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France keen to establish true partnership with Morocco: Sarkozy
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10:09, October 24, 2007

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French President Nicolas Sarkozy here Tuesday addressed Morocco's joint parliamentary session, calling on the two countries to establish and embrace a true partnership.

"I have come to propose a true partnership with Morocco, devoid of arrogance, because if France has a lot to give, it has also a lot to learn from Morocco," Sarkozy, who is here on three-day official visit, told Moroccan lawmakers.

According to the French president, the "new partnership" must be "based on structural and strategic projects for the future of our two countries."

During his remarks, Sarkozy also hailed Morocco's opening to global competition, saying this "courageous gamble was beginning to pay off as the Moroccan economy has been in the middle of an unprecedented expansion. The infrastructure, the business environment, all the sectors are evolving and embracing modernity, " the president said.

Sarkozy said "Morocco's development was important to France and its businesses." "This is a win-win situation. The 1,000 or so French companies, which have operations here, understand this," he said.

Turning to the issue of immigration, Sarkozy underlined the need to jointly control migratory movements between the two sides of the Mediterranean basin. According to the president, the Euro- Africa Conference on Immigration and Development, which Morocco hosted in July 2006, had demonstrated without a doubt that there was no any other viable solution to the problem of immigration, other than dialogue between the concerned countries.

Saying that he would continue to work on this line, Sarkozy announced he would be organizing a conference similar to the Moroccan one, when France assumes the rotating presidency of the European Union during the second quarter 2008.

Sarkozy, who arrived in Morocco Monday, is leading a high-level delegation that also includes over 70 business leaders.

During the visit, the two countries are expected to clinch a number of deals including the planned construction of a 500 km high-speed railway line linking northern Morocco to the South and the purchase of 20 French-made train locomotives for the Rabat tramway, slated for completion in 2010.

Source: Xinhua

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