. "Now more than ever, our two nations are working closely to tackle the challenges of an increasingly complex security environment ranging from counterterrorism and other transnational threats to regional instability and broader strategic challenges," Esper said. "We do this together to promote the security, the stability and the prosperity of our shared goals and our peoples."
The goal is to continually reinforce America's long-standing, steadfast commitment to Morocco and, by extension, to Africa, the secretary said.
Morocco is a major non-NATO ally, and the country's strategic location makes it a gateway to Africa. "Morocco is a country we have been friends with for many, many years, and I am confident that we will remain friends and strategic partners for generations to come," Esper said.
The discussion with a range of Moroccan leaders touched on many issues, including regional problems, economic issues and more, Esper said. All of the progress made in other areas is enabled by security. "We cannot accomplish this unless we also continue to advance peace and stability and security across the continent," he said. "We must do so by strengthening our defense partnerships with African governments."
The road map will allow the United States and Morocco to improve defense cooperation, partnerships and interoperability. One specific was the importance of Exercise African Lion, which draws participants from across the continent. "It is a key training and exercise event for many, many years, not just between the United States and Morocco," Esper said.