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2017 CM Morocco 2President Christine Muttonen with Hakim Benchamach, President of the House of Councilors, in Rabat, 21 Sept. 2017RABAT, 22 September 2017 – OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Christine Muttonen (MP, Austria) has met with parliamentary and governmental leaders in Morocco this week for discussions focused on challenges including migration, terrorism and climate change. The President has also raised issues related to gender representation in parliament and foreign affairs, hailing Morocco’s efforts to increase the proportion of women in parliament.

In meetings Thursday with Hakim Benchamach, President of the House of Councilors; Lahbib El Malki, President of the House of Representatives; Saadeddine Othmani, Head of the Government; and Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs Mounia Boucetta, the sides discussed avenues for increased engagement of Morocco in the OSCE and its Parliamentary Assembly to address common challenges.

“It is very important that the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly remains actively engaged with our Mediterranean partners,” President Muttonen said. “This visit – the first by an OSCE PA President to Morocco in a number of years – signals a deeper engagement of our organization with our partners on the southern shore of the Mediterranean. This is one of my presidency’s priorities.”

Morocco is an OSCE Mediterranean Partner for Co-operation, a status that dates back to the 1975 Helsinki Final Act, which includes a chapter stating that security in Europe is closely linked with security in the Mediterranean as a whole. The delegation of Morocco regularly participates in OSCE PA meetings, particularly in the Mediterranean Forums traditionally organized on the sidelines of the Autumn Meetings.

2017 CM MoroccoPresident Christine Muttonen meets with Morocco's OSCE PA Delegation, Rabat, 21 Sept. 2017In meetings this week, the President invited the Moroccan OSCE PA delegation to actively participate in the Assembly’s ad hoc committees and to consider participation in future election observation missions.

On matters of migration, terrorism and climate change, President Muttonen and her interlocutors agreed that these issues are linked and require a comprehensive approach and greater cooperation.

She noted that the Parliamentary Assembly will participate in the OSCE’s 2017 Mediterranean Conference at the end of October in Palermo. She expressed hope that Morocco would also take part in the discussions which will focus on the movements of migrants and refugees across the Mediterranean, and the challenges and opportunities they entail.

A delegation of OSCE PA members will visit Morocco on 18-21 October to further co-operation on common security challenges such as terrorism, including through the exchange of lessons learned at a seminar organized by Morocco on the spread of violent extremism in the OSCE region.

Moroccan interlocutors said that Morocco attaches great importance to co-operation with the OSCE and is exploring ways to enhance relations through concrete activities to go beyond its partner status. They pointed out that Morocco has a wealth of expertise and experience in a number of fields directly relevant to the OSCEPA.

The President’s programme continues with a number of meetings scheduled Saturday with local leaders in the Fès-Meknès Region of Morocco.