Sahara town twinned with US counterpart, officials upbeat


Morocco’s efforts on the world stage to advance its claims to the disputed region of Western Sahara edged forward when a US delegation visited the region recently and threw their weight behind a twinning initiative.

A twinning agreement between Laayoune and the city of Hollywood in the state of Florida (United States) was signed on May 1oth in the capital of the disputed Western Sahara, Laayoune, with the aim of strengthening bilateral relations of cooperation in the economic, cultural, educational and tourist fields.

As part of the decentralized cooperation between Morocco and the United States, this agreement was initialled by the President of the City Council, Moulay Hamdi Ould Errachid and the mayor of the city of Hollywood in Florida, Josh Levy, at the headquarters of the municipality of Laayoune, in the presence of the wali of the region Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra, governor of the province of Laayoune, Abdeslam Bekrate and elected officials of both cities.

According to both parties, this agreement opens promising prospects for the consolidation of partnership ties in various sectors including tourism, environment, culture, arts, academic research and sustainable development, in addition to sharing expertise and strengthening cooperation.

This agreement will offer the capital of the “Moroccan Sahara” an international influence and partnership opportunities that can contribute positively to its socio-economic development.

This agreement marks the beginning of a closer relationship between the two cities in the economic and cultural fields,” said Levy at the end of the signing ceremony of this twinning agreement. Similarly, he said he was “very impressed” by the quality of investments and educational infrastructure, sports, socio-economic and health in Laayoune, praising the efforts made by the Regional Council and the Communal Council of Laayoune in the implementation of projects.

The mayor of the city of Hollywood in Florida also expressed the wish to further consolidate bilateral relations, through the exchange of visits of delegations from both cities.

The priority sectors in Laayoune and Florida are similar and complementary, he noted, citing in particular the sectors of aviation, agriculture and education. He has, in this sense, called for close cooperation between businesses in Hollywood and Laayoune, to benefit from investment opportunities in both cities.

Ould Errachid stressed that this agreement, which comes after the decision of Washington to recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara, aims to deepen bilateral cooperation in various areas. He also expressed his willingness to establish mutually beneficial relations in all sectors of common interest with the American city.

On this occasion, an institutional film highlighting the potential and assets of the two cities was shown. Similarly, the members of the delegation attended a presentation on the development program of the municipality of Laayoune covering the various development projects registered under the new development model of the southern provinces launched by King Mohammed VI in 2015.

During their stay in Laayoune, the US officials made field visits to several projects completed or underway, where they saw firsthand the efforts made to ensure comprehensive and integrated development of the region.

Thus, they visited the women’s municipal club, the Olympic pool and the sports village, as well as projects related to the construction of the Faculty of Medicine, the City of trades and skills and the University Hospital, in addition to the African Institute for Research in Sustainable Agriculture and the phosphate port in Foum El Oued.

Arab Weekly/Reuters


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