Colombia’s Foreign Minister Jaime Bermudez began an official trip to Morocco on Monday with the aim of building economic ties and improving anti-drug cooperation between the two nations, reports La FM.
Following a meeting with his counterpart from the North African country, Foreign Minister Taib Fassi, who lauded Colombia’s advancements in security and economic stability, Bermudez said that despite the “very good” bilateral political relations, economic cooperation is still “very poor because the potential that is available is not being taken advantage of.”
“We want to be closer in order to have more trade, more tourism, more investment, and to increase opportunities to cooperate in areas such as education, culture, the fight against drugs, and organized crime,” Bermudez said.
Morocco, like Colombia, plays an important role in the international drug trade, being one of the world’s largest producers of hashish, in addition to acting as a transit point for South American cocaine to move into Europe.
Just last week, Moroccan authorities dismantled an international drug smuggling ring, with seven Colombians being amongst the group arrested.
Bermudez went on to express that both Colombia and Morocco are committed to transforming themselves to become regional economic hubs in Latin America and Africa.
“Colombia is and is trying to convert itself into the platform for African countries in Latin America,” while, “Morocco wants to be a base for that region.”
While in the Arab nation’s capital city of Rabat, Bermudez met with the country’s State Minister, Minister of Tourism and Crafts, Minister of Foreign Trade, and the President of the Chamber of Counselors.
During the official visit, Bermudez and the Moroccan officials also touched on political issues of international importance. According to Morocco’s official press agency, Bermudez affirmed Colombia’s “support to the efforts made within the framework of the United Nations… to find a final, mutually acceptable political solution” to the issue of the Western Sahara, a territory claimed by Morocco, but whose sovereignty is heavily disputed internationally.
The press agency also reported on Colombia’s support for the Middle East peace process and the creation of an independent Palestinian state, “Both parties emphasized the need to promote the peace process in the Middle East on the basis of the creation of an independent Palestinian state that can enjoy the right to live in harmony with its neighbors in accordance with the principles of international law and the support of the international community,” the statement added.
Following Bermudez’s official visit in Rabat, he traveled to the nation’s largest city, Casablanca, to meet with Colombian and Moroccan businessmen.