Morocco’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Othman El Ferdaous, and David Fisher, Ambassador of the United States of America to Morocco, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Thursday, January 14, 2021, in Rabat, the capital. The aim is to protect Morocco’s cultural heritage. It is also a desire of both countries to work closely together to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property.
The Cheririfian kingdom and the United States want to fight against the looting and illicit trafficking of cultural property. This Memorandum reflects, according to the Moroccan Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Othman El Ferdaous, the desire to work in close collaboration through the intensification of cooperation and coordination between the institutions and services concerned to combat the illicit trafficking of cultural property in both countries. To consolidate this agreement training workshops, conferences, meetings will be organized. This will contribute to the exchange of expertise and experience to address the challenges related to the protection of various heritage objects from abusive and illicit importation.
The memorandum provides for procedural measures to combat the illicit trafficking of archaeological and ethnographic objects from Morocco to the United States. It also aims to develop bilateral relations between the two Nations in the cultural heritage field. This agreement would allow culture organizations and the respective authorities to work together to protect Morocco’s cultural heritage from looting and trafficking. The other part of this memorandum is to further promote an expanded cultural exchange between the United States and Morocco.
The United States Deputy Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs, Marie Royce, stressed that “the United States of America has a deep respect for Moroccan cultural heritage.” It should be noted that this is the first agreement between Morocco and the United States covering the entire territory of Morocco, in particular the southern provinces.