Washington, DC (September 26, 2014) — In a speech delivered to the UN General Assembly by Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane on September 25, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called for a new approach to helping developing countries achieve secure, sustainable economic and political stability – based on respect for their abilities and understanding of their unique environments.
“Sustainable development is not something which can be achieved through decisions and ready-made prescriptions,” he said. “Nor is there a single model in this area. Each country follows a path of its own, having taken into consideration its historical development, cultural heritage, human and natural resources, specific political circumstances, as well as its economic choices and the obstacles and challenges facing it.
“There can be no stability without development,” he continued. “By the same token, development cannot be achieved without stability. Both hinge on respect for the sovereignty of states, their territorial integrity, culture and customs, as well as on a dignified life for their citizens.”
Too often, the King noted, aid to developing countries is contingent on criteria “far removed . . . from the reality of the countries of the South and . . . incapable . . . of giving an objective account of the level of human development achieved by these countries.” This speech, he said, “is simply an earnest call to do justice to the countries of the South by reconsidering the way they are dealt with and supporting them in their gradual march towards progress.”
King Mohammed VI reiterated his appeal to Africa itself “to turn the page on the past and overcome its political, economic and social problems” and “to rely on its own resources to achieve its development.” He pointed to Morocco’s recent agreement with Gabon on fertilizer production for African markets to promote development and food security as “an outstanding model of South-South cooperation which reflects our capacity as African countries to develop the continent….”
“At a time of great peril in the region and the world, King Mohammed VI has once again shown his keen understanding of the conditions necessary to create stable, sustainable democracy and development, as well as his deep commitment to working with Morocco’s sister countries in Africa to achieve those goals,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Ed Gabriel. “Morocco and King Mohammed VI have made a strategic, long-term decision to persevere on such an irreversible path towards democracy, openness and reform. The West has an obligation to ask Morocco and other countries pursuing these goals ‘how can we help you go further,’ rather than criticizing what has not yet been achieved.”
The King concluded with an assessment of the urgency of the situation: “The world stands at a crossroads today. Either the international community supports developing countries to help them achieve progress and ensure security and stability, or we shall all face the consequences of more conflicts and greater fanaticism, violence and terrorism – all of which feed on feelings of injustice and exclusion – and no part of the world shall be safe.
“As the world grows more acutely aware of the cross-border threats posed by the lack of sustainable and human development, and as we realize that ours is ultimately a common destiny, I am sure there will be a global awakening regarding the need to work for a more secure, more equitable and more humane world.”
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