Strategic dialogue within the context of the Ukrainian disaster

The number 2 of American diplomacy, Wendy Sherman, is expected this Tuesday, March 8, in Rabat, for an official 48-hour visit. The latter will also go to Casablanca, before co-chairing with Nasser Bourita, Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Morocco-US strategic dialogue on regional policy issues, whose work is scheduled for March 9.

An event that takes place in a turbulent geopolitical context marked by the Ukrainian crisis and the evolution of the situation in the Sahel. This meeting should also be used to study ways to strengthen American-Moroccan partnerships. In addition to the avenues to strengthen economic exchanges that will also be explored during the Morocco-US Investment Forum, which will be held in parallel in Dakhla, the strategic dialogue should emphasize diplomatic cooperation.

Partnerships to strengthen

In addition to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, which is one of the priorities of US diplomacy, the evolution of the situation in the Sahel (where the US army is also based in Niger) with the disengagement of Barkhane and the The Takuba Task Force, from Mali, should be on the agenda of strategic dialogue, namely with the deployment of elements of the private military company Wagner in the region.

The Libyan crisis can also be addressed by the mediator role that the Kingdom plays between the governments of Tripoli and Tobruk. Relations between Morocco and Spain could also be discussed during this event, as Wendy Sherman’s visit to the Kingdom, which is part of a regional tour, coincided with a stopover in Madrid where the number 2 of American diplomacy participated in a meeting on cybersecurity -security.

This hypothesis can be explained by the fact that Washington has already played the role of mediator between Rabat and Madrid several times, from Henry Kissinger in the 1970s to Colin Powell, during the Leila islet crisis in 2002. The head of the Spanish government Pedro Sanchez, as a reminder, unsuccessfully tried to gain Biden government support for the Ghali crisis, during the famous June 14, 2021 NATO Summit episode.

Morocco and Spain are also important partners for the United States at the regional level. Where the latter is a member of NATO and has been involved in several US-led military interventions (Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan), the Kingdom also represents a historic partner for Washington, particularly at the military level. a sharp acceleration with the proliferation of purchases of US-made military equipment and the African Lion maneuvers that gain importance year after year.

Impacts and opportunities offered by the crisis

The United States, like Israel or even France, are also among the partners approached to invest in the future national arms industry. An ecosystem under construction that should not be limited to meeting the needs of the Royal Armed Forces, but whose economic viability also depends on exports, namely for the benefit of the countries of the Gulf and West Africa.

In terms of energy, the Ukrainian crisis represents an opportunity for the Morocco Nigeria Gas Pipeline project. Possible interruptions in Russian gas deliveries to Western European countries, combined with Russia’s containment policy led by the West (Europeans in the lead), could increase the attractiveness of the pipeline that would allow it to diversify energy sources for the EU.

The Spanish government has already announced its desire to market Algerian gas to France and the rest of Europe. The potential offered by the Moroccan-Nigerian gas pipeline, combined with the series of discoveries of deposits along the pipeline route (Ghana, Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mauritania and Morocco), represents an important indicator for investors, as countries like Italy, whose industrial tool still depends on Russian shipments.

The Kingdom must also address the issue of grain prices heavily impacted by the Ukrainian crisis, given the total stoppage of Ukrainian shipments and disruptions that Russian exports are expected to experience.

A new rise in cereal prices internationally can only impact the Kingdom, which has already implemented a compensation mechanism to deal with inflation and avoid repercussions on the final consumer. The issue could also be addressed, since the United States is also part of the sources of supply for the local market.

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