Princess Astrid and the Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders (Francophone liberal) got the mission under way on Sunday afternoon with a meeting with the Moroccan Princess Lalla Meryem, the sister of King Mohamed VI. The meeting with the Moroccan royal was added to the agenda at the last minute.
Princess Astrid and Mr Reynders then flew on to Morocco’s biggest city Casablanca. This will be the base for the 5-day trade mission. In Casablanca they joined the rest of the delegation that is made up of representatives of more than 250 companies and organisations. The Federal Secretary of State responsible for foreign trade Pieter De Crem (Flemish Christian democrat), the Walloon Economy Minister Pierre-Yves Jeholet (Francophone liberal), the Brussels Secretary of State responsible for foreign trade Cécile Jodogne (Francophone federalist) and the Flemish Prime Minister Geert Bourgeois (Flemish nationalist) are also part of the trade mission. Mr Bourgeois will join the mission on Tuesday in Rabat.
On Monday the mission will take part in a Belgian-Moroccan forum and will visit a Moroccan factory of the Belgian aeronautics company Sabca.
Ook Vlaams minister-president Geert Bourgeois, in de Vlaamse regering bevoegd voor Buitenlands Beleid, neemt aan de zending deel. Hij sluit dinsdagochtend bij de delegatie aan in Rabat.
A new Belgian embassy
As well as meetings with the Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani and the Moroccan Foreign Minister Saadeddine Othmani, the politicians will attend the laying of the first brick at the site of the new Belgian Embassy in Rabat.
Morocco had enjoyed substantial economic growth in recent years and is one of the most stable countries in the region.