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Morocco to join Galileo project

Morocco will join the European Union’s Galileo satellite navigation programme, becoming the first African nation to participate in the project. Morocco will be the fifth non-EU nation to join, though details of its participation have yet to be negotiated. The Galileo project will comprise 27 satellites and has already elicited financial participation from China, Israel, Ukraine and India. Discussions are under way with Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Norway, Chile, South Korea, Malaysia, Canada and Australia. The EU will soon allocate an initial one billion euro from its 2007-2013 budget to fund deployment and commercial operations of the Galileo satellite system. The private sector will contribute two-thirds of funds for the project. Galileo is due to go online in 2008.