Wires

UPDATE 1-Morocco's king plans Gulf tour - officials

Share

(Adds Saudi official, detail, background)

KUWAIT, Oct 11 (Reuters) - Morocco's King Mohammed plans totour Gulf Arab countries in the next few weeks to discussinvestment and bilateral relations, a senior Kuwaiti officialsaid on Thursday.

"He is going on a tour in the Gulf countries," Kuwait'sForeign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled al-Jarallah told Reuters,adding that the king was expected to visit Kuwait as part of thetour in October or November.

King Mohammed will travel to countries in the GulfCooperation Council, which comprises Saudi Arabia, the UnitedArab Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Oman, Jarallah said.

A Saudi official, who declined to be named under briefingrules, told Reuters that King Mohammed planned to visit SaudiArabia after the haj, the Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca which isexpected to run from from Oct. 24 to 29 this year.

A tour of the Gulf by King Mohammed would be importantdiplomatically and financially for Morocco. The country largelyescaped last year's Arab Spring unrest but the government isunder heavy domestic political pressure to improve livingstandards.

In July, King Mohammed urged his government to tap financingfrom Gulf Arab sovereign wealth funds to help with economicprojects that Morocco hopes will meet social needs, in what wasseen as an important policy shift for the monarch.

Morocco's $90-billion economy is heavily exposed to the eurozone, whose troubles have hit tourism revenues, migranttransfers and foreign investment this year.

On Wednesday, Morocco's budget minister said the country haddelayed a debut dollar bond sale that may exceed $1 billionuntil end-November. The country is expected to ask Gulf statesto buy a substantial amount of the bond.

(Reporting by Sylvia Westall and Asma Alsharif in Cairo;Editing by Andrew Torchia)

((sylvia.westall@thomsonreuters.com)(+965 2240 8945)(ReutersMessaging: sylvia.westall.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

Keywords: MOROCCO GULF/KUWAIT