Morocco Wants to Make Ethanol with Brazilian Help

Amina Benkhadra, Morocco's Energy Minister Morocco is interested in producing ethanol and wants help from Brazil in the area. The subject was discussed Tuesday, June 24, in Rabat, by the Brazilian minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, and the Moroccan minister of Energy, Mines, Water and Environment, Amina Benkhadra.

According to information supplied by the Brazilian foreign office (Itamaraty), the semi-arid climate of Morocco is not ideal for sugarcane farming, therefore the local government wants to evaluate the possibility of using another plant to produce ethanol.

The Moroccans are seeking experience accumulated over the course of several decades by Brazil, and the minister was invited to come to the country to have a close look at the functioning of the sector.

Also in the field of energy, Amorim and Amina talked about the cooperation of Petrobras for oil exploration in the Moroccan coast, and the production of oil using bituminous schist in the Arab country. Exchange in the field of schist is already underway.

With the minister of Economy and Finance, Salaheddine Mezouar, the Brazilian chancellor discussed the trade agreement that the Mercosur started negotiating with the Arab country in the second half of 2004.

According to information supplied by the Itamaraty, the two ministers expect for the deal to progress in the upcoming rounds of negotiation. The idea is to have a fixed tariff preference agreement first, and then to establish a free trade agreement.

Mezouar, according to the Itamaraty, also showed much interest in the Bolsa Famí­lia (Family Voucher), an income transfer program of the Brazilian federal government.

Amorim also met with the Moroccan prime minister, Abbas El Fassi. They discussed international and regional political issues, especially the matter of the Western Sahara, a territory controlled by Morocco over which there is a dispute with Algeria.

They also spoke of the good economical situation of the two countries, and of the ethanol issue.

Morocco is the second stop on a tour of the Brazilian foreign minister to North Africa, which started in Algerian and will end in Tunisia. Today, he will sign eight agreements with the minister of Foreign Trade and Cooperation, Taieb Fassi Fihri, in areas such as health, environment, agricultural cooperation and animal inspection. Amorim will also participate in the meeting of the Brazil-Morocco Bilateral Mixed Commission.

US Support

The Moroccan government manifested its support to Brazil's intention of having a permanent seat at the Security Council of the United Nations. The statement was made by the Moroccan minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taieb Fassi Fihri, during a meeting with the Brazilian foreign minister, Celso Amorim, in Rabat.

"Morocco regards as legitimate the Brazilian aspiration to be a permanent member of the UN Security Council. This will translate into strong support by Morocco to the Brazilian candidacy when the reform takes place," said Fassi Fihri, according to information supplied by the Itamaraty.

Brazil is one of the strongest advocates of the reform at the Council, which follows the same model since its inception, after World War II, with five permanent members that have power of veto (United States, Russia, France, China and Great Britain) and 10 rotating seats, with two-year-long terms and no veto power.

Advocating the reform is an important part of the foreign policy of president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva's administration. The Brazilian diplomacy claims that the disposition of the Security Council does not reflect the current geopolitical reality.

"The more the Southern countries speak to each other, the more the Northern countries listen to us," Amorim said to Fassi Fihri, according to the Itamaraty. The two ministers underscored the importance of enhancing the so-called South-South cooperation, among developing countries.

Anba – www.anba.com.br

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