Biden, Morocco King Focus on Non-Military Aspects of Terror War


U.S. Vice President Joe Biden and Moroccan King Mohammed VI discussed Wednesday their countries' strategic alliance and efforts to achieve peace and security in Africa and the Middle East, Biden's office said.

The vice president arrived in Morocco earlier Wednesday for bilateral talks and to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit being held in Marrakesh.

The two men met at a royal palace in the city of Fez and spoke about a wide range of issues, including efforts to advance achieve "a secure, stable, and prosperous Maghreb, Africa, and Middle East".

In particular, they discussed joint efforts by the international military coalition against the Islamic State (IS) group.

While Rabat is not part of the coalition, it is deeply concerned about the more than 2,000 Moroccans, including those with dual nationalities, that have joined such groups as IS.

On Saturday it arrested five people in Marrakesh on suspicion of seeking to join jihadists in Iraq and Syria and of aiding terrorist activities.

Three of those arrested were "preparing to join terrorist organisations in Syria and Iraq, in particular the Islamic State" group, the interior ministry said.

The other two were suspected of involvement in terrorist propaganda, with one of them calling for suicide attacks to be carried out in Morocco.

Biden's office said he and the king "agreed on the importance of the non-military aspects of the struggle against violent extremism".

These included "exposing and discrediting violent extremist recruitment and providing a compelling alternative through social and political inclusion and economic opportunity."

In August, Rabat put in place reinforced security measures to counter the terror threat.

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