Washington, DC, August 1, 2016 (MACP) — In a speech to the nation on July 30 marking the 17th anniversary of his reign, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI lauded “what we have managed to achieve, a construction and development site and an oasis of security and stability, despite an international context characterized by a succession of crises and increasing tensions.” The King spelled out domestic and foreign policy priorities—including economic development, Morocco’s bid to return to the African Union, and the future of the Western Sahara—while urging citizens to participate in the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“During the last 17 years, we have managed to implement thorough political reforms and carry out major economic and human development projects, which have reshaped the country,” he said. “There is still much more to do, particularly as we are entering a new era, starting with the upcoming parliamentary elections…
“Citizens are the core element in the electoral process, not the parties, nor the candidates. Citizens are the source of power, which they delegate to their representatives. They have the power to hold them to account and replace them, on the basis of what they have achieved during their mandate. I therefore urge voters to act in good conscience and to have in mind the citizens’ and nation’s interest during the [elections]….”
The King warned against political corruption, saying that “power is based on accountability, through monitoring and control mechanisms, law enforcement and, for elected officials, through elections and citizens’ trust” and that “society, with all its components, has to fight corruption by rejecting it, publicly exposing those who are involved in it and educating its members to stay away from it….”
Noting that political progress “needs to be supported by development,” the King urged “all stakeholders, from public and private sectors alike” to “boost the competitiveness of our national economy,” and welcomed the “increase in the number of international companies which have decided to invest in Morocco.”
On the Western Sahara, King Mohammed VI called 2016 a “’year of determination’ as far as our territorial integrity is concerned,” saying that Morocco will “remain open and ever ready to engage in constructive dialogue in order to find a final political settlement to this artificial dispute.” The King reiterated that Morocco’s recent decision to return to the African Union does not mean that “Morocco will relinquish its legitimate rights” on this issue. Rather, “[Morocco’s] return to its natural place reflects our keenness to continue defending our interests from within the African Union and to enhance cooperation with our partners, at the bilateral and regional levels.”
The King highlighted Morocco’s status “as a valued and cherished partner, thanks to its development and political model, as well as its role as a major player in promoting security and stability in the region and defending the cause of Africa,” citing the country’s role as co-chair of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, and its upcoming role as host of the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22).
“I have known and worked closely with King Mohammed VI ever since he ascended the throne on July 30, 1999, and have watched as he has led Morocco steadily on the path of modernization and democracy,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “The country today is a beacon of stability in the region, a force for progress in Africa, and a steadfast ally of the US.”
Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.