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07RABAT1601 2007-10-12 11:49:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Rabat
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1. (SBU) Multiple press reports indicate that PM-designate
Abbas El-Fassi submitted late October 11 his nominations for
the Council of Ministers to King Mohammed VI. There are some
inconsistencies in the different reports and the lists remain
unofficial and unconfirmed. The King could render his
decision as early as his speech to open Parliament later
today, October 12, but more likely, an announcement is
expected by the first working day after the Eid al-Fitr
Islamic holiday this weekend--October 15 or 16.

2. (C) Current Foreign Ministry Minister-Delegate Taieb
Fassi Fihri (TFF) appears set to be named Morocco's new
Foreign Minister. His nomination is mentioned consistently
in the reports we've seen, and was unofficially confirmed to
us by a senior MFA official. With good personal ties and
ready access to King Mohammed VI, TFF has been
Minister-Delegate for Foreign Affairs since 2004, and was
sometimes referred to as "the other Foreign Minister" or even
the "real Foreign Minister." TFF joined the Foreign Ministry
in 1986 and spent much of his diplomatic career focused on
relations with the EU. He is well and favorably known to us
and the USG in general.

3. (C) We are also hearing that Interior Minister Chakib
Benmoussa will retain his seat in the forthcoming cabinet.
Appointments to both the Foreign and Interior Ministry
portfolios (as well as Defense and Islamic Affairs) are among
the "sovereign ministries," reporting directly to the King
rather than the Prime Minister. Other reported ministerial
nominations contain a mix of old and new faces, many of them
former IV's or with other ties to the U.S..

4. (C) The King retains full discretion to accept or
substitute any name, (indeed the PM traditionally submits a
short list to the King), but we expect that he has probably
exercised this already in private, and will treat the list
with the same "democratic logic" he used when naming as PM
the leader of the largest party in Parliament, Abbas
El-Fassi. (We will report the full roster when the new
government is formally announced.)

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