HM the King: 2016, 'Year of Determination' for Morocco's Territorial Integrity
"If some are trying to make 2016 a “year of decision”, for Morocco it is a “year of determination” as far as our territorial integrity is concerned", HM the king stressed in a speech to the nation on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of the Throne Day.
"Convinced that ours is a just cause, with firm determination, we have faced the fallacious statements and irresponsible behavior related to the management of the Moroccan Sahara issue and taken the necessary measures, dictated by the circumstances, to put an end to these serious deviations", the Sovereign pointed out.
Pledging to continue defending rights and take the required measures to counter any future deviations, the Monarch stressed that "we will not give in to any kind of pressure, nor any blackmail attempts regarding the sacred cause of all Moroccans".
Morocco will however remain open and ever ready to engage in constructive dialogue in order to find a final political settlement to this artificial dispute, HM the King said.
In this regard, the Sovereign called again for continued vigilance and mobilization to counter the maneuvers of Morocco's opponents, who are infuriated by the development and progress witnessed in the Moroccan Sahara.
"All conspiracies, overt or hidden, will not undermine our determination to go on with the implementation of our southern provinces development model", the Sovereign stressed.
Indeed, the development projects launched in the region, along with the opportunity for the populations’ effective involvement in managing their affairs, thanks to the advanced regionalization scheme, will transform the Sahara into an integrated economic pole that will allow it to play its historic role as a hub and an exchange platform between Morocco and the rest of Africa, as well as countries of the North, the Monarch pointed out.
HM the King noted that Morocco’s foreign policy is based on words and action, be it when defending the cause of the Moroccan Sahara, diversifying partnerships or addressing current international issues and problems.
The Sovereign also affirmed that concern with citizens’ issues inside Morocco is only matched by the importance I attach to the issues of the members of our community abroad.
Deeply valuing their contribution to their country’s development and their involvement in upholding its causes, the Monarch voiced His pride of their attachment to their country and of the increasing number of those visiting their families back home every year, despite the long, tiring journeys they have to undertake and all the difficulties they have to overcome.
In this regard, HM the King recalled having stressed the need to improve the services provided to them and noted the procedures adopted to serve this purpose, calling for more dedication and stronger commitment on the part of consuls and civil servants in charge of this community’s affairs.
Here follows the full text of the speech:
"Praise be to God
May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Several years have passed since, with God's help and assistance, I undertook the mission of leading you. It is a noble mission to have the honor of serving you. It is also a major mission as it implies a responsibility before God, as well as a historic responsibility and a commitment towards all Moroccans.
Today, as we celebrate the 17th anniversary of my accession to the glorious Alawite Throne, I am most proud of the solid bonds of allegiance and unbreakable symbiosis between us. I am also more determined than ever to continue my endeavors to fulfill your legitimate aspirations.
What I want for all Moroccans, in villages, cities and remote, isolated areas, is to give them access to a dignified life now, reassure them about the future and ensure their security and stability at all times, with a balance between rights and obligations.
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.
There is still much more to do, particularly as we are entering a new era, starting with the upcoming parliamentary elections.
As the guarantor of respect for the Constitution, the smooth running of institutions and the safeguard of the democratic choice, I do not take part in polls, nor do I belong to any political party. I am the King of all Moroccans, candidates and voters – and also of those who do not vote.
Furthermore, I am the King of all political organizations, without any discrimination or exception. As I said previously: the only party I am proud to belong to is Morocco.
The King has a special status in our political system. All actors, candidates and parties should therefore avoid involving the King in any electoral or party rows.
It is a watershed moment when we put things back on track: turn the page of an era when political parties used elections to gain access to power and inaugurate an era when this power lies with citizens, who have the duty to choose their representatives and hold them to account.
Indeed, 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 poll, regardless of considerations of any kind.
I also call on political parties to endorse representatives who meet the requirements of competence, integrity, responsibility and keenness to serve citizens.
The governing parties have to defend their action during their tenure, while the opposition is required to offer constructive criticism and propose realistic alternatives, within the framework of fair competition, to find tangible solutions to citizens’ real issues and problems.
The government, which oversees the electoral process, under the authority of the Prime Minister and the responsibility of the Minister of the Interior and the Minister of Justice and Liberties, also has to fulfill its duty in making sure this process is fair and transparent.
Should there be any violations – something that happens in any election - they have to be addressed in accordance with the law and examined by the competent judicial authorities.
I am, however, astounded to see some parties indulge in practices that are contrary to the ethics and ideals of political action, making statements and using expressions that tarnish the reputation of the nation and the credibility and sanctity of institutions, in their attempt to gain voters’ support.
I would like to give examples of serious violations and misconduct that are specific to electoral periods and which should be combatted, while perpetrators should be punished.
As soon as election dates draw near, confusion reigns, people turn their backs on each other and everyone, government and parties, candidates and voters, lose their minds and create chaos and conflicts that have nothing to do with the process of free choice, which is incarnated by elections.
I would like to say to everyone, the governing parties and the opposition: stop using the nation to settle personal accounts or achieve strictly party-related purposes.
Representing citizens in the various institutions and organizations is a major duty. It requires honesty, responsibility and keenness to serve citizens first and foremost, beyond any other consideration.
As I have said repeatedly, positions of responsibility require commitment to the new concept of authority I have launched since my accession to the throne.
This concept of authority is my ruling doctrine. It is not limited, as some people may think, to Walis, Governors and local authorities, but covers all those who have access to power, including elected and public officials, whatever position they hold.
The new concept of power is based on accountability, through monitoring and control mechanisms, law enforcement and, for elected officials, through elections and citizens’ trust.
It is also based on fighting all forms of corruption: during elections and in the government, justice and other sectors. Dodging duty is a form of corruption.
Corruption is not inevitable and has never been part of Moroccan nature. However, it has become so commonplace that society considers it normal.
As a matter of fact, nobody is infallible, except prophets, messengers and angels.
I should nonetheless stress that fighting corruption must not be seen as an opportunity for politicking.
No one can fight corruption alone, be it an individual, a political party or an association. Furthermore, no one has the right to combat corruption or take the law into his own hands.
Fighting corruption is a cause championed by both the State and society. The State, with all its institutions, has to fight this dangerous trend through the appropriate legal mechanisms and by incriminating all its aspects and severely punishing those involved in it.
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, keeping in mind the precepts of our pristine faith and true Moroccan values based on decency, integrity and dignity.
I believe that political progress, whatever the level reached, remains insufficient on its own and needs to be supported by development, which should, in my view, be based on complementarity and balance between economic, social and environmental dimensions.
To live up to the multiple and intertwined development challenges, all Moroccans are required to engage, individually and collectively the decisive, global, economic battle underway.
The progress our country is looking forward to is not that which is assessed solely on the basis of indicators, which often ignore the specific features and achievements of each country, but genuine economic and social progress which all Moroccans can benefit from.
If, today, we are proud of our development achievements, I urge all stakeholders, from public and private sectors alike, to work twice as hard for Morocco to rise to a higher rank, among emerging nations, thanks to the assets I mentioned earlier.
This requires serious work to boost the competitiveness of our national economy, as well as an objective assessment of our public policies, together with continued updating of our sectorial and social strategies.
Despite the constraints linked either to the international context or to its national economy, Morocco is achieving constant progress, thanks be to God, with no gas or oil resources, but by the work of its citizens.
This is best illustrated by an increase in the number of international companies which have decided to invest in Morocco and launch projects worth millions, such as Peugeot, the Chinese companies involved in the Tangier strategic industrial zone project - which will cover 1000 to 2000 hectares - Russian companies, etc.
These companies would not take the risk of spending all this money, if they were not sure they were investing in the right place. They are aware of and appreciate the security and stability Morocco enjoys, as well as the prospects for their investments.
A number of international companies have also shown interest in the Noor-Ouarzazate project, the largest solar energy farm in the world.
The number of foreigners who have chosen Morocco as their country of residence is also on the rise, particularly French and Spanish nationals, some of whom have set up their own private businesses.
They enjoy the peace and tranquility of life here, under the protection of the Commander of the Faithful and the responsibility of the Moroccan State. They are also well received and respected by Moroccans.
The same determination and resolve prevail with regard to the security and safety of Moroccans and when it comes to safeguarding the stability of the country and maintaining public order.
Maintaining order is a major responsibility, which is not limited in time or space, and a great mission incumbent upon all of us.
In this context, I would like to say how much I value the tireless efforts and major sacrifices made by the various security services when discharging their national duty.
I would also like to commend their effective response in anticipating and foiling all desperate terrorist attempts to target our citizens, security and public order.
I am aware of the difficult working conditions of the security forces, due to the limited resources available. They work day and night and are subject to tremendous pressure, as they are exposed to danger when they are on duty.
I therefore urge the government to provide the security authorities with the necessary human and material resources to enable them to carry out their duty properly.
It is also imperative to continue the ongoing action aimed at raising the moral standards of the police force and eliminating any aspects that can affect its reputation or undermine the incommensurate efforts its members are making to serve citizens.
For police action to be credible, a firm response to criminals and advocates of extremism and terrorism is required, within the framework of the law and in respect of rights and liberties, under the control of judiciary.
At a time of mounting security challenges and increasing conspiracies hatched against our country, I call for more mobilization and vigilance.
I also stress the need for coordination between security departments, at home and abroad, as well as with the Royal Armed Forces, with all their components, and with citizens, as all bear responsibility when it comes to national causes.
The security of Morocco is a national duty that leaves no room for exceptions. It should not be the subject of any trivial disputes, complacency or leniency. It requires positive competition safeguard the unity, security and stability of the nation.
It is not shameful for a nation to be strong and secure thanks to its citizens, nor for Moroccans to be mobilized for the defense of their national causes.
At the international level, the coordination and cooperation of our country’s security services with their counterparts from a number of sister and friendly nations has contributed to foiling numerous terrorist operations and preventing major human tragedies in these countries.
My concern with citizens’ issues inside Morocco is only matched by the importance I attach to the issues of the members of our community abroad.
I deeply value their contribution to their country’s development and their involvement in upholding its causes.
I am also proud of their attachment to their country and of the increasing number of those visiting their families back home every year, despite the long, tiring journeys they have to undertake and all the difficulties they have to overcome.
It is true that on every occasion, I reiterate my thanks to them and I insist on the need to address their problems, both in Morocco and in host countries, but I am not exaggerating. They actually deserve more.
I have previously stressed the need to improve the services provided to them and noted the procedures adopted to serve this purpose.
The reforms and measures introduced in this regard are nonetheless still insufficient. More dedication and stronger commitment are required on the part of consuls and civil servants in charge of this community’s affairs.
Our country’s foreign policy is based on words and action, be it when defending the cause of the Moroccan Sahara, diversifying partnerships or addressing current international issues and problems.
If some are trying to make 2016 a "year of decision", for Morocco it is a "year of determination" as far as our territorial integrity is concerned. Convinced that ours is a just cause, with firm determination, we have faced the fallacious statements and irresponsible behavior related to the management of the Moroccan Sahara issue and taken the necessary measures, dictated by the circumstances, to put an end to these serious deviations.
We will continue defending our rights and will take the required measures to counter any future deviations. We will not give in to any kind of pressure, nor any blackmail attempts regarding the sacred cause of all Moroccans.
Morocco will however remain open and ever ready to engage in constructive dialogue in order to find a final political settlement to this artificial dispute.
In this regard, I would like to call again for continued vigilance and mobilization to counter the maneuvers of Morocco’s opponents, who are infuriated by the development and progress witnessed in the Moroccan Sahara.
All conspiracies, overt or hidden, will not undermine our determination to go on with the implementation of our southern provinces development model.
The development projects I have launched in the region, along with the opportunity for the populations’ effective involvement in managing their affairs, thanks to the advanced regionalization scheme, will transform the Sahara into an integrated economic pole that will allow it to play its historic role as a hub and an exchange platform between Morocco and the rest of Africa, as well as countries of the North.
This policy, based on word and action, pursued by Morocco could not give the desired results, without the credibility the Kingdom enjoys as far as international relations are concerned.
This has allowed Morocco to diversify its partnerships. It is not a move or a reaction to suit the circumstances or serve short-lived calculations or interests, but rather a strategic choice in line with the country’s evolution and global changes.
It also reflects the status of our country 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.
As I have already pointed out, Morocco is not the exclusive preserve of any country. Its openness, however, is not an indicator of a change of direction, nor will it ever affect its partners’ interests. Morocco will continue to honor the commitments made to its historic partners.
In this regard, the summit held last April with my brothers, Heads of States of the Gulf Cooperation Council, endorsed the Moroccan-Gulf partnership as a strategic, unified bloc, and laid solid foundations for building a unique model of Arab alliance.
Furthermore, Morocco spares no effort to boost strategic solidarity-based South-South partnership, particularly with African sister nations, both bilaterally and within West-African regional groupings.
To strengthen our sincere African policy, during the 27th African Union Summit, I announced Morocco’s decision to return to its African institutional family.
This decision does not, of course, mean that Morocco will relinquish its legitimate rights, nor recognize a pseudo entity lacking the basic elements of sovereignty which was imposed on the African Union, in flagrant violation of the latter’s charter.
Our country’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.
It will also open up new prospects for Morocco, mainly in East and Equatorial Africa, and consolidate the country’s position as a player with regard to the continent’s security, stability, human development and solidarity.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all African sister nations for supporting Morocco in defending its territorial unity and for responding positively to its decision to return to its institutional family, particularly leaders of the 28 states which have signed the statement, as well as those who have contributed to the initiative.
I should also like to express my gratitude and esteem to the Republic of Rwanda, which hosted the summit, and to its president, His Excellency Mr. Paul Kagamé, for their support and collaboration.
In addition to being open to major economic and political spaces, such as Russia, China and India, we remain committed to consolidating our strategic partnership with our French and Spanish allies. We also work with the European Union to develop our traditional partnership on solid bases.
This diversification of partnerships is based on mutual esteem and the commitment to boost win-win cooperation, as illustrated by the strategic agreements signed in vital sectors, such as energy, infrastructure, agriculture, the fight against terrorism, military cooperation, etc.
Morocco’s keenness to diversify its partnerships is only matched by its strong commitment to address current international issues.
Indeed, Morocco is a key partner in the fight against terrorism, both at the level of security cooperation, with a number of sister and friendly nations, and through its unique approach to managing the country’s religious affairs. This position allowed Morocco to co-chair, with the Netherlands, the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
Our country is also actively involved in international efforts to fight climate change and, in November, is hosting the 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
This conference will offer Morocco the opportunity to show its commitment to ensuring the implementation of the Paris Agreement and continuing its support to developing countries in Africa and small insular states, most affected by climate change.
As a major player in triangular cooperation, Morocco has also placed development issues, particularly in Africa, at the top of its political agenda.
I am not interested so much in records and achievements as I am in the impact the work has had on improving citizens’ living conditions.
In fact, the human dimension is a top priority and what matters first is the citizen, and more generally the human being, wherever they are.
I thank God for what we have managed to achieve in Morocco, 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.
On this auspicious occasion, I would like to thank all members of civil society and true patriots, who are keen to serve their country, for their strong commitment at my side to build a unified, free and developed nation, as well as for their firm action against the vile conspiracies hatched against our country.
I should like to pay tribute to our Royal Armed Forces, the Royal Gendarmerie, the Auxiliary Forces, the National Security Forces, the Emergency Services and the local authorities for their devotion and constant mobilization to defend the nation’s unity and sovereignty and preserve its security and stability.
I pray that God assist me in fulfilling the mission I inherited from my ancestors, whom I remember with deep respect, most particularly my venerated grandfather and father, Their Majesties King Mohammed V and King Hassan II, May they and all the martyrs of the nation rest in peace.
We will continue our march together, with determination and resolve, to achieve the glory of Morocco and serve its citizens.
I will continue to be, as I have always been, your first servant, who cares for your concerns and problems and responds to your aspirations at all times and under all circumstances.
Say, "This is my way; I invite to Allah with insight, I and those who follow me”. True is the word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarkatuh.