Archive for July, 2011
Algiers – Morocco and Algeria signed, on Sunday, a commercial contract on the delivery of Algerian natural gas to the power plants of Ain Béni Mathar and Tahaddart.
Under this contract, 640 millions of cubic meters of gas will be delivered on an annual basis over 10 years.
The gas will flow through the gazoduc Pedro Duran Farell (GPDF) pipeline linking Algeria’s gas fields to the Iberian peninsula through Morocco.
The delivery will supply the Ain Beni Mathar power plants with 470 mw and Tahaddart with 385mw.
The contract was signed in Algiers by Director General of the National electricity utility (ONE) Ali Fassi Fihri and the CEO of Algerian state-owned hydrocarbon group Sonatrach, Nourredinne Cherouati.
Tel Aviv, Israel (CNN) - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced Sunday he will gather a round table to form a plan aimed at easing the financial burden on Israeli citizens in the wake of protests across the country.
Netanyahu said he will invite representatives of various groups and sectors to join a special ministerial team that will propose a “practical plan to alleviate Israelis’ economic burden” and come up with solutions.
Tens of thousands of Israelis took to the streets Saturday night in ten major cities to rail against soaring costs to the middle class in the Jewish state. The ongoing campaign is the latest and most extensive civil protest in recent years. (more…)
In this Sunday Feb. 27, 2011 file picture, pro-independence Polisario Front rebel soldiers parade in the Western Sahara village of Tifariti to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the RASD (Saharawi Arab Democratic Republic). After Spanish colonizers left Western Sahara in 1975, Morocco and Mauritania went to war over it. By 1979, Mauritania had pulled out and Morocco had taken over. The U.N. established a mission in Western Sahara in 1991 to oversee a referendum by the region’s estimated 500,000 residents and monitor a cease-fire between Moroccan and independence forces. But Morocco has rejected a self-determination vote, instead proposing wide-ranging autonomy for the territory it characterizes as historically Moroccan. (AP Photo/Arturo Rodriguez)
MUSCAT: His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said has sent a cable of congratulations to King Mohammed VI of Morocco on the occasion of the Throne Day anniversary.
In his cable, His Majesty the Sultan expressed his sincere congratulations along with his best wishes of good health, happiness and long life to King Mohammed VI, praying to Allah the Almighty for the return of this and similar occasions on him to achieve further progress for the Moroccan people under his wise leadership.
Last minute holidays specialist Packyourbags.com sees a positive return to Morocco booking levels since the Marrakesh bomb attack in April 2011.
Packyourbags.com is pleased to report holiday bookings to Morocco are returning to a level that is more in keeping with this time of year following the terrible Marrakesh bomb attack, which took place on 28 April 2011 killing 17 people and injuring 25.
With the explosion taking place at Cafe Argana, located in one of Marrakesh’s most popular tourist spots – Jema el-Fna square, it was certainly intended to hit one of Morocco’s most important industries – tourism.
Packyourbags.com’s Managing Director Mark Kempster who was in Marrakesh at the time of the attack commented, “To see our booking levels to Morocco return to what we are used to at this time of year is really encouraging. Not only do we promote travel to this beautiful country but it’s a personal favourite of mine too, and the bomb attack was very sad news for Marrakesh and Morocco. However, recent figures show our bookings are bouncing back which is fantastic news and once again I think this demonstrates just how resilient British holidaymakers are”. (more…)
Rabat – Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called on Saturday for speedy elections and the reopening of his country’s border with Algeria in his first throne speech since a referendum voted to curb some of his prerogatives.
In the July 1 referendum, more than 98 percent of Moroccans approved a set of political reforms backed by the king following a series of youth-led, pro-democracy demonstrations in several cities.
In the annual speech on the anniversary of his 1999 coronation, the king said elections should be held soon, warning that any delay threatened the “dynamic of confidence” generated by the widely-backed reforms.
The date of the upcoming elections is a subject of regular negotiations between the interior ministry and the country’s political parties but has remained undetermined so far. (more…)
RABAT (Reuters) – Morocco’s King Mohammed renewed calls on Saturday to normalise ties and reopen borders with wealthier neighbour Algeria, saying that Rabat wants to build an integrated North African economic bloc.
After revolts swept away long-serving rulers in Tunisia and Egypt, rich Gulf dynasties invited fellow Sunni Arab monarchies Jordan and Morocco to join their Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) as they seek ways to combat domestic unrest and a perceived threat from non-Arab Shi’ite Muslim Iran. (more…)
Morocco’s King Mohammed VI has vowed to hold parliamentary elections soon, though without specifying when, as pro-democracy activists press for further reform in the wake of the July 1 constitutional referendum. (more…)
HM King Mohammed VI delivered a speech to the nation, on Saturday in Tangier, on the occasion of the twelfth anniversary of the Throne Day.
(CNN) - Weeks after Moroccans voted to approve a referendum on constitutional reforms, the country’s king called for new parliamentary elections to be held soon.
King Mohammed VI said the new political agenda should be in accordance with results of the elections.
Earlier this month, voters approved a constitutional reform that would weaken the king’s powers and boost those of the government.
Under the referendum, voters are empowered to select a prime minister, ending the longstanding practice in which the king has selected his own man for the job. Also under the reforms, Morocco will have an independent judiciary and provide equal rights for women.
“In the near future, priority should be given to the adoption of new laws regarding institutions on the legislative, executive, and judicial levels,” the king said.
Inspired by the so-called “Arab Spring” movements in the Middle East and North Africa, thousands of young Moroccans have taken to the streets in recent months. The youth-based February 20 movement wants jobs and an end to corruption.
RABAT (AFP) — Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called Saturday for the reopening of his country’s border with Algeria and prompt elections, weeks after winning support in a referendum to curb some of his prerogatives.
In the July 1 referendum, more than 98 percent of Moroccans approved a set of political reforms backed by the king following a series of youth-led, pro-democracy demonstrations in several cities.
In the annual speech on the anniversary of his 1999 coronation, the king said elections should be held soon. Any delay threatened the “dynamic of confidence” generated by the reforms, he said.
The date of the upcoming elections, the subject of regular negotiations between the interior ministry and the country’s political parties, has yet to be fixed. (more…)
Tangier – HM King Mohammed VI delivered a speech to the nation, on Saturday in Tangier, on the occasion of the twelfth anniversary of the Throne Day.
Here follows the full text of the Royal speech (Click Here to see video);
Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
We are all proud and delighted to celebrate the 12th anniversary of my accession to the throne, under the rule of a new Constitution which has been chosen by the nation, its King and people, and endorsed by referendum as a renovated charter which consolidates the bonds uniting the throne and the people.
I should like, first, to say how pleased I am with the massive turnout for this referendum. Whether in cities or villages, at home or abroad, whether individually or in groups, women or men, young people or adults, political parties, trade unions or associations, be it the Advisory Committee, the Political Mechanism, or intellectual elites, all Moroccan stakeholders were actively involved in effecting such a fundamental change. This achievement is the outcome of a deliberate, independent decision by the nation, and it is a source of pride for all Moroccans, as it reflects the uniqueness of the internationally acclaimed Moroccan model.
I should also like to pay tribute to all the public authorities and diplomatic missions of the Kingdom for their dedicated endeavor to ensure the smooth organization of the constitutional referendum, in full compliance with the law and with the requirements of probity, transparency and neutrality.
Our people have now sanctioned the new Constitution – with its pioneering, groundbreaking contents – making it a Constitution for all Moroccans. In this address, I will therefore focus on the stage which usually comes after the adoption process, namely the enforcement stage. In this regard, I want you to know that I am committed to ensuring and guaranteeing that the letter and spirit of the Constitution are observed and acted upon fully and in the best possible way.
Yet, no constitution, however flawless it may be, is an end in itself. It is rather a basis upon which a new political pact can be built and capitalized on to uphold the rule of law, human rights and good governance, and bolster development, through efficient, credible institutions.
No matter how efficient they may be, institutions will remain nominal so long as their work has no tangible impact on the nation – in terms of preserving its sovereignty, security, unity, development and prosperity – or on the citizens – in terms of ensuring freedom, equality, dignity and social justice.
Although we have achieved the major national ambition of ushering in a new era of democracy, the greatest challenge ahead is to coach and mobilize all stakeholders, with a view to making this Constitution a concrete reality in everyday life, and ensuring that it reflects the democratization of the state as well as society. It should open up new, promising prospects for everyone to enjoy a dignified life, especially our young people and the working class.
To address the forthcoming challenges, our main asset lies in the unwavering faith we have in our immutable national values, and in the full confidence we nurture in ourselves and our capabilities. It resides in the credibility of our institutions, the relevance of our options, the dynamism of our society and the sustainability of our endeavours. It also consists in making the best of the climate of trust fostered by a massive approval of the Constitution.
To discharge my constitutional mission and ensure the proper functioning of the institutions, I must, at this important stage, see to it that they are set up in good conditions, as soon as possible, on the basis of three fundamentals:
- First: displaying commitment to the overriding status of the letter and spirit of the Constitution, as the single, appropriate way to ensure its enforcement. Therefore, any practices or interpretations which are inconsistent with its democratic substance, shall be dismissed as unacceptable breaches of the joint will of the King and the people.
- Second, fostering a sound political climate, consonant with the new Morocco which has emerged as a result of the Constitution, as a highly confident, industrious, audacious, determined nation; a nation full of enthusiasm and hope, determined to translate the substantive provisions of this pioneering Constitution into tangible reality.
- Third, endeavoring in a positive, consensual spirit to ensure that the institutions provided for in the Constitution are operational and effective. This can be achieved through proper preparation and endorsement of the necessary legislation, in addition to political reforms from which will emerge, a new, sound political and institutional setup that will be attuned to our advanced Constitution and will help us to avoid the flaws and failures which tarnish the current political landscape.
Any procrastination is bound to imperil this confidence-building momentum. It would jeopardize the development opportunities created by the new reform and undermine the chances for our great people to enjoy a decent life. Furthermore, any delay would be incompatible with the Constitution’s transitional provisions, which necessarily have a temporary character.
I therefore call on all stakeholders concerned to adopt a well-defined timetable which will enable them and all citizens to have a clear vision with a view to setting up the above-mentioned constitutional institutions in the short and medium terms.
In the short term, priority should be given to passing new laws pertaining to the legislative, executive and judicial institutions.
In this connection, the first step should be to elect the new members of the House of Representatives. Based on the result of this election, and in compliance with the provisions of the Constitution, I shall appoint the Head of Government from the party which won the most seats in this poll.
It will then be possible – with God’s help – to form a new government from a coherent, solidarity-bound parliamentary majority.
As for the House of Councilors, its establishment will be contingent upon the passing of organic and legislative bills related to advanced regionalization, as well as to the other local governments and the second House itself. It will also depend on the holding of elections concerning it, within a specific time-frame. The last leg in the process will be the setting up, by the end of 2012, of a House of Councilors with its new membership.
In this regard, I urge all actors concerned to contribute constructively to the creation of the relevant conditions, so that the various electoral operations may proceed in sequential order and in compliance with the values of probity and transparency. They should all display a keen sense of responsibility, placing the higher interests of the nation and the citizens above any other consideration.
Since the establishment of an independent Judiciary has been sanctioned by the new Constitution, it is necessary to work, in the foreseeable future, for the passing of legislation pertaining to the Higher Council of Judicial Power and the Constitutional Court.
As for the medium-term, the general upgrading of legislative work remains one of the key projects that must be set in motion by the government and parliament before the term of the next legislature expires. It is therefore necessary to draw up a clearly defined road-map for the preparation and endorsement of organic laws, and for the setting-up of relevant human rights and development-related institutions.
Although it is quite natural that the optimal implementation of the new Constitution be hampered, like any historical process, by some difficulties and pitfalls, it is the duty of all and everyone to act as responsible, social-minded citizens and display dedication and commitment in the joint effort to build this pioneering constitutional edifice. Confidence and the sense of belonging must prevail over the darkness of pessimism, nihilism and outdated misleading practices.
Completing the overall institutional set-up provided for in the new Constitution requires determined efforts to revamp and upgrade the political landscape, and to capitalize on the climate of confidence in order to rehabilitate political involvement and action in our country.
Political parties from the majority as well as the opposition, whose standing has been enhanced by the new Constitution as pivotal players in the democratic process, are called upon to help reconcile the citizens – especially young people – with politics, in the noble sense of the word. They should work within political parties, whose mission, under the Constitution, consists, among other things, in helping voters voice their will. They may also join government institutions which exercise executive powers, or the parliamentary institution, which enjoys wide prerogatives in terms of law-making and control of government action. In addition, they may work within the various bodies and organs which play a part in local, participatory, citizen-centered democracy.
Furthermore, political stakeholders should, under the new constitutional set-up, compete with each other in efforts to develop distinctive societal projects and translate them into creative, pragmatic programs. They should choose qualified elites who have the skills and the ability to run public affairs efficiently at the national, regional and local levels.
However, given the principles enshrined in the new Constitution, whereby political decisions are contingent upon the result of the electoral process, the citizens – men and women alike – must assume the challenging responsibility of choosing carefully the right people to represent them.
Everyone should be aware that it is the parties, chosen by the people, as well as the institutions established by the people’s own free will, that are expected to exercise power on behalf of the people, and that the decisions they will be making throughout their term of office with respect to the management of public affairs will actually be the people’s.
Elected officers should always keep in mind that responsibility goes hand in hand with accountability. This rule has gained overriding constitutional status, involving possible penal sanctions and binding moral standards.
In addition, efforts should be made to ensure that civil society and the media play an effective role in the construction of this political, human rights and development-oriented project, in compliance with the new Constitution. They should, thus, be in a position to discharge their duties efficiently, making relevant recommendations and contributing, as key partners, to the consolidation of this edifice.
The new constitutional and political pact, and the integrated system of rights and duties it guarantees, would remain purely formal if it were not supported by a social and economic contract based on solidarity, which would enable every citizen to feel the positive impact of these rights on his or her daily life as well as on the nation’s progress.
The implementation of the mechanisms instituted by the new Constitution must not obscure the need to press ahead with development efforts. In fact, thanks to the good governance upon which it is based, the new Constitution should serve as a powerful tool to accelerate the development process, ensuring, at the same time, the preservation of macro-economic and financial balances, which has now become a constitutional imperative.
The expanded economic, social, cultural and environmental rights stipulated in the Constitution mean we have to pursue our endeavors in order to rise to the greatest challenge of all, namely fight unemployment, poverty, precariousness and illiteracy. To this end, a new generation of comprehensive reforms needs to be set in motion, so that each citizen may more easily enjoy the above rights, particularly worthwhile education, productive employment, medical coverage and decent housing, live in a healthy environment and benefit from human development projects, especially through the optimal implementation of the programs falling under the National Initiative for Human Development.
We have to realize that the new economic pact implies a duty to promote the productive economy as well as free enterprise, namely by encouraging small and medium-sized businesses, consistent with the spirit of the new Constitution. Indeed, the rule of law in the corporate sector and a series of rights have been enshrined in the Constitution, which also provides for the setting up of several economic institutions that not only guarantee private enterprise, fair competition and the moralization of public life, but also introduce ways and means to fight monopoly, undue privileges, rent-seeking, mismanagement and corruption.
The Kingdom’s new supreme law, which enshrines the nation’s commitment to universal ideals and international instruments, and which asserts that international conventions and treaties – as ratified by the Kingdom – have primacy over national legislation, is a powerful tool that should enhance our diplomacy, help it serve the just causes of the nation, and increase its influence at regional and international levels.
I firmly believe this major institutional, development-oriented stride, which sets the stage for extensive regionalization and expanded territorial governance in all of the Kingdom’s regions, including our southern provinces, will shore up the Autonomy Initiative as a final, political solution to the artificial dispute over our Sahara; a solution which should be based on serious negotiations and on a spirit of consensus and realism, within the framework of the United Nations Organization, and in cooperation with the UN Secretary-General and his Personal Envoy.
The question of our territorial integrity will remain the foremost priority in our foreign and domestic policy, and we will continue to defend our country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, which are not negotiable.
In keeping with the unwavering principles guiding our foreign policy, and which I have sought to reinforce since my accession to the throne, I remain deeply committed to serving the best interests of the nation, to strengthening its ties with the region to which it belongs, and to promoting its international relations, irrespective of the constraints imposed by a turbulent international environment and difficult regional circumstances.
Strengthening Morocco’s adherence to the international human rights set-up, following the confirmation of the rules of good governance in the new Constitution, is likely to enhance our country’s credibility as an economic partner with a strong potential for attracting foreign investment. In this respect, our country can count on an important track record in terms of forging partnerships and concluding free trade agreements with neighboring countries as well as with other influential economic powerhouses and groupings.
As for ties with the countries in our region, we shall remain committed to the strategic, legitimate, integrated and irreversible choice of building the Maghreb Union; we shall do all we can to overcome the obstacles that, regrettably, are still impeding the accomplishment of the Maghreb Union, within the framework of a healthy, dependable process.
In this respect, Morocco will spare no effort to develop its bilateral relations with the region’s countries. We take note, in this regard, of the current positive developments in ministerial and sector-specific meetings with the sister nation Algeria.
True to the time-honored, brotherly bonds between our two peoples, and being eager to fulfill the aspirations of our young generations, I am committed to the launching of a new dynamic action for the settlement of all outstanding issues. This should be a prelude to a full normalization of bilateral relations between the two sister nations, including the re-opening of land borders; to this end, we should avoid inertia and reclusiveness, which are, indeed, incompatible with good neighborly relations, Maghreb integration and the expectations of the international community and of countries in the region.
As a member of the Arab-Islamic world, Morocco is following with concern the changes unfolding in some sister nations in the Arab world, and is of the view that we have no alternative but to address issues and challenges in a bold, forward-looking manner, building on constructive, consensual dialogue. We have to go beyond traditional approaches – which have shown their limitations and futility – in order to contain the risks looming over security and territorial integrity.
To serve the vital interests of the Arab nation, we have, above all, to rely on cooperation, complementarity and optimal partnerships between the countries and regional groupings making up the Arab world.
The Palestinian cause continues to be a top concern for us, especially at this juncture, as the constructive positions of certain world powers, coupled with the expected benefits of inter-Palestinian reconciliation have sparked fresh, immense hopes.
As President of the Al-Quds Committee, I call upon the Quartet to shoulder its responsibilities at this critical juncture in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I should like to reaffirm, in this regard, that a just, lasting and comprehensive peace in the Middle East hinges on guaranteeing the right of all peoples in the area to freedom, stability and prosperity. It also depends on the establishment of a viable, independent Palestinian State, with East Al-Quds as its capital.
As for the relations stemming from our African roots and their promising potential, I am keen to ensure our country continues to apply a vibrant approach based on solidarity and the promotion of security and stability, particularly in the Sahel and Sahara region. We want to make sure the right conditions are being created for human development that improves the lives of Africans, thus contributing to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
The events and changes taking place in countries in the Southern Mediterranean confirm the need for a qualitative leap in the North-South partnership. The aim is to promote an integrated, solidarity-based environment conducive to human and economic cooperation, in which the peoples of the region would share a common commitment to the ideals of democracy and mutual development.
Morocco’s multiform partnership with the European Union could serve as a source of inspiration for the development of such a balanced, mutually beneficial approach.
Morocco will pursue its cooperation with other partners in the Americas and Asia, through fruitful, strategic partnerships which contribute to the dynamism of our partnership relations around the world.
At such an historic moment which signals the dawn of a new constitutional era, I have a special thought for the hero of the country’s liberation and independence, my revered grandfather, His late Majesty King Mohammed V, my venerated father, His late Majesty King Hassan II, the founder of modern Morocco, and the valiant martyrs of the homeland. May they rest in peace.
I should like to pay tribute to the Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the National Police Force, the regional and local governments, the Auxiliary Forces and the Emergency Services for their unswerving dedication and mobilization to defend the nation’s territorial integrity, sovereignty and security.
Given that each epoch has its men, women and institutions, I believe the 2011 Constitution, which is a next-generation Constitution, requires a new generation of skilled elites, who are imbued with a new culture and new ethical and political values grounded in patriotism, committed citizenship as well as a keen sense of responsibility and dedication to public interest.
The new Constitution requires bold policies to safeguard our achievements, redress shortcomings and press ahead with comprehensive reforms.
This is the best way to fulfill our shared ambition, that of building a new, united, prosperous Morocco, which enables all citizens to enjoy full-fledged citizenship, preserves the dignity of its sons and daughters, and safeguards the nation’s unity and sovereignty.
“Our Lord! Bestow on us Mercy from Yourself, and dispose of our affair for us in the right way!” True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.
Tetuan — HM King Mohammed VI, Supreme Commander and Chief of Staff of the Royal Armed Forces (FAR), received, on Friday in Tetuan, the president of the FAR promotion commission, General Abdelaziz Bennani, Inspector General of the FAR and Commander of the southern zone.
A statement of the FAR General Staff said that Abdelaziz Bennani handed HM the King the output of the commission regarding all FAR staff promotion: Land – Air – Sea – Gendarmerie.
The president of the commission had received royal instructions on promotion criteria, the statement recalled.
HM the King approved the promotion list and congratulated the newly promoted staff. The Sovereign also called on FAR staff to remain loyal, while they carry out their noble duty, to the Kingdom’s sacred motto: God – the Homeland – the King, the statement added.
Rabat — Japan loaned Morocco 2.3 billion dirhams (about $ 291 million) to fund drinking water projects and the national rural road program II.
An exchange of notes was signed, on Friday in Rabat, between the Moroccan and the Japanese governments by the secretary general of the Economy and Finance Ministry, Khalid Safir, and Japan’s ambassador in Rabat, Toshinori Yanagiya.
The two loan agreements were signed by Chief Representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Eihiko Obata, and the Managing Director of the national drinking water company (ONEP), Ali Fassi Fihri, on the one hand, and the Director of the Fund for road financing (CFR), Ahmed Imzal, on the other. (more…)
Kuwait Telecommunications Company Viva, is continuing its support to different nationalities in Kuwait by celebrating their national holidays. On the 30th to the 31st of July, Viva is celebrating the Kingdom of Morocco’s Throne Day.
Viva is having a two day celebration where prepaid customers have the opportunity to call Morocco for 50fils per minute after the third minute on their calls.
Viva continues to remain active in the aim to raise awareness of important worldly events, and will promote the celebration of each country’s national celebrations. (more…)