Amity treaty will boost Morocco ties, says envoy
Morocco's decision to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation (TAC) will enable the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to engage more fully with African and Arabic countries, its envoy said.
Moroccan Ambassador to Thailand Abdelilah el Housni said Morocco's accession to the TAC will also strengthen political and economic relations between Rabat, Bangkok and other Asean countries.
"When I first looked at the TAC, it was like a puzzle with an important piece missing. Japan, China, India, New Zealand, Australia, the United States and the European Union appeared, while Africa and Arab countries which play a key role in promoting peace were left out. But now we have completed the puzzle," Mr Housni told the Bangkok Post.
"We want Morocco to be more involved with Asia, especially Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar," he said.
Morocco's move was approved in late July at the Asean Foreign Ministers meeting in Vientiane. The regional grouping also backed the accession of Chile, Egypt and Iran to the Treaty, which was adopted in 1976 and underpins the peaceful settlement of disputes and non-interference in domestic affairs for bloc members and signatories. The move also reflects the His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco's efforts to diversify Morocco's partnership with Asia, said the envoy.
The Moroccan government was also keen to boost its economic ties with the 10 Asean member states as its accession to the TAC was bound to increase the Moroccan private sector's interest in the region.
In the first six months of this year, Thailand exported goods to Morocco worth US$57 million almost 2 billion baht), while goods imported from Morocco, including processed seafood and garments, were worth US$36 million.
Key exports to Morocco included car components, machinery and parts, air conditioners and rubber goods.
"We have also noticed a great interest by some Thai investors in Morocco's hotel industry, for example, the Anantara Hotel,'' Mr Housni said.
He saw the potential for joint tourism development with Thailand. "In the past two years, tourist flows in both directions increased. Tourism is the best way to let our people understand each other. It will help people, regardless of their differences, stand up for each other against any challenge, including terrorist threats," he said.
Areas of cooperation which could be strengthened further between the countries include fisheries, agriculture, auto industry, food security and water management. "Thailand is Morocco's best friend, but the extent of our present cooperation does not match our excellent relations. We'll have to work on it," Mr Housni said.