Morocco, Tunisia sign co-operation accords
Naoufel Charkaoui from Rabat to Magharebia – 09/04/09
The 15th session of the Moroccan-Tunisian high joint commission ended on Tuesday (April 7th) with the signing of three co-operation agreements and two executive programmes. The new accords cover education, renewable energy, tourism, science and technology,
"Morocco is intent on boosting bilateral relations with Tunisia, and is looking forward to increasing mutual trade exchange, which, despite recent growth, is still below the expectations of both sides, given their respective financial resources", said Moroccan Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi at the inauguration of the two-day session.
The first agreement consolidates bilateral co-operation in tourism through the establishment of a joint technical committee. The second accord boosts co-operation in the area of statistics between the Moroccan High Commissariat for Planning and the Tunisian Institute of Competitiveness and Quantitative Studies. The third agreement seeks to increase co-operation in science and technology, especially in the domain of renewable energy.
The two executive programmes, which will span two years (2009-2011), focus on co-operation in education and culture, as outlined in a 1964 agreement between the two countries. The education programme addresses the exchange of education-related books and scientific research. The cultural programme will increase the exchange of expertise in the field of historic monument restoration and museum management.
"Relations of co-operation between both countries are built on trust and honesty," said El Fassi, following the signing of the accords. "I hope we will continue to deepen consultations and co-ordination concerning major causes on the bilateral, regional, continental, and global levels."
Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi expressed his satisfaction, underlining "the importance of the private sector in enhancing mutual co-operation".
"The private sector needs to be bolder so as to make more use of the existing legal framework to generate investments and create joint projects, which would be a step along the way toward economic integrity and enhancing the powers of negotiations between both sides, especially within the framework of the Union for the Mediterranean."
Latifa Akharbach, Secretary of State at the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, stressed the importance of co-operation in creating "a Maghreb space where security, stability, and development flourish".
Akharbach further emphasized Morocco’s keenness in conforming to the Barcelona Process and the European Maghreb Dialogue (5+5).
Abdul Hafiz Hirkam, Tunisian Secretary of State in charge of Maghreb, Arab, and African affairs, noted that his country "is determined to activate Maghreb work through accelerating Maghreb integration and completing the institutional structure of the Union".
Tunisia is also committed "to finalizing the free trade exchange zone project, which has become indispensable in order to face current challenges, the most significant of which is the global financial crisis", he added.
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