SOURCE: Moroccan American Center for Policy

July 30, 2015 16:53 ET

Morocco Celebrates 16 Years of Progress Under King Mohammed VI's Leadership

King Mohammed Sets Forth Detailed Domestic and Foreign Policy Priorities on Education, Development, Security, Governance

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 30, 2015) - Today marks the 16th anniversary of the reign of King Mohammed VI, who ascended the throne in 1999 and ushered in an era of accelerated political, social, and economic reforms in Morocco.

Under his leadership, Morocco has witnessed substantial progress on political reform and human rights -- from the Arab world's first Truth and Reconciliation Commission to one of the region's most progressive laws on women's and family rights, and the 2011 Constitution that strengthened democratic institutions.

Morocco's economy has also flourished during this time. The country's Gross Domestic Product has more than doubled; it has become an emerging leader in the fields of renewable energy production, aeronautics, and automobile manufacturing; and its efforts to combat hunger and poverty have resulted in its early achievement of the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.

In a very personal message to the Moroccan people delivered in a speech on the occasion, the King lauded the country's progress, but remained focused on doing more for the country's marginalized. "All that has been achieved, no matter how significant it is, remains insufficient for our country, as long as there is a category of the population still living in dire conditions and feeling marginalized… It is true that this category is getting smaller and smaller, but I want to see to it that all citizens benefit from the nation's wealth," he insisted. He also demonstrated his ongoing attention to Moroccan communities living abroad by calling for the "implementation of the constitutional provisions relating to their representation in consultative institutions and participative democracy and governance bodies."

With a similar personal appeal, the King specifically called on the Moroccan people to fight against extremism and terrorism by safeguarding the universal and human values they fought for. "It is a national duty and a religious obligation for you to safeguard your identity and remain committed to the Sunni, Maliki rite that the Moroccan people have inherited from their forefathers. Today, in keeping with the same values, we are fighting against extremism and terrorism… Let no one from outside the country give you lessons on how to live your faith."

The King once again reiterated the importance of education and the need for its reform as "the future of the nation depends on the quality of education we provide for our children." Stating that "the world recognizes Moroccan's flair for languages," he vehemently denied that "openness to foreign languages and cultures will undermine our national identity," and called for education reform to aim "primarily at enabling students to acquire knowledge, skills and national and foreign languages, particularly in scientific and technical curricula, in order to be active members of society."

Speaking to Morocco's territorial integrity, the King expressed his satisfaction with progress made under the United Nations settlement process, and announced that the country "shall start implementing the advanced regionalization scheme as well as the development model for the Kingdom's Southern Provinces."

Highlighting Morocco's diplomatic agenda, the King cited his engagement with Africa to "[shape] an economic cooperation model based on shared interest and a desire to improve the quality of life of African citizens." He likewise emphasized the need "to achieve negotiated solutions in Yemen, Syria, Iraq and Libya with the participation of all the stakeholders concerned," and reaffirmed his continued support for the Palestinians "in their efforts to achieve their legitimate rights and set up an independent Palestinian State." He lauded the country's "exceptional partnership with France," "neighborly relations with Spain," and its desire for "deepening and enriching its relations with Russia and China."

Regarding Morocco's special and historic relationship with the United States, he reiterated his desire to "consolidate our strategic partnership with the United States of America, which is rooted in the values and principles that our two peoples have in common and believe in."

"Morocco has been on an upward trajectory of political, economic, and societal reform and progress, and as evidenced by the speech, King Mohammed VI is determined to continue on that path," said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. "The US could not have a stronger ally for peace, security, and freedom than King Mohammed VI."

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.

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