King Mohamed VI’s Speech
Response to King Mohamed VI’s speech on March 9 was overwhelmingly favorable. While, the majority of Moroccan dailies went to print prior to the king’s speech, those that did report, praised the “genuine roadmap for reforms” and provided early reactions from politicians, sociologists, journalists, union leaders and human rights activists. The major online news aggregators welcomed the king’s speech favorably. Goud.ma and Hespress.com commented on the speech with the title: “In a historic speech the King responds to the requests of the February 20th movement.” According to Lakome.com, “the king announced the launch of deep constitutional changes.”
Moroccan broadcast media provided positive coverage of the speech. Independent Atlantic radio reported that “Morocco is experiencing a real revolution through regionalization and seven measures to reform the constitution in order to include a global diversity, greater empowerment of women’s role in the regions and less power to current Walis and governors. Independent Luxe Radio reported that “through his historical speech, the king decided to respond to the February 20thmovement and opened his arms to the youth to help in concretizing popular claims.” Semi-private Médi1 television aired reactions from the Secretary General of the Islamist Party of Justice and Development (PJD), Abdelilah Benkirane - “this speech is historical and it represents a roadmap that will lead Morocco to a real democracy. Now, the King has thrown the ball into the hands of political parties.” Secretary General of RNI (independent party), Salaheddine Mezouar told Medi1 that “March 9th is a date to mark in the minds, it is the date of 21st century - dignity, democracy and openness to the World”. State-run Al Aoula television reported that many Moroccans took to the streets in Rabat streets brandishing Moroccan flags and voicing slogans such as “We are Proud of our king!” and “May God bless the King.”
· Constitution: Radical Reforms - “The speech of the king yesterday, marks a turning point in the political life of the country. A powerful speech, proactive, which draws the constitutional architecture of Morocco of today and of tomorrow. By giving a kick off to the debate on the constitutional revision, it has overtaken everyone. A blow ahead of the expectations of the February 20th movement and also the ones of the political parties, initially hesitating to follow the lead of the young“ - business-oriented French-language daily L'Economiste
· Roadmap for a Major Reform Program – “Advanced regionalization marks the path toward a revision of the Constitution, long kept hidden. The speech of King Mohamed VI yesterday, is a genuine roadmap of deep constitutional reforms and a real overhaul of the territorial administration. . . Undeniably, the marches of February 20th contributed to this dynamic, constitutional reforms are no longer the claim specific to political parties, some of whom even made it a trade, a specialty. A threat brandished sporadically in order to attract more posts and portfolios. The marches succeeded in stealing political reforms in order to display them publicly. They are no imbued with the seal of the street. Independent French-language daily Le Soir
o “The speech was a foundation of a new Constitution that responds to the new demands of historic development.” Habib El Malki, Member, USFP (socialist) political bureau
o “Morocco is beginning a new phase” Miloudi Moukharik, Secretary General UMT (Morocco Workers Union)
o “The King has grasped well the messages from the street.” Driss Benali, Economist
o “The question of the Amazigh, the questioning of the Chamber of Councilors, symbol of the notables power and of the perversion of elections by money, is excellent news.” Karim Tazi, President Food Bank
o “Everything is going to play out in June.” Jamal Khalil, Sociologist
o “The youth were heard.” Nourredine Ayouch, publisher
· Reaction by Moroccan politicians - Pro-palace Arabic-language As-Sahara al-Maghrebiya
o “The Royal speech is a new revolution of the king and the people.” Saad El Alami, member of the Istiqlal Party:
o “The king’s speech is an important moment in democracy building.” Hassan Tarik, member of the USFP
o “Morocco is on the verge of new constitution.” Mohamed Moujahid: Secretary General of the Unified Socialist Party:
o “The royal speech puts Morocco in a historic turning-point.” Salah El Wadia, Party of Authenticity and Modernity (PAM)
o “The Speech contained signals that respond to the people expectations.” Mohamed Abiad, the Constitutional Union Party:
o “Morocco is engaged in quiet strength reforms.” Lahssen Daoudi, Islamist Party of Justice and Development
o “A royal determination for change and reform.” Charkaoui Essamouni, the president of the Moroccan Center for Human rights
o “The Royal speech carries a part of the demands of the Human Rights bodies.” Abd El Majid Ait Lahsen, the Moroccan Organization for Human rights
o “The Speech strengthens the Status of the Prime Minister.” Said Khamri, Professor of Political science in Qadi Ayyad University:
o “The democratic forces are calling for an independent body to develop a draft. The speech touched on several broad lines and did not enter in the details. We, as an alliance, claim a parliamentary monarchy and we ask for a monarchy where the king prevails but does not govern.” Abderrahman Benamrou, Secretary General of the Democratic Front Socialist Party
· “50 people gathered outside the parliament to celebrate the kings’ speech and were joined by bystanders chanting the national anthem and drivers honking as a sign of support. Online Arabic-language news aggregator Goud.ma
· “Al-Adl-Wal-Ihssan [Justice and Charity Organization - JCO] minimizes the importance of the constitutional reform. Fathallah Arsalan, the spokesperson for JCO, considers that the King is just buying time and running forward arguing the fact that he appointed the head of the constitutional reform committee is an indication that he is playing the same cards with the same methodology. JCO wants to part with the era of imposed constitutions and asks for an elected constitutional council. Mr. Arsalane noted also that the King had excluded some historic opposition movements by focusing only on established and accepted political parties. Online Arabic-language news aggregator Hespress.com
· Western Sahara: The UN Special Envoy Christopher Ross announced that the 7th round of informal negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario on the Western Sahara will take place in May. – Independent French-language daily Le Soir, state-run Al Aoula television, semi-private 2M television, semi-private Médi1TV
· Calls to open the borders: the Algerian power still a deaf ear - “The Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mourad Medelci affirmed March 8, that the reopening of the borders is not on the agenda and that Algeria has not provide a mandate to anybody to discuss this issue.” - Independent French-language daily Aujourd'hui Le Maroc
U.S. IN THE NEWS
· Annual Twin Cities conference in Washington, Casablanca/Chicago - “Moroccan participants at the 55thannual conference of twin cities represent the reality of Morocco. The American federal capital hosted the conference from March 3-5. Present at the conference were Boubker Mazoz, president of the Casablanca/Chicago twin cities association, Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S. Aziz Mekouar and American Special Representative for Inter-governmental Affairs Reta John Lewis. ” – Pro-palace French-language daily Le Matin
Regionalization - Le Soir
“For several days we were expecting a speech, a reshuffle [of the government], a sign to respond to the expectations expressed by the youth of this country during the recent demonstrations. Nature abhors a vacuum, the most fantastic rumors have succeeded in being quickly denied and replaced by others. Yesterday, the king addressed the nation. In a rigorous and structured speech, the issue of regionalization was detailed with several strong points taking the totality of the claims expressed with more or less subtlety these last weeks.
It is undeniable that this speech marks a new chapter of the reign of King Mohammed VI. With the transfer of a an important part of authorities to presidents of the regions, with a Prime Minister, who is elected democratically and accountable for his decisions, the field which opens is offering a unique opportunity to the country to gather its forces for equitable projects where each one will have his place and his preserved dignity.
Among the things that will raise from this revision, one should expect that hopefully everyone will take his role with heart and implementation.
There is no need to be a visionary to make a link between the speech on the political plan and its implication on the economic and social plans which must benefit from the same reset of the counters and a clean departure. This achievement requires the involvement and the vigilance of the whole society in order to allow the effect of the speech to be transcribed in practice and in the duration.
As it was raised by several civil society representatives, the king has fulfilled his part of the contract, it remains to the others, politicians, but also economic actors and the ordinary citizens to do the same. The hope raised by this discourse must be capitalized and serve as a base in the elaboration of Morocco of the future.”
The king addresses February 20th youth: Is he going to be the lead of the locomotive reform? - Akhbar Al Youm Al Maghrebiya
“The Ministry of the Royal household, protocol and chancellery announced that King Mohammed VI would address his nation last night. According to informed sources, the royal speech will seize the opportunity and use the advanced regionalization project that the king received from the Advisory Committee on Regionalization led by Omar Aziman, to make adjustments to the constitution that he [King Mohammed VI] inherited from his father. On the other hand, several people believe that the royal speech comes to “soothe souls” following the February 20thprotests throughout Morocco. According to an anonymous leading member of an opposition party, ‘public opinion is waiting for strong and bold decisions from the king, in order for the February 20th revolution to become the revolution of the king and the people for a true democracy and not the February 20th movement confronting the monarchy. If the king announces the dissolution of the government and the parliament and the assigning of a committee that will put in place a new constitution and a list of deep reforms, and exclude his friend, Fouad Al El Himma, and his personal secretary, Mohammed Mounir El Majidi, from the political and economic circles, Morocco will be fine and the monarchy will emerge victorious from this sensitive juncture.”
· Ambassador Samuel Kaplan in Oujda - Coverage of Ambassador Kaplan’s visit to an upgrade unit of Aromatic and Medical Plants in Jerada, led by the Beni Yaala Zkara cooperative and funded by USAID. Ambassador Kaplan visited two projects and met with the beneficiaries of two projects implemented with the financial support of MCC, the ‘school Zallaka,’ and ‘the Halle aux poisons’ - Independent Arabic-language daily Al Ahdath Al Maghrebiya, Independent French-language daily Aujourd'hui Le Maroc and pro-palace French-language dailyLe Matin
· MCC Financial support to development projects – “U.S. Ambassador Samuel Kaplan visited the fishing port of Oujda and the Zellaka school on Tuesday and met with the beneficiaries of two projects put in place with the financial support of the Millennium Challenge Account. Pro-palace French-language daily Le Matin
Note: The following news articles are released daily directly by the Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), and are included verbatim as released.
Hillary Clinton praises Morocco’s efforts in women’s economic empowerment
Washington, Mar. 8 (MAP) –U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, commended, on Tuesday on the occasion of the centenary of International Women’s Day, Morocco’s efforts in the area of women’s economic empowerment and promoting their rights. In an editorial published by Bloomberg, Clinton said that “governments are passing laws that support women’s economic empowerment and building awareness of women’s rights,” citing Morocco which “now allows women to start businesses and get jobs without their husbands’ approval.”
In this connection, she said that the past century has brought astonishing progress in women’s health, their economic opportunities, political power and more, adding that “today, women are leaders in every field.” The Secretary of State stressed the need to invest in women and girls so as to strengthen efforts to fight poverty, drive development and spread stability. “When women thrive, families, communities and countries thrive and the world becomes more peaceful and prosperous,” she insisted. (MAP) HH
HM the King addresses speech to the nation
Rabat, March 9 (MAP) - HM King Mohammed VI addressed, on Wednesday in Rabat, a speech to the nation.
Here follows the full text of the speech:
Praise be to God May peace and blessings
be upon the Prophet, His
Kith and Kin
My loyal subjects,
My address to you today will concern the launching of the next phase of the advanced regionalization process, the impact such a development can have in terms of strengthening our democratic development model and the substantial revision of the Constitution it implies. The latter should serve as the cornerstone of the new, comprehensive reforms I intend to initiate, as part of the continuing interaction with all of the nation’s stakeholders. I should like, first, to praise the report of the Advisory Committee on Regionalization.
On 3 January 2010, I had asked the Committee to prepare a general conception for an advanced Moroccan regionalization model. In this regard, I wish to commend the work done by the chair and members of the Committee, and to praise the constructive contribution of political parties, trade unions and civil society organizations to this particularly important project.
Consistent with what I had announced in my address on 20 August 2010, commemorating the anniversary of the Revolution the King and the People, I call on everyone to continue contributing to this general plan to bring it to maturity, through a wide-ranging, constructive national debate.
The Committee proposed a gradual approach, namely to institute advanced Regionalization through the enactment of a law, under the current institutional framework, until the right conditions are there for the constitutionalization of regionalization. However, considering our accomplishments in the area of promoting democracy, I personally consider that Morocco is in a position today to start enshrining advanced regionalization in the Constitution.
I have opted for this confident, forward-looking initiative to make sure broad regionalization will stem from the direct free will of the people, through a constitutional referendum. Ever since my accession to the Throne, I have sought to bring about the right conditions for thorough institutional reform. Accordingly, I have decided that the constitutionalization of regionalization should be based on several key guidelines, including the following:
· Give the region its rightful place in the Constitution as a territorial entity, within the framework of the uni ty of the State, the nation and the territory, keeping in mind the requirements of balance and national solidarity at inter- and intraregional levels;
· Stipulate that regional councils shall be elected through direct universal suffrage, and that regional affairs shall be run in accordance with democratic principles;
· Empower the presidents of regional councils - instead of governors and walis - to implement council decisions;
· Promote the participation of women in the management of regional affairs in particular, and the exercise of political rights in general; in this respect, the law should favour equal access by women and men to elected office;
· Review the composition and powers of the House of Councillors thoroughly and in such a way as to enhance the regions’ representation in the House. As regards the representation of trade unions and professional organizations, it remains guaranteed by several institutions, particularly the Economic and Social Council, the aim being to rationalize the performance of institutional bodies.
Our ultimate objective is to strengthen the foundations for a Moroccan regionalization system throughout the Kingdom, particularly in the Moroccan Sahara provinces. It should be based on good governance which guarantees a new, more equitable system for sharing not only powers, but also resources between the central authority and the regions. What I do not want is a ‘two-speed’ regionalization, with fortunate regions that have the resources required for their progress on the one hand, and underprivileged regions lacking the requisites for development, on the
My loyal subjects,
To ensure the efficiency of the regionalization process, I have decided that it should be part of a comprehensive constitutional reform which is designed to upgrade and revamp state institutions. Needless to say, many significant accomplishments have been made thanks to an innovative concept of authority, far-reaching political reforms, major development projects and groundbreaking, historical reconciliations. Through these achievements, we have managed to firmly establish a set of sophisticated political and institutional practices which are actually ahead of what is allowed by the current constitutional framework.
I am fully aware of the immense challenges ahead, of the legitimate aspirations expressed, and of the need to preserve accomplishments and redress inadequacies. I am just as deeply committed to giving strong momentum to the substantial reforms under way, of which a democratic constitution is both the basis and the essence. The sacred character of our immutable values, which are unanimously supported by the nation - namely Islam as the religion of a state which guarantees freedom of worship; Imarat al-Muminin (Commandership of the faithful); the monarchy; national unity and territorial integrity; and commitment to democratic principles - provides solid guarantees for a historic consensual agreement and a new charter between the Throne and the People.
Building on the above, unshakable frame of reference, I have decided to introduce a comprehensive package of constitutional amendments based on the seven key elements below:
1. Enshrine in the Constitution the rich, variegated yet unified character of the Moroccan identity, including the Amazigh component as a core element and common asset belonging to all Moroccans;
2. Consolidate the rule of law and the institution-based State; expand the scope of collective and individual freedoms and guarantee their practice; promote all types of human rights - political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as those relating to development and the environment - especially by inscribing, in the Constitution, the Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s well-founded recommendations as well as Morocco’s international commitments in this domain.
3. Elevate the judiciary to the status of an independent power and reinforce the prerogatives of the Constitutional Council to enhance the primacy of the Constitution, of the rule of law and of equality before the law;
4. Strengthen the principle of separation of powers, with the relating checks and balances, and promote the democratization, revamping and rationalization of institutions through the following:
o A parliament emerging from free, fair elections, and in which the House of Representatives plays the prominent role; expand the scope of legislative action and provide parliament with new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative and regulatory mission;
o An elected government which reflects the will of the people, through the ballot box, and which enjoys the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives;
o Confirming the appointment of the Prime Minister from the political party which wins the most seats in parliamentary election, as attested by election results;
o Consolidating the status of the Prime Minister as the head of an effective executive branch, who is fully responsible for government, civil service and the implementation of the government’s agenda;
o Enshrining, in the Constitution, the Governing Council as an institution and specifying its prerogatives;
5. Shore up constitutional mechanisms for providing guidance to citizens, by invigorating the role of political parties within the framework of an effective pluralistic system, and by bolstering the standing of parliamentary opposition as well as the role of civil society;
6. Reinforce mechanisms for boosting moral integrity in public life, and establish a link between the exercise of power and the holding of public office with oversight and accountability;
7. Enshrine in the Constitution the institutions concerned with good governance, human rights and protection of liberties.
My loyal subjects,
Consistent with a standard practice of resorting to a participatory approach in all the major reforms we have introduced so far, I have decided to set up an ad hoc committee for the revision of the Constitution. In selecting committee members, special attention will be paid to competence, impartiality and integrity. The committee will be chaired by Mr. Abdeltif Mennouni who is known for his wisdom and who has vast knowledge and great experience in constitutional and legal matters. I call on committee members to listen to political parties, trade unions, youth organizations and qualified civil society groups, intellectuals and scholars, to work closely with them and to seek their views. The committee is expected to report back to me within next June.
These general guidelines are meant to lay dawn a frame of reference for the committee’s action. Still, the committee is encouraged to show resourcefulness and creativity in order to come up with an advanced constitutional system which is suitable for Morocco, now and into the future. Until the new draft constitution is submitted to the people via referendum for adoption and implementation, and pending the establishment of the institutions to be called for in the new constitution, the existing institutions will continue to discharge their mission, in accordance with the provisions of the current Constitution.
I call on everyone to be mobilized in order to ensure the success of this crucial constitutional undertaking, to show determination, commitment and a keen sense of purpose, and to put the nation’s best interests above all other considerations. I should like to say how proud I am of the sincere patriotism shown by my loyal people across the Kingdom, by committed political parties and trade unions and by our ambitious youth. I hope the broad national debate will cover issues that are of crucial importance for the nation and the citizens.
The launching, today, of this constitutional reform is a milestone in the consolidation of our distinctive model which is based on democracy and the pursuit of development. To support this major step, we shall continue to press ahead with thorough reforms in the political, economic, social and cultural domains, and in development-related sectors. We shall see to it all institutions and agencies fulfil their mission in an optimal manner, observe good governance standards, promote social justice as best they can and foster conditions that are conducive to dignified life.
“I only desire (your) betterment to the best of my power; and my success (in my task) can only come from Allah. In Him I trust, and unto Him I look.”
True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.
Frame of reference for ad hoc committee for revision of Constitution: national immutable values, solid guarantees for historic consensual agreement and new charter between Throne and People
Rabat, March.9 – HM King Mohammed VI reiterated his deep commitment to giving strong momentum to the substantial reforms under way, of which a democratic constitution is both the basis and the essence. Recalling the sacred character of the national immutable values, which are unanimously supported by the nation, HM the King said, in a speech to the Nation on Wednesday, that a comprehensive constitutional reform should be based on the seven key elements below:
· Enshrine in the Constitution the rich, variegated yet unified character of the Moroccan identity, including the Amazigh component as a core element and common asset belonging to all Moroccans;
· Consolidate the rule of law and the institution-based State; expand the scope of collective and individual freedoms and guarantee their practice; promote all types of human rights - political, economic, social and cultural rights as well as those relating to development and the environment - especially by inscribing, in the Constitution, the Justice and Reconciliation Commission’s well-founded recommendations as well as Morocco’s international commitments in this domain.
· Elevate the judiciary to the status of an independent power and reinforce the prerogatives of the Constitutional Council to enhance the primacy of the Constitution, of the rule of law and of equality before the law;
· Strengthen the principle of separation of powers, with the relating checks and balances, and promote the democratization, revamping and rationalization of institutions through the following:
· A parliament emerging from free, fair elections, and in which the
House of Representatives plays the prominent role; expand the scope of legislative action and provide parliament with new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative and regulatory mission;
· An elected government which reflects the will of the people, through the ballot box, and which enjoys the confidence of the majority of the House of Representatives;
· Confirming the appointment of the Prime Minister from the political party which wins the most seats in parliamentary election, as attested by election results;
· Consolidating the status of the Prime Minister as the head of an effective executive branch, who is fully responsible for government, civil service and the implementation of the government’s agenda;
· Enshrining, in the Constitution, the Governing Council as an institution and specifying its prerogatives;
· Shore up constitutional mechanisms for providing guidance to citizens, by invigorating the role of political parties within the framework of an effective pluralistic system, and by bolstering the standing of parliamentary opposition as well as the role of civil society;
· Reinforce mechanisms for boosting moral integrity in public life, and establish a link between the exercise of power and the holding of public office with oversight and accountability.
· Enshrine in the Constitution the institutions concerned with good governance, human rights and protection of liberties. (MAP) HM
HM the King announces comprehensive constitutional reform, designed to consolidate democracy, Rule of Law
Rabat, March.9 – HM King Mohammed VI announced, on Wednesday in speech to the Nation, a comprehensive constitutional reform, designed to consolidate democracy and Rule of Law. (MAP) HM
HM the King: Implementation of advanced regionalization as part of unity of State, nation and territory
Rabat, March 9 (MAP) - HM King Mohammed VI underlined, on Wednesday in a speech to the Nation, that regionalization should give the region its rightful place in the Constitution as a territorial entity, within the framework of the unity of the State, the nation and the territory, keeping in mind the requirements of balance and national solidarity at inter- and intraregional levels.
The Sovereign stressed that this reform is meant to strengthen the foundations for a Moroccan regionalization system throughout the Kingdom, particularly in the Moroccan Sahara provinces. (MAP) KD
HM the King announces setting up of ad hoc committee for the revision of the Constitution
Rabat, March 9 (MAP) - HM King Mohammed VI announced, on Wednesday, the setting up of ad hoc committee for the revision of the Constitution chaired by Mr. Abdeltif Mennouni. In a speech to the nation, the Sovereign called on the committee members to listen to political parties, trade unions, youth organizations and qualified civil society groups, intellectuals and scholars, to seek their views.
“The committee is expected to report back to me within next June,” HMthe King underlined, urging the committee to show resourcefulness and creativity in order to come up with an advanced constitutional system which is suitable for Morocco, now and into the future. (MAP) KD
HM the King decides to enshrine advanced regionalization in Constitution
HM King Mohammed VI announced the launching of the next phase of the advanced regionalization process, initiated on 3 January 2010 by the setting up of the Advisory Committee on Regionalization Considering the accomplishments in the area of promoting democracy, Morocco is in a position today to start enshrining advanced regionalization in the Constitution in order to make sure that it will stem from the direct free will of the people, said the Sovereign in response to the Committee’s proposal, which urges for instituting the advanced regionalization through the enactment of a law, under the current institutional framework. (MAP) HM
HM the King decides to enshrine advanced regionalization in Constitution
Rabat - HM King Mohammed VI announced, on Wednesday in a speech to the Nation, the launching of the next phase of the advanced regionalization process, initiated on 3 January 2010 by the setting up of the Advisory Committee on Regionalization Considering the accomplishments in the area of promoting democracy, Morocco is in a position today to start enshrining advanced regionalization in the Constitution in order to make sure that it will stem from the direct free will of the people, said the Sovereign in response to the Committee’s proposal, which urges for instituting the advanced regionalization through the enactment of a law, under the current institutional framework. (MAP) HM
New set of informal talks on the Sahara late May, Ross says
Mellieha (Malta), March 9 (MAP) – The seventh set of informal talks on the Sahara will be held next May, UNSG’s Personal Envoy Christopher Ross announced on Wednesday in Malta.
“The parties decided to discuss during the next informal meeting, slated late May 2011, issues such as natural resources and mine clearance,” Ross said following the sixth set of talks held in Mellieha (Malta), March 7-9. They also examined measures of appeasement and ways to avert any provocation that might have a negative impact on the negotiation process, and agreed to take additional measures to back the job of UNSG’s Envoy for the Sahara, he added.
On the confidence-building measures, he underlined that the delegations of Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the polisario recalled in Malta the results of their meeting with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), February in Geneva, and “confirmed their support for” the UNHCR’s technical mission which will take place next April in order to create the best conditions for the organization of family visits by road on either side.
The sixth informal meeting, held in Malta, took place in an atmosphere of serious commitment, frankness, and mutual respect, Ross affirmed, noting that by the end of the session “every party continued rejecting the other’s proposal as a unique basis for upcoming negotiations.” (MAP) KD
Morocco ‘extremely disappointed’ with withdrawal of rights issue from talks on the Sahara, FM says
Mellieha (Malta), March 9 (MAP) – The Moroccan delegation expressed its “extreme disappointment” with polisario’s refusal to discuss the issue of human rights as part of UN-brokered informal talks on the Sahara, Morocco’s Foreign Minister Taieb Fassi Fihri said on Wednesday in Malta. Following the sixth set of talks, held March 7-9 in Mellieha (Malta) under the aegis of UNSG’s personal Envoy Christopher Ross, Fassi Fihri voiced Morocco’s extreme disappointment and no comprehension of the reason behind withdrawing the issue of human rights from the discussion, though it was introduced upon the request of the polisario itself during the latest set of talks last January in Manhasset, near New York.
Fassi Fihri underlined that, though the other party has expoiled this issue to “spread its propaganda here and there on this issue specifically”, “we said, here in Malta, that we were ready to tackle all dimensions of this issue to put things into perspective.” “Unfortunately, we are regretfully noting that the polisario delegation refused to discuss” with the Moroccan party this issue, although the other party is the cause of it, he added.
The Minister wondered about the reasons why the other parties chose this issue and if this was linked the law and justice prevailing in Morocco, which have been reinforced by the creation, thanks to the will of HM King Mohammed VI, of the National Council for Human Rights, an institution that meets the highest and most credible standards in terms of human rights. Armed with its achievements, the Moroccan delegation was fully available to discuss during this meeting the issue of human rights and thwart the lies and manipulations spread by the other parties outside the negotiation room, he stressed.
The Minister said that the Moroccan delegation “positively responded to Ross’s approach with a view to exploring new ways and discussing additional issues.” The Moroccan delegation, he went on, agreed to examine a number of things, including the situation of natural resources in the provinces of Sakia El Hamra and of Oued Eddahab, and Ross’s mission. Referring to natural resources, the Moroccan will tackle it to put an end to allegations concerning the so-called exploitation by Morocco of these resources, he underscored.
Fassi Fihri said that those “modest” resources, whether they are fisheries or phospahtes, became useful thanks to the State’s action, private investment and national solidarity in favor of population in the southern provinces. “We also accepted to give Ross a chance to work differently,” he underlined.
Fassi Fihri recalled that the Moroccan autonomy initiative for the Sahara was developed, anew, by the Moroccan delegation during the Malta meeting to stress its “virtues” as an approach of realism and compromise which will enable the sons of this land, which is dear to us, to reunite after several decades of separation.
Morocco will use the next set of talks, late May, to continue its argumentation to convince the UN party of the importance and credibility of Morocco’s initiative which falls within the framework of the implementation of relevent UN’s resolutions, mainly resolution 1920. (MAP) KD
Sixth set of informal talks on the Sahara ends in Malta
Mellieha (Malta), March 9 (MAP) - The sixth set of informal talks on the Sahara, which started on Monday in Mellieha, a town north-western Malta Island, upon the invitation of UN Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy Christopher Ross, ended on Wednesday. This new set of talks was held behind closed doors with the attendance of delegation from Morocco, Algeria, Mauritania and the polisario and ended with a declaration from Ross to the press.
The Moroccan delegation to this meeting is made up of Foreign Minister Taïb Fassi Fihri, Director General of intelligence agency Mohamed Yassine Mansouri, and Secretary General of the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs (CORCAS) Maouelainin Khalihanna Maouelainin.
The sixth set of informal talks was meant to enable parties “develop concrete ideas that were presented and initially discussed” during the latest informal talks held January 21-23 in Manhasset, near New York. After the failure of four sets of formal official talks, Ross, successor to Van Walsum who resigned saying that the option of independence was not workable, proposed holding restricted informal talks to break the blockade.
These sets of talks, inaugurated in August 2009 in Austria, are aimed at preparing for the fifth set of official talks seeking to find a final political solution to the regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. They are part of the implementation of UNSC’s resolutions 1813 (2008), 1871 (2009) and 1920 (2010) which call upon the parties to enter into a phase of intense and substantial negotiations. Before the Malta meeting, five meetings were succesively held in August 2009, in Austrian town Durnstein (near Vienna), in February 2010 in Armonk, near New York, in November, then in December 2010 and January 2011 in Manhasset, in New York suburbs. (MAP) KD
HRH Princess Lalla Amina chairs signing ceremony of partnership agreement between FRMSE and Youth Ministry
Rabat, March 9 (MAP) – HRH Princess Lalla Amina, Chairwoman of the Royal Moroccan Equestrian Federation (FRMSE) chaired, on Wednesday in Rabat, the signing ceremony of a cooperation and partnership agreement between the FRMSE and the Ministry of Youth and sports. The agreement, inked by Princess Lalla Amina and Minister of Youth and sports Moncef Belkhayat, is aimed at setting up a joint action plan meant to develop equestrian sport in Morocco and contribute to boosting its influence worldwide.
Under the agreement, the Ministry will grant the Federation a 3.5 million dirham-subsidy, including 2 millions for revamping the horse racing field of the Dar Es-Salam Royal Complex for Equestrian Sports and Tbourida to meet international standards in force. The Federation commits to identifying means necessary to developing this sport and boosting Morocco’s place among pioneer countries in this field. (MAP) KD