Mali: Morocco Backs Intervention in Mali, Signs Security Pact With France, Spain, Portugal

Rabat — Morocco supports France's intervention against Islamist militants in Mali although the North African kingdom has no plans to send its own troops there, the Moroccan interior minister said on Friday, at a security summit Morocco hosted with interior ministers from France, Spain and Portugal.

The four countries signed an agreement to expand police cooperation in issues such as terrorism, illegal immigration and drug trafficking, and will improve information exchange, particularly in the investigation of financial assets.

"It is a cooperation that has always existed on a bilateral and multilateral levels in the field of intelligence and information to face the problems in the region. We exchange the information we have to make the whole region more secure," Moroccan interior Mohand Laenser told a press conference.

Morocco is a staunch ally of France, the former colonial power, and has allowed French jets which have bombed Islamists camps and logistics bases in Azawad to fly over its territory.

"We are witnessing the history that is being built between France and this part of the world and that is based on respect and mutual confidence," French interior minister Manuel Valls told reporters.

Spain's interior minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz also expressed his country's solidarity with France's actions. But he declined to comment on whether Spain would send soldiers to Mali.

Morocco's moderate and radical islamist groups are opposed to the French campaign in Mali. The Attawhid wal Islah movement, which is behind the Islamist Justice and Development Party that heads the government, has openly opposed the campaign.

Al Arabiya/Reuters and EuroNews 

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