Russian Foreign Minister to Visit Morocco Discuss Regional Issues

Rabat – During a four-day official visit, Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will fly to Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia January 23-26.According to Lavrov’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, the Russian minister will hold “meetings with representatives of the countries’ top leadership as well as talks with the foreign ministers.”The officials will discuss bilateral relations and share opinions “on key issues of the regional and international situation,” Russian news agency Tass quoted Zakharova as saying on Wednesday. The three Maghreb countries “pursue an active foreign policy, make a substantial contribution to multilateral efforts towards finding the answers to new challenges and threats, including global ones,” Zakharova explained.Read Also: Morocco Removes Customs Duty on Russian GrainThe spokeswoman noted that Russia has interests in increasing cooperation with the three Maghreb countries. Through the talks, Russia will also focus on coordinating “on the settlement of the problems existing in the Middle East and North Africa, as well as the Sahara-Sahel region,” she added.Morocco and Russia enjoy good relations which go back to the late 1950s. The last meeting between Lavrov and Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita took place in September last year at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly.Growing economic relations between Russia and MoroccoTrade between the two countries has increased in recent years. The volume of trade increased from approximately $200 million in 2001 to $2.5 billion in 2015.However, in the first seven months of 2018, total trade between Morocco and Russia was down to $900 million.In early October 2018, Russian and Moroccan officials met to discuss business cooperation, especially increasing Morocco’s export of agricultural products.Read Also: Ambassador to Morocco: Morocco Made no Request for Russian S-400 Missiles SystemsMoroccan Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch said that agricultural products represent 77 percent of Moroccan exports to Russia, estimated at MAD 1.5 billion.Russian Minister of Agriculture Dmitry Patrushev stated that the volume of bilateral trade in agricultural products and food has increased. “Since the beginning of this year, it has amounted to more than $300 million,” Patrushev said. He asserted the figure was a 16 percent increase from the previous year.He also predicted, “The agricultural trade between Russia and Morocco will grow to $500 million.”In October last year, Russian companies Gazprom, Novatek, and Stroytransgaz examined  their options to invest in natural gas projects in Morocco, Patrushev told Russian news agency Sputnik on October 4. read more