Morocco’s king plans Gulf tour: officials


Morocco’s King Mohammed plans to tour Gulf Arab countries in the next few weeks to discuss investment and bilateral relations, said a senior Kuwaiti official.

“He is going on a tour in the Gulf countries,” Kuwait’s Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah told Reuters, adding that the king was expected to visit Kuwait as part of the tour in October or November.

King Mohammed will travel to countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, Jarallah said.

A Saudi official, who declined to be named under briefing rules, told Reuters that King Mohammed planned to visit Saudi Arabia after the haj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca which is expected to run from from October 24 to 29 this yearm, Reuters reports.

A tour of the Gulf by King Mohammed would be important diplomatically and financially for Morocco. The country largely escaped last year’s Arab Spring unrest but the government is under heavy domestic political pressure to improve living standards.

In July, King Mohammed urged his government to tap financing from Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds to help with economic projects that Morocco hopes will meet social needs, in what was seen as an important policy shift for the monarch.

Morocco’s $90-billion economy is heavily exposed to the euro zone, whose troubles have hit tourism revenues, migrant transfers and foreign investment this year.

On Wednesday, Morocco’s budget minister said the country had delayed a debut dollar bond sale that may exceed $1 billion until end-November. The country is expected to ask Gulf states to buy a substantial amount of the bond.