America's Oldest Ally Remains Key U.S. Strategic Partner

Washington, DC (NAPSI) - When asked to name America's oldest ally, many would be surprised to find the correct answer is the Kingdom of Morocco.

The relationship dates back to 1777, whenMoroccobecame the first country to recognize the colonies as an independent nation and granted American ships safe passage through the Straits of Gibraltar and access to Moroccan ports. This agreement laid the foundation for a bond that has endured to today.

In 1786, the two countries signed the Morocco-U.S. Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate in 1787 and remains the longest-standing treaty of its kind inU.S.history.

DuringWorld War I,Moroccosupported Allied forces, and Moroccan soldiers fought alongside U.S. Marines inFrance. DuringWorld War II,Moroccohosted President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Charles de Gaulle at a summit meeting to plan Allied strategy inEurope.

More recently, in 2004,Moroccobecame one of only 20 countries to sign a Free Trade Agreement with theU.S., and it is one of the few non-NATO American allies in the Middle East andNorth Africa.

The Relationship Continues

Last year,Moroccoand theU.S.entered into a formal Strategic Dialogue. And theU.S., through three administrations beginning with President Bill Clinton, has been a key supporter ofMorocco's compromise autonomy initiative to end theWestern Saharaconflict.

An Exchange Of Invitations

This long-lasting international friendship was strengthened recently when an exchange of letters was followed by a phone call from President Barack Obama toMorocco's King Mohammed VI. The two leaders discussed further enhancing bilateral relations through their personal relationship, and within the framework of the Strategic Dialogue thatMoroccoand theU.S.initiated in 2012. They reaffirmed the historic relationship between the two countries and agreed to increase cooperation on defense, security, and the fight against terrorism. They agreed to deepen consultations on a host of key issues whereMoroccohas valuable insight, includingSyria,Mali, and the Israel-Palestine conflict. President Obama expressed his support forMorocco's progress on democratic reforms spearheaded by King Mohammed VI, and told the King he looked forward to continuing their discussions in person, inviting him to visitWashington,D.C.this year. King Mohammed VI thanked President Obama for his commitment to the U.S.-Morocco relationship and also invited him to visitMorocco.

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