His Majesty the King stresses that thanks to constructive dynamic path created by the Moroccan brave autonomy shows full compatibility between the efforts of the Kingdom and the international community's desire to attain, quickly, a realistic and viable compromise, through extensive and substantial negotiations, involving all interested parties honestly and in good faith , in the framework of resolution 1813, sponsored by the United Nations.
Having stated the various stages of the Moroccan initiative and its support by the international community, convinced of the disqualification non-applicability of previous proposals for a settlement, describing the Moroccan proposal as serious and credible, His Majesty explained that, in order to find a solution to this dispute, Morocco showed sincere will to settle the territorial dispute over the Sahara, and establish good bilateral relations with Algeria.
In this regard, His Majesty the King expresses regret about the fact that the official position of Algeria «seeks to disrupt the virtuous momentum of the Moroccan, harnessing its energies to the perpetuation of the status quo characterized by the balkanization of the Maghreb and Sahel region, while regional and global changes impose union to overcome development and security challenges ».
(News on Western Sahara issue / Corcas)
Praise be to God Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
My loyal subjects,
Today we are celebrating the thirty-third anniversary of the glorious Green March. This epic event, which illustrated the close bond between the Throne and the people, not only made it possible for Morocco to recover its Sahara, but it was also a defining moment in our country's contemporary history. Indeed, it has given new momentum to democracy in our country and strengthened our unanimous commitment to the founding values of the nation.
Ever since I undertook the sacred mission of leading the nation, I have sought to enhance that commitment through innovative approaches which are deeply-rooted in a firm belief that the question of the Sahara is the sacred responsibility of all Moroccans. This issue, which is our foremost priority, requires good local governance in our Saharan provinces, broad-based participation in the management of our national cause, and dedicated efforts to enhance the spirit of unity underlying that commitment, through a firm resolve to promote development and solidarity.
At international level, Morocco has adopted a policy which shows our country is the only party to have responded to the calls the international community has been making since the late 1990s, urging all the parties concerned to take steps to break the impasse and resolve the artificial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara. The international community called for a third-track compromise solution, one which is based on shelving previous settlement proposals once and for all. Indeed, it became clear to the international community that those proposals were, for objective reasons, neither suitable nor applicable.
The highlight of our country’s efforts, which have been duly acknowledged by the international community, was the forward-looking autonomy initiative. I was keen to make sure democratic participation was the hallmark of that initiative throughout the preparation phases, seeing to it that all political parties as well as the nation’s stakeholders and all representative institutions in our southern provinces had a say in it.
As such, the initiative belongs to all Moroccans, especially our citizens in the Saharan provinces. It paved the way for reconciliation with their brothers and sisters who returned to the homeland, so that they, together with the region’s inhabitants, may take charge of their local affairs.
I also wanted the international community to be involved in the consultations leading to the development of that initiative. As a result, and thanks to the encouragement and support of the international community, several UN and international institutions have, since, reconsidered their stance on the issue.
Chief among these was the Security Council, which adopted a unanimous stand and passed several resolutions endorsing our country’s initiative. The most recent one, resolution 1813, commended our serious and credible efforts and gave preference to our initiative, thereby discarding all other obsolete, unrealistic proposals, which lack any real vision for the future.
This dynamic, constructive process has shown that the Kingdom’s efforts are fully consistent with the international community’s wish for a realistic, applicable and mutually acceptable solution to be quickly found, thanks to intensive, substantive negotiations carried out within the framework of resolution 1813, under the aegis of the United Nations and with the participation of all the parties concerned.
To find a way out of the deadlock, Morocco has shown that it is genuinely willing to make a distinction between the regional dispute over the Sahara and a desire for improved bilateral relations with Algeria.
Regrettably, the official policy of this country has been to thwart the positive thrust generated by the Moroccan initiative, using its energies to maintain the status quo, with the risk of balkanization of the Maghreb and Sahel regions, at a time when profound regional and global changes require us to rally together to tackle decisive development challenges and security risks.
The continued rejection not only of all Moroccan steps to normalize relations, but also those proposed by sister and friendly nations, including influential members of the international community, is, from both a historical and geographical perspective, quite illogical; as illogical, in fact, as the closed borders between the two sister nations.
Our keen desire to have open borders and normal relations stems from a firm commitment to brotherhood and good neighbourliness, from our attachment to people’s right to free movement and exchange, and from our eagerness to achieve the integration of Maghreb countries, which is inevitable.
Whatever the circumstances, the Kingdom of Morocco will remain true to its cultural identity as an open nation, encouraged and inspired by the credibility enjoyed by the Moroccan model at regional and international levels.
We are proud of the unprecedented decision to grant Morocco an advanced status in its partnership with the European Union.
This special status, which we have been advocating and for which we have been working since 2000, is an acknowledgement not only of the pertinence of our strategic choices, but also of the efficiency of our diplomacy, the credibility of our reform efforts and the importance of our achievements in the area of development, which have been supported and lauded by international monetary and economic institutions.
This means we have to continue exerting sustained efforts to make the most of the chances and opportunities offered by this gradual system, which will not only bring concrete benefits in the foreseeable future, but will also open vast prospects for us. In addition, I will see to it that all our partnerships, with both the North and the South, are strengthened and expanded.
My loyal subjects,
Whatever the developments concerning our national cause at regional or international level, Morocco will continue to rely on itself and uphold its legitimate rights. It will remain vigilant and mobilized and will preserve the cohesion and unity of the internal front, which is the source of our strength.
Morocco is hereby confirming that it is fully prepared to engage in serious negotiations on autonomy as a final solution to the dispute. Its initiative will remain on the table, to be discussed within the framework of the United Nations. Morocco is convinced reason and a forward-looking vision - rather than obsolete views and illusions of the past - will eventually prevail.
Until that happens, Morocco cannot afford to remain idle; nor can it allow the country’s development and democratic process to be subject to the tactics and manoeuvres of others.
I have therefore decided to open a new page in the ongoing reforms I am spearheading. Indeed, we shall soon be launching a gradual, sophisticated process of regionalization which will cover all parts of the Kingdom, especially the Moroccan Sahara region. I am keen to enable all the inhabitants and sons of the Moroccan Sahara to run their local affairs democratically, within a unified Moroccan nation, either through the implementation of an appropriate, broad-based regionalization system - which will reflect the will of the nation - or through the proposed autonomy statute, once a UN-sponsored consensual political agreement is reached as a final solution to this dispute.
My loyal subjects,
Regionalization implies a major structural reform which requires collective efforts for its development and finalization. To this end, I wish to share with you a roadmap which spells out the project’s fundamental elements, objectives and proposed action.
We have far-reaching ambitions in this respect. Our aim is to enable good local governance to take a firm hold, respond more closely to the citizens’ needs and boost integrated, regional economic, social and cultural development.
In order to achieve these objectives, the proposed reform should be based on unity, balance and solidarity.
By unity we mean the unity of the state, of the homeland and of our territory. Indeed, there can be no regionalization except within the framework of this unity.
As for balance, it can be achieved through a clear definition of the exclusive powers of the state and those of regional institutions, so that the latter may discharge their mission with regard to development, taking into account the necessity for rational action, coherence and complementarity.
National solidarity is the cornerstone of advanced regionalization since the devolution of powers to the region goes hand in hand with the need to provide the necessary public funds and promote self-generated income.
Successful regionalization also hinges on efficient districting so as to have regions that are economically and geographically integrated, as well as socially and culturally coherent.
I have decided to adopt the same approach as the one used to address the defining issues of the nation and will therefore opt for the democratic, participatory method in the preparation of this project.
Hence, God willing, I intend to set up an advisory, multi-disciplinary committee, to be made up of eminent, competent figures with a clear vision. They will be responsible for defining the broad-lines of the proposed regionalization plan to be submitted to me, taking into consideration the role of the constitutional institutions concerned.
I want this exercise to lead to an extensive, constructive national debate involving all the institutions and authorities concerned, as well as political parties, representative bodies and the relevant academic institutions and NGOs.
Whatever conditions we may provide for the success of the regionalization project, its impact will remain limited unless it is accompanied by an enhanced devolution process. State action at territorial management level should therefore be given strong impetus, especially with regard to the reorganization of local administration - in order to streamline it and to increase its efficiency - and to the strengthening of community-based supervision.
In this respect, I ask the Government to submit proposals to me regarding the creation of new prefectures and provinces, taking into account the requirements for good territorial governance, the characteristics and resources of certain regions, and the development needs of the populations concerned.
I also urge the Government to prepare a national devolution charter which should lead to an effective system for the management of devolved powers. This system, designed to usher in a complete change from rigid centralized management, is to be based on a territorial approach that aims to ensure the devolution of central powers to external services, which should, themselves, be organized into regional technical hubs.
The charter should also include the appropriate legal mechanisms needed for territorial governance and enable walis and governors to carry out their mission, especially with respect to supervising the efficiency of state action and coordinating the work of the various stakeholders concerned at territorial, provincial and regional levels.
I call on everyone to show a keen sense of civic responsibility so that we may rise to the major challenge of developing an outstanding Moroccan model for regionalization. Given the impact of regionalization on the promotion of democracy and development, we want this system to help us strengthen good governance and promote our in-depth institutional reforms.
This should be a fitting tribute to my venerated father, His Majesty King Hassan II - may he rest in peace - the architect of the Green March and designer of the modern Moroccan state. I shall continue to accomplish the sacred mission of preserving the nation’s sovereignty and unity, revitalize its institutions and lead the country towards further progress and development.
“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.