Paris, Rabat put differences aside, resume judicial cooperation

PARIS, FRANCE, Michel Sailhan- France and Morocco are to resume judicial cooperation after a year-long row, according to a joint statement Saturday, in a move that will help French investigators gather intelligence on terror suspects.
The agreement will allow the two countries -- each of which has an unknown number of nationals believed to be fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq -- to resume working together on security issues, seen as critical following Islamist attacks in Paris earlier this month in which 17 people died.

Morocco broke off cooperation with France in late February 2014 after French authorities attempted to question the head of Morocco's DGST domestic intelligence service, Abdellatif Hammouchi, over torture allegations while he was on a visit to Paris.
But on Saturday French Justice Minister Christiane Taubira and her Moroccan counterpart Mustapha Ramid said in a joint statement they had reached an agreement paving the way for an "immediate" re-establishment of judicial cooperation.
The pair met in Paris on Thursday and Friday.
Reacting to the accord, Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar said "(this) happy ending opens a new page in our relations, based on mutual confidence. It will help us to look to the future and to turn the page".
Mezouar added that he could hold talks with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius "soon".
France is Morocco's biggest economic partner. Between 60,000 and 80,000 French national live in the country while more than 1.3 million Moroccans are resident in France.

Sunday, February 1st 2015
Michel Sailhan

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