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Clinton meets Moroccan counterpart as Maghreb tour winds up

In her final station of a Maghreb tour, Hillary Clinton holds talks with her Moroccan counterpart of the Islamist government and praises the talent and creativity of the people in the region

AFP , Sunday 26 Feb 2012
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton meets with Morocco's Foreign Minister Saad Eddine Othmani in Rabat, February 26, 2012. (Photo: Reuters)
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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton went into talks Sunday with her Moroccan counterpart Saad Eddine Othmani on the third and final leg of a Maghreb tour aimed at nurturing democracy in the region.

The talks are the first between Clinton and a member of the government of Abdelilah Benkirane, a moderate Islamist who took office in January.

Earlier the US secretary of state met an adviser to King Mohammed VI, Fassi Fihri.

Morocco's new government is confronted with difficult social conditions with a high rate of unemployment in the nation of 33 million people, most of whom are poor.

The north African tour began in Tunis on Friday when she took part in a "Friends of Syria" international gathering.

In Algiers on Saturday she met with President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, urging Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco to maintain the momentum of the democratisation brought about by the Arab Spring by deepening reforms.

"I come from Tunisia, tomorrow I will be in Morocco. My message is the same: the people of the Maghreb are as talented, creative and hard working as people anywhere in the world," she said in Algiers.

"They need and deserve to make decisions on behalf of themselves because that is good for the dignity and rights of every individual and it's good for every society."

The Maghreb region comprises Algeria, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia.

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