Cablegate: Exbs: Morocco Seeks Enhanced Border Enforcement


DE RUEHRB #1159/01 1991158
R 181158Z JUL 07





E.O. 12958: N/A

REF: RABAT 01145

Sensitive but unclassified. Please protect accordingly.

1. (SBU) Summary: An interagency EXBS (Export Control and Related
Border Security) team launched a broad program of cooperation in an
initial round of meetings with Moroccan officials in July 9-12. The
EXBS program is a multi-year assistance program and will begin
delivering training to Morocco this fall using funding from FY06 and
FY07. The U.S. team stressed the legislative and enforcement
aspects of an effective export control system and encouraged the
Moroccans to adopt the European Union's (EU) export control list of
dual-use items. Despite some skepticism from the Moroccan side
concerning the relevance of developing a strategic control list in a
country that does not produce or import any dual-use items, they
enthusiastically welcomed the opportunity to enhance their
enforcement capability. End Summary.

EXBS Relevance to Morocco

2. (U) A USG interagency team visited Morocco 9-12 July to discuss
and coordinate the Export Control and Related Border Security (EXBS)
assistance program with their Moroccan counterparts. The Moroccan
delegation was headed by Khalid Zerouali, Director of Migration and
Border Protection, Ministry of Interior. The Moroccan delegation
also included senior representatives of Customs, Commerce, Royal
Navy, and other security agencies.

3. (U) EXBS is the USG's premier initiative to help other countries
improve their export control systems. Administered through the
Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, Office of
Export Controls Cooperation (ISN/ECC), it is an interagency program
designed to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction
(WMD), missile delivery systems, conventional weapons, and related
items by assisting foreign governments in the establishment and
implementation of effective export control systems. While the EXBS
program's original focus was on the WMD "source countries" in the
former Soviet Union, the program was broadened to include countries
with major transshipment hubs in the Mediterranean, Middle East, and
Southeast Asia.

4. (SBU) Morocco's drug and human smuggling problems are well known.
Reportedly, 50 percent of Europe's hashish is smuggled from
Morocco, while thousands of sub-Saharan Africans migrate through
Morocco each year. According to the Commander of the Al Hoceima
Naval Base, located on the Moroccan Mediterranean coast, the tempo
of the base's primary mission - interdiction of illegal drugs and
migrants - has soared, with over 3,500 arrests made in 2006 compared
to 640 in 2003. One member of the U.S. EXBS team summed the
Moroccan situation best, "Smuggling is smuggling, whether its drugs
or missile parts."

5. (SBU) Morocco will become even more relevant in the control of
WMD and dual-use items with the opening of the new Tangier Med
Transshipment Port, scheduled for the end of July 2007. According
to Said Elhadi, Tangier Med Special Agency Chairman, the Tangier
Port complex will be one of the largest and most complex
transshipment facilities in the world, with an eventual transit of
10 million containers a year. Of note, the Moroccan Ministry of
Interior and Customs officials at the EXBS conference unanimously
acknowledged Morocco's responsibility for effective control of items
transiting Tangier. Unfortunately, however, Morocco has neither a
strategic control list, nor a licensing system for the control and
transshipment of dual-use items.

Enforcement - YES. Control List - MAYBE.

6. (SBU) During the EXBS conference, the U.S. team emphasized the
training and equipment support available through the program to
assist with legislative reforms required to incorporate a strategic
control list into Moroccan national law and enhancement of Morocco's
export control enforcement. Of note, the team's visit came on the
heels of an elevation of the security posture at all Moroccan ports
of entry (reftel), which appeared to reinforce the relevance of the
enforcement aspects of the EXBS program. By contrast, the
legislative aspect of the program, which includes incorporation of a
control list and licensing for dual-use items, was received with
less enthusiasm. ISN/ECC Director, Paul van Son, encouraged the GOM
to work with the EU on adopting the EU Control List and adapting it
to the Moroccan export control law. Van Son also reiterated that if
Morocco wants to work with the U.S. on these issues as well, the USG
is ready to provide assistance and training.

7. (SBU) The Moroccan Ministry of Commerce's presentation at the
conference captured the essence of the Moroccan position on the
control of dual-use items. From the beginning, the speaker made it
clear that Morocco neither produces nor imports dual-use items, and
that its customs officials have a "trade, vice security" agenda.
Left unsaid, but nonetheless understood by the U.S. team, was that
Morocco remained unconvinced of the need to modify its foreign-trade
law in order to incorporate a control list or to develop a licensing
system for the transit of dual-use items.

8. (SBU) Through subsequent discussions, the U.S. team countered
this perception with five primary arguments: 1) Incorporation of a
strategic dual-use control list, such as the EU's, would result in
increased visibility over all commercial shipments, resulting in a
decrease in smuggling and a corresponding increase in customs
revenue. 2) Although Morocco may not be a producer or importer of
dual-use items today, a Moroccan decision (currently under
discussion) to pursue nuclear energy in the future would change
that. 3) Many of the techniques used to combat illegal human, drug,
and contraband smuggling are the same as those used to enforce an
international dual-use control list. 4) Jordan, in a similar
situation as Morocco, recently incorporated the EU's control list.
The GOM should ask the GOJ about its experience and the positive
outcomes it has witnessed. 5) If Morocco truly intends to be a
regional leader and establish Tangier Med as one of the world's
leading transshipment hubs, it must meet its international
responsibilities under UNSCR 1540.

9. (U) The Moroccans closed the conference with a reaffirmation of
the strong bilateral cooperation between Morocco and the U.S. in all
security related fields, and presented their "wish-list" for customs
and border enforcement training. The U.S. team pledged to
coordinate the request through the interagency process, and closed
the conference by presenting Morocco with 50 personal radiation
detectors, designed to be worn by customs officials as a first-line
of defense against radiation hazards.

9. (SBU) Comment: A robust and effective Moroccan export control
system is in both the Moroccan and U.S. interest. By going through
the process of incorporating a dual-use control list and licensing
system for dual-use items, Morocco will not only comply with
international export standards, but it will also improve its
visibility and control over all commerce transiting Morocco -
greatly enhancing its anti-smuggling capability. Post will continue
to encourage and facilitate Moroccan legislative and regulatory
reform of its foreign trade law and enhancement of it export control
system. We will also work with the program to enhance border
controls, a mutual priority for a range of target persons and goods.
Now is the time to put the systems in place that will prevent
Morocco, and specifically the new port of Tangier Med, from becoming
a transit point for WMD and dual-use items.


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