Overview of the relations between the Kingdom of


Overview on the relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Russian Federation

Moscow, 2009

Historical background

XVIII century: first contacts

October 1777: Royal Edict

(Dahir) of the Sultan Sidi

Mohammed Ben Abdallah: free access for the Russian ships and vessels

Suggestion of the Sultan to establish the commercial relations.

His main foreign policy approach: General Peace to secure good environment for merchants

1778-1783: exchange of letters between the Sultan and Catherine II principle of national treatment

1880: Russia joins the Madrid Convention that was considered by the Sultan as the act of recognition of Moroccan sovereignty

On the 20 th of October, 1897: the General

Consulate of the Russian Empire is established in Tangier.

The head: the Minister Resident – Vassily

Romanovitch Bakherakht.

The main objective of the Russian Strategy in the region: “constant defence of the Gibraltar

Strait and the support as possible of the inviolability and the integrity of the Moroccan

Sultan’s Empire”

On the 11 th of July, 1899 – the Ambassador Vassily

Bakherakht presents his

Credential Letters to the

Sultan Moulay Abdelaziz

The establishment of the diplomatic relations at the

Ambassador’s level.

July 1901 – Moroccan diplomatic mission to

Saint-Petersbourg headed by Abdelkarim Ben


In the beginning of the XXth century Morocco represents the contested sphere of interest for main European countries.





Great Britain

The Russian Empire, at the contrary, proclaimed always the support of the Moroccan territorial integrity and independence.

Since 1912 – Morocco is under the French and

Spanish protectorate.

Russia maintains the diplomatic relations with

Morocco only through

Paris and Madrid.

First World War and Russian Revolution contributed to the diplomatic interruption between Russia and Morocco

1956 – the USSR is the first country to recognize the independence of Morocco.

The 1 st of October 1958 – establishment of the bilateral diplomatic relations between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Soviet


Soviet period

Leonid Brejnev visits Morocco in 1961. In its foreign politics Morocco is in general oriented towards the Asian and African countries (usually socialist) significant development of Morocco – USSR bilateral relations despite the prohibition of the

Moroccan communist party and the acceptance by Morocco of the American armement

His Majesty Hassan II visits the USSR in October

1966. He condemns the foreign intervention in


After the Israel – Arab war in 1967 Morocco praised the soviet support towards the Arab countries.

The USSR top statesmen:

Nikolay Podgorny and Alexey Kossyguine undertake official visits to


Juridical base of the bilateral relations several agreements signed in the 60s: technical and economic cooperation, cultural cooperation, foreign trade, air transport, fishery and others.

Creation of the Intergovernmental Soviet –

Moroccan Commission for economic, technical and cultural cooperation

Cooperation USSR - Morocco

- Foreign trade

The part of the USSR in the foreign trade of Morocco progressed till the 80 th . Then some regression marked that sphere: global economic crisis and the passage on the convertible currencies in 1982

Lack of diversification in commercial exchange:

Minerals (phosphates) and vegetal products


Energy (oil, gas), tractors and equipments

Cooperation USSR - Morocco

Jerada Power Plant

In 1971

Moulay Youssef

Hydro-electric station

In 1974

Study and valuation of the bituminous schist minefield in

Timahdit and Tarfaya

Energy, mining and geology

Al Mansour Dahbi

Hydro-electric station

In 1972

Development of the

Meskala phosphate deposit

Al Wahda (or Al Majara)

Hydro-electric station

Cooperation USSR - Morocco

• Technical cooperation

Expert exchange in many spheres: oil prospecting, geologic and mining exploration (first of all in the region of Ouarzazate)

• Cooperation in cultural and educational sphere

In 1991 about 1500 Moroccan specialists are licentiates of Soviet High Schools and Universities

Morocco – Russian


Transfer of all the Morocco-USSR agreements on the relations Morocco-Russian Federation. Consolidation of the bilateral relations.

New agreements were concluded:

1997 – Agreement on Bilateral and Multilateral Political

Consultations sectorial agreements

Creation of the Joint Russian-Moroccan Intergovernmental

Commission on economic, technical and scientific cooperation double taxation agreement

Memorandum on agriculture and food industry

October 2002 – visit of His Majesty

Mohammed VI to


Declaration on



Declaration on

Strategic Partnership


• sovereign equality

• commitment to the international law

• peaceful settlement of disputes

• universal respect for and observance of human rights and fundamental freedoms

• dialogue between cultures and civilizations

Declaration on

Strategic Partnership

Main Elements

• Political dialogue

• Economical, commercial, financial cooperation

• Cultural, scientific, technical cooperation

Evolution of the bilateral relations

- Exchange of visits

After the Royal Visit to Russia in 2002 President Vladimir

Putin undertakes the official visit to the Kingdom of

Morocco in 2006.

Multiplication of ministerial visits

Evolution of the bilateral relations

- Regular political consultations on the regional and international subjects of common interest

- Joint Intergovernmental Commission for economic, technical and cultural cooperation

- Extension of the legal base for cooperation

22 signed agreements, 14 draft agreements


– agreement between Chambers of

Commerce and Industry followed by the agreement of

2006 for creation of the Moroccan-Russian Business


Evolution of the bilateral relations

- Interparliamentary cooperation

2003 – visit to Morocco of President of Douma

Guennady N. Seleznev

2004 – visit to Morocco of the delegation of the

Council of the Federation

2005 – visit to Russia of the delegation of the

Chamber of Counselors of Morocco headed by the President of the Chamber Mustafa


Evolution of the bilateral relations

- Decentralized cooperation visit to Moscow of large delegation of the region Rabat-

Sal é-Zemmour-Zaer (cooperation on the field of commerce, investments, tourism, education and culture)

As for the bilateral cooperation: the Joint Commission examines all the matters of common interest: traditional fields (foreign trade and sea fishing) new spheres (IT, space, infrastructure, energy and mining, nuclear energy, industrial cooperation, public health, tourism, justice etc)

Foreign trade

Morocco – the main partner of Russia in Africa: volume – 2 bln USD

Moroccan import from Russia: oil (60%), iron, copper, chemical products, wood, paper, equipments.

Moroccan export to Russia: citrus, vegetables, fish meal, fabrics, cork, zinc.

Foreign trade

Morocco foreign trade is characterized by the deficit with Russia.

It’s necessary to explore others sectors of the Russian market, to expand the general preferences system (due to the commercial agreement of 1994) on other products, for example: textile, footwear, leather, food products.


In 2005 Morocco cancelled the visa for Russian citizens.

In 2006, during the visit of M. Putin, the agreement for tourism cooperation was signed.

Morocco participates at annual tourism and travel exhibitions in Moscow.

In 2008 about 17000 Russians tourists spent their vacations in Morocco (very modest results in comparison with Turkey, Egypt, Tunisia).

Financial cooperation

The USSR granted to Morocco a credit of 100 mln USD

(for construction of Al Wahda hydro-electric plant). The agreement fixed the reimbursement through Moroccan export.

When the plant was completed, there were still 35 mln euro to spend. Morocco presented a demand for authorization to invest this amount in purchase of barrage facilities (Wigrane, Timkit, Adarouch, Moulay

Bouchta). In 2006, during the 2 nd session of the Mixed

Commission Morocco proposed to allocate the part of these funds for social projects.



Extension of regular political consultations into the cultural and economical fields.

- Despite occasional difficulties in treatment of some economical dossiers Morocco and Russia express the political willingness to develop the strategic partnership.

- The Russian market is a very important market for the large array of Moroccan products.

As for investment, the agreement for the

Encouragement and Mutual Protection of Investments is in the pipeline.


- As for tourism, corollary measures should be undertaken concerning the publicity, marketing and intense contacts in relations with Russian tourism operator.

- There is an important potential for diversification of the bilateral commercial relations.

- Morocco can use Russian know-how and experience in the following spheres: bituminous shists, phosphates, liquefied gas, electro plants, oil prospection, GPS survey etc).

- Opening of the direct flight Moscow – Casablanca


- Cultural cooperation (an application program for the agreement on cultural and educational cooperation signed in 2006).


The Moroccan and Russian authorities shall develop the educational program (in schools and universities) to spread Arab and Russian languages in their countries, that would contribute to a better mutual knowledge of both countries and the rapprochement of their peoples.