Morocco: Overseas Students

House of Lords written question – answered at on 4 November 2009.

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Photo of Lord Avebury Lord Avebury Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Spokesperson for the Home Office

To ask Her Majesty's Government what reply they have received from the Government of Morocco to their demands concerning the decision to withdraw permission from students who had been given visas to attend a Talk Together event in Oxford in August, which had received funding from the British Council.

Photo of Lord Brett Lord Brett Government Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office, Government Whip, Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office) (Identity) (also Lord in Waiting)

On 23 September 2009 our embassy in Rabat received a written response from the Moroccan Government to a request for clarification of the events surrounding the Talk Together event in Oxford in August.

In their reply, the Moroccan Government said that the decision by the students from Casablanca not to take part in the event meant that the delegation as it stood lacked the necessary balance and was not representative of all sides to the dispute. The Moroccan authorities told us that, in these circumstances, they felt it would have been inappropriate for only students from Laayoune to participate.

The Government understand that the British Council did not directly fund this event. Talk Together received funding from the European Commission's Youth in Action programme, a programme the British Council is contracted to administer in the UK on behalf of the European Commission.

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