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During her official visit to the Kingdom of Morocco, the President of the Riigikogu Ene Ergma met the heads of the country’s two-chamber parliament – the President of the Assembly of Representatives Abdelwahad Radi and the Vice-President of the Assembly of Councillors Mohamed Fawzi Benallau – as well as the Prime Minister Abbas El Fassi today.Topics at the meetings included Estonian-Moroccan bilateral cooperation, and communication on the EU level.

Ms Ergma stressed at her meeting with President Radi that Morocco is becoming an important North African partner for Estonia.Cooperation is in progress on several levels and the Prime Minister of Estonia visited Morocco only this spring. Parliamentary interaction is evolving as well, with the Estonian-Moroccan Parliamentary Group having been formed in the Riigikogu a year ago.

Speaking on the economy, Ms Ergma said that Estonia continues to support investments into scientific development, innovation and education to ensure the revitalisation of economy and competitiveness in the long run. “We prioritise science-intensive production and have consequently achieved good results in information technology, including e-elections and e-government. Access to Internet is becoming part of human rights.Our solutions have helped to improve the work of state agencies and save on costs, and have prized the importance of education and information on organising social life,” she stated.

Ms Ergma also highlighted the readiness of Estonia to continue cooperation in the fields of oil shale and renewable energy.Eesti Energia, who is producing energy from oil shale in Estonia, has expressed its willingness to participate in Moroccan oil shale programmes.The two countries have also signed a Memorandum of Understanding that gives Eesti Energia the right to start exploring Moroccan oil shale resources.

Meeting the Prime Minister El Fassi, the President of the Riigikogu said that Estonian investments in Morocco have increased considerable in recent years.These are mainly directed into energy, ICT technology and tourism. The interest of entrepreneurs has certainly grown after the signing of the Treaty for the Reciprocal Protection of Investments last year, while negotiations are underway for signing an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation.

On the issue of the increasingly closer ties between the EU and Morocco, Ms Ergma remarked that since over half of Moroccan trade relations are conducted with the EU, Morocco might be interested in learning about Estonia’s experiences in integrating into the EU market. “We are ready and willing to share our experiences,” she promised.

Tomorrow, the Riigikogu delegation which in addition to Ms Ergma also includes Vice-President Jüri Ratas, MPs Peep Aru, Mart Nutt and Mark Soosaar, as well as the Secretary General of the Chancellery of the Riigikogu Heiki Sibul, will visit Marrakech and meet with its first female mayor Fatima Zahra Mansour.The delegation will visit the former lodgings of Eduard Viiralt in the old town and open a memorial plaque to the Estonian artist.

The Riigikogu Press Service
4 November 20, 2002