WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama hosted Morocco's King Mohammed VI at the White House on Friday for talks on furthering democracy in the Middle East and countering violent extremism.
Arriving at the White House, the king was greeted by a military honor guard that lined the driveway to the West Wing. In the Oval Office, Obama and King Mohammed made no public remarks before photographers were ushered out.
Ahead of the meeting, the White House said Obama planned to discuss U.S. support for democratic and economic reforms in Morocco and efforts to promote reform in the Middle East and Africa. Cooperation on countering violent extremism was also on the agenda, the White House said. Fighting terrorism in North Africa is a major U.S. national security priority.
Another likely topic was the monarchy's nasty spat with regional rival Algeria over a disputed region of Western Sahara, which attracted a small group of protesters outside the White House.
Morocco has long made gaining international recognition for its 1975 annexation of the former Spanish territory a top diplomatic priority. Algeria backs a movement seeking independence, and that has put the two countries at odds for decades.
"The U.S. has made clear that Morocco's autonomy plan is serious, realistic and credible and that it represents a potential approach that could satisfy the aspirations of the people in the Western Sahara to run their own affairs in peace and dignity," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.