The Ambassador of the Kingdom of Morocco, El Houcine Fardani, discusses ties with Viet Nam in the lead up to his country's National Day today.
What has been achieved in the past year of bilateral relations between Viet Nam and Morocco?
Bilateral relations between Morocco and Viet Nam have been going on since the opening of embassies in Rabat and Ha Noi. There have been exchanges of high-ranking visits at government, parliamentary and party levels, plus intense activity of parliamentary diplomacy has strengthened political relations between the two countries. A National Assembly Vice Chairman and the NA Economic Affairs Committee chairman visited Morocco in July and December last year, respectively, holding discussions with officials of the Moroccan parliament and government on ways to further develop the relations between our two countries.
Co-operation between political parties of the two countries is also developing, contributing to the deepening of mutual understanding between our peoples. In this regard, we witnessed the visit in May to Morocco of a Communist Party of Viet Nam delegation to attend the 8th National Congress of the Progress and Socialism Party, the second such visit to Morocco in two years.
Ambassador El Houcine Fardani
Commercial exchanges between Viet Nam and Morocco have grown steadily, despite the global economic crisis. This year, a meeting between the Office Cherifien des Phosphates and PetroVietnam took place in the framework of negotiations to enter a joint venture to build a diammonium phosphate plant in Morocco, with an estimated annual output of 700,000 to 1 million tonnes a year.
In education, Morocco has granted 10 scholarships to Vietnamese students for 2009-10 and 2010-11. In the first year, three students benefited and are enrolled to obtain an economics and management degree from the Law, Economics and Social Sciences University in Rabat. The Vietnamese Government granted 10 scholarships to Moroccan students for the academic year 2010-11. This educational co-operation will contribute to a fruitful exchange between the two countries' cultures and peoples.
Camel riders race in the fourth edition of the Dakla festival in the Morrocan desert. — AFP/VNS Photo
What are the priorities in co-operation between Viet Nam and Morocco?
Besides the remarkable achievements in the political field, we are confident there are promising prospects for economic co-operation and trade exchanges between Morocco and Viet Nam.
Two important events will mark next year and be an opportunity for both officials and businesses of the two countries to strengthen and widen their scope of co-operation.
It will mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Morocco and Viet Nam. Cultural activities will accompany the celebration of this event in Ha Noi and Rabat, which will be an opportunity to present to the Moroccan and Vietnamese public aspects of the other's culture and history.
During the year, the Joint Committee for Co-operation will hold its second session in Ha Noi, an opportunity for political officials and economic sectors of the two countries to take stock of the achievements so far and to examine ways to further enhance their economic and cultural co-operation. Political consultation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the two countries will take place on the sideline of this meeting.
In this regard, a draft agreement on encouragement and protection of investments is under negotiation between the relevant authorities of the two countries. It is hoped that it will be finalised and signed on the sidelines of the meeting of the Joint Committee.
Morocco at glance
Official name: Kingdom of Morocco
Population: 30 million
Currency: Dirham (DH)
National flag: Red with a green star in the centre
Also, two visits of different levels are to take place. A ministerial delegation will attend the 2nd International Viet Nam-Africa Forum between August 17 and 19 this year. It will be an opportunity for the two countries to examine ways to boost their bilateral co-operation as well as co-operation between Viet Nam and Africa, where Morocco enjoys extensive economic ties. The other visit will be undertaken from August 2 to 6 2010 by the Moroccan High Commissioner for Veterans and Former Members of the Liberation Army, at the invitation of the President of the Association of Viet Nam Veterans.
Morocco has a coastline of more than 3,500km, which is ideal for developing aquaculture. How can the two countries co-operate in this field? How can Vietnamese businesses seek opportunities of co-operation with Moroccan partners?
During the first session of the Joint Committee for Co-operation held in March 2008 in Rabat, the two parties identified maritime fisheries and aquaculture among major sectors that had a large potential for establishing partnerships.
Indeed, Morocco's marine fisheries sector occupies a prominent place in the country's economy and contributes significantly to food security of the population.
In this context, Morocco has signed many agreements, protocols and memoranda of understanding with different countries, including Viet Nam, to promote co-operation in the fields of science and technology, maritime training, upgrading and marketing of seafood products, management and control of fishing activities and partnerships between fishing industries.
Aquaculture has a high potential for development in Morocco. In this market, efforts are presently concentrated to determine the potential of aquaculture sites, diversify farmed species, promote farming techniques and improve the institutional environment of this activity in order to encourage investments. Morocco can benefit from the experience and know-how of Viet Nam in this area.
Viet Nam and Morocco have different cultures. What activities have you undertaken to boost mutual understanding?
Since the opening of the Moroccan Embassy in Ha Noi in 2006, we have been trying to promote cultural exchanges between our two countries.
As I mentioned before, cultural activities will accompany the anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the past four years, the embassy has participated in various cultural activities in the framework of the International Francophonie Day, during which we showed films of Morocco to a wide public. Also, the embassy took part in the Cultural Diplomacy Year 2009, initiated by the Vietnamese Government. — VNS