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Morocco and Bulgaria Determined to Strengthen Relations and Establish partnerships commensurate with Their Ambitions

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel paid a working visit to the Kingdom of Morocco on Wednesday and Thursday (10 and 11 January).

The visit is at the invitation of the country's Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation, and Moroccan Expatriates of Morocco Nasser Bourita. It takes place in the context of the traditionally good bilateral relations between Bulgaria and Morocco and aims at deepening cooperation with this important EU and NATO partner in North Africa.

During a joint press briefing with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mariya Gabriel, following their talks on Wednesday in Rabat, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, said that Morocco considers Bulgaria, following the vision of HM King Mohammed VI, a key player in the stability of the Balkan region and the strengthening of relations between the Kingdom and the European Union (EU).

Mr. Bourita said that Bulgaria's top diplomat's visit was a success in terms of its timing, content, and the decisions taken on this occasion, stressing that this visit will be a landmark moment in developing relations between the two countries at the bilateral level or within the framework of relations with the EU.

Morocco sees Bulgaria, he added, as an influential member in the development of relations with the EU and neighboring countries, particularly those on the southern shore of the Mediterranean.

According to Bourita, this is an important event, as it is the first visit by a Bulgarian Foreign Minister to Morocco in a decade, and the first of its kind for the Bulgarian minister in Africa and the Arab world, underlining that "the choice of Morocco reflects the strength and importance of relations between the two countries."

The Minister also expressed his thanks to Bulgaria for "its constructive stance on the Moroccan Sahara issue and its positive reference" to the Moroccan autonomy initiative as a basis for resolving this regional dispute within the UN framework, stressing that "Bulgaria thus becomes the 15th European Union country to join this dynamic, which confirms the positive momentum that the issue of the Kingdom's territorial integrity is experiencing, in line with the High Guidance of HM King Mohammed VI.”

Bourita also recalled that the Kingdom and Bulgaria had signed two cooperation agreements in the fields of cinema, culture, and youth, in addition to the Joint Declaration which confirms the new spirit that should mark bilateral relations, noting that this declaration includes the positions of both countries to develop these relations, as well as regional issues.

The Minister also said that talks with Mariya Gabriel had also focused on ways of strengthening relations in the consular field, noting that it had been agreed to set up a joint consular commission soon to deal with human exchanges and the fight against the mafias of human trafficking and illegal migration, two issues which Morocco treats with a high sense of responsibility.

For its part, the Republic of Bulgaria commended the far-reaching reforms undertaken by the Kingdom under the leadership of His Majesty the King, as well as the continued efforts made to ensure political, economic, and social development.

In the Joint Declaration signed by the two countries, the Bulgarian Minister also welcomed the New Development Model adopted by Morocco.

Bulgaria considers the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative as a ‘serious and credible’ basis for resolving this conflict

Bulgaria hailed the Kingdom's "serious and credible efforts" to settle the Moroccan Sahara issue, considering the Moroccan autonomy initiative to be a "serious and credible basis" for resolving the conflict.

This position was expressed in the Joint Statement adopted in Rabat by Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccan Expatriates, Nasser Bourita, and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mariya Gabriel.

In the Joint Statement, Bulgaria reiterated its support for efforts under the auspices of the United Nations to find a just, pragmatic, lasting, and mutually acceptable political solution to the Sahara conflict.

Both sides also affirmed their support for the efforts of the UN Secretary-General's Personal Envoy, Staffan de Mistura, to bring the parties to the negotiating table and move the political process forward.

The Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the fact that Bulgaria is the 15th EU member state to join the dynamic of positive support for the Moroccan position on the Sahara confirms the good diplomatic progress maintained by the Moroccan kingdom on the important question of its territorial integrity. In this way, the Moroccan diplomatic representative pointed out that the North African nation values the "constructive" position of the Republic of Bulgaria on the question of the Sahara.

Bulgaria Welcomes Development of Bulgaria-Morocco Relations

Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel welcomed the development of Bulgaria-Morocco relations and bilateral cooperation, especially in the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking.

She noted that Bulgaria and Morocco have maintained friendly relations for a long time. We should fully develop the potential of our relations, Gabriel stressed, adding that she welcomes the reactivation of economic cooperation with Morocco, which she said has great potential.

Gabriel emphasized the bilateral cooperation in the fight against illegal migration in the framework of the more global EU-Morocco cooperation, which has important regional and international significance. Bulgaria and Morocco are stability factors in their regions, she further said.

Before the press conference, the foreign ministers of Bulgaria and Morocco signed three bilateral documents: a joint political declaration, an agreement on film production and exchange, and a program for cooperation in education, research, culture, communication, youth, and sport for the period 2024-2026.

Gabriel welcomed the role of these documents in enabling Bulgaria and Morocco to fully develop the potential of their relations. Following the film production and exchange agreement, each of the two countries will hold a Cinema Week devoted to the other country, she added.

Information Centre for Bulgarian Higher Education inaugurated in Rabat

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel opened on Wednesday an Information Centre for Bulgarian Higher Education in Rabat.

The Information Centre will provide preliminary information on study opportunities at higher education institutions in Bulgaria. The opening was attended by the chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Education and Science, Krasimir Velchev, representatives of the Bulgarian Ministry of Education and Science, rectors, and directors from nine Bulgarian universities from across the country. Among them are Sofia University Rector Prof. Georgi Valchev, Burgas University Rector Hristo Bozov and Thracian University Rector Prof. Dobri Yarkov, and representatives of the management of the National Sports Academy, the Medical University in Plovdiv and the University of Architecture, Civil Engineering and Geodesy.

In June 2024, a similar center will be opened in Bulgaria, which will present the opportunities offered by higher education institutions in Morocco, Gabriel said at the ceremony.



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