King Mohammed VI Current Events 1: September 2003 - December 2007

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HM King Mohammed VI Voices Resolve to Ensure Optimal Implementation of Family Code

RABAT, Feb.03 – HM King Mohammed VI reiterated this Tuesday his resolve to ensure optimal implementation and to gather all the needed conditions for the implementation of the new family code, after its adoption by the two parliamentary chambers.

The sovereign made the statement as he was receiving speakers of the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and Chamber of Advisors (upper chamber), respectively Abdelouahed Radi and Mustapha Okacha, following the adoption by the two houses of the new family law (Mudawanna), the outline of which was spelled out last October 10 by HM the King at the opening of the parliament’s fall session.

The sovereign who stressed that the new law “is not only a major achievement for women, but also an ingredient which enhances the Moroccan family as a balanced and modern institution” voiced determination “to ensure that the material and human resources, along with the legal mechanisms which are necessary for the enforcement of the Family Law are provided.”

“I shall spare no effort to ensure its optimal implementation by a judiciary which is qualified, independent, efficient and fair”, the king vowed before calling for a broad information campaign by “all forums, institutions and organizations”…

“We need to move forward in our endeavour to achieve integrated development. We must see that concrete efforts and fieldwork are encouraged in order to foster effective development of the family. We should release energies and initiate concerted actions to strengthen the foundations of the modern democratic nation we are looking forward to”, HM the king went on before reiterating resolve “to carry on with the reforms undertaken and aimed at ensuring that men and women become partners, sharing the same rights and obligations and contributing to building effective, responsible citizenship.”

After reaffirming “constant commitment to the values which served as a foundation for this legislation”, the sovereign further explained that the crucial importance of the law lies not only in its primary role in building a modern society but also in the evidence it produces to the ability of Islam to be compatible with the principles of freedom, equality, equity and solidarity.

“This law is a real milestone in the history of Morocco, not only because it is the bedrock for the construction of our modern democratic society, but also because, through this legislation, we are demonstrating in a concrete and compelling manner that Islamic and universal referentials make up a single entity based on freedom, equality, equity and solidarity”, HM the king underlined.

“Through this pioneering work, I am, as Amir Al Muminin (Commander of the Faithful), helping in the efforts that should be made by the Islamic Ummah as a whole, to restore the true image of Islam which is wrongly and unjustly depicted as an outdated and extremist religion. The aim is to give further evidence that the Islamic mentality and school of thought are inherently capable of accommodating modernity and progress, while displaying a great deal of tolerance and open-mindedness.”

After recalling that since his accession to the throne (in July 1999), one of the top objectives of the policy he has been pursuing “has been to develop, in the midst of varying and heterogeneous trends, a modern Family Law, which boasts such features and references as those we have today”, he paid tribute to all the nation's representatives and productive elements “for the unanimous stance they adopted, and for the conscientiousness and sense of democracy they showed during the debate on this issue, as well as for their strong commitment to the bonds which unite the Throne and the people.”


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Why a young king is taking Morocco into a feminist future

After a long battle with traditional Muslims, equality has become reality in Morocco. But, as Nicola Fell in Rabat reports, the past fights on

THE hammam, or traditional bath-house, in Casablanca is not just a place where women spend up to four hours washing themselves. In a country where 70% of women are illiterate, it’s also a place for gossip and a prime source of news.
These days, the word “moudawana” echoes around its stone walls. It means “family law” and Morocco’s young, Western- educated king, Mohammed VI, has just succeeded in changing it, spelling an end to centuries of subjugation for Moroccan women. He opened a recent session of parliament with a dramatic question: “How can society achieve progress, while women, who represent half the nation, see their rights violated and suffer as a result of injustice, violence and marginalisation?”

The king proposed radical changes to the ancient laws that govern the family. For the first time, in the eyes of the law, men and women will be equally responsible for the family.

In essence, this will have three profound effects on women’s lives. Firstly, polygamy will become practically impossible. A husband will have to prove in front of a judge his need for another wife and secure the consent of any existing wives – quite a challenge.

P reviously, a man could divorce his wife simply by uttering the words; now the decision will be down to a judge. Women can now initiate a divorce, without having to provide a witness to back up any claims of unreasonable behaviour.

While custom traditionally dictated that a woman required a tutor – usually a father or brother – to “help” her choose her husband wisely, the new moudawana lets the decision rest solely in her hands.

When these changes were first proposed in 2000, they looked set to split society . There were two mass demonstrations. In Rabat, people marched in support of the changes, with women chanting: “My rights, my rights”. In Casablanca, on the other hand, they marched against the changes. M ore than 50% of the demonstrators there were women, protesting against the extension of their own rights.

Nezha Skalli, socialist party MP, explains this as fundamentalist tactics: “If you knock on people’s doors and say Islam is in danger, come and protect Islam, people believe you and they come”.

Ramid El Mostafa, member of parliament for the Justice And Development Party (PJD), the main Islamic party, organised the Casablanca demonstration, arguing that the changes to the moudawana are against the principles of Islam. Explaining his “reservations” in a disconcertingly rational manner, he argues that polygamy is a way “to regulate the problem of extra- marital affairs” or cope with an ill or infertile wife.

With respect to the tutor, he says: “In Morocco, if a woman gets divorced, she has to return to her parents for support, and if the family did not take part in her act of marriage, why should they take responsibility for its failure?”

This powerful opposition did succeed in delaying the proposals, but now, three years later, the new moudawana has finally gone through parliament.

For some, though, the change has come too late. Only a month ago, a woman who came to an advice centre to find out about her rights explained: “My husband is pushing for a quick divorce, so that I will be divorced under the old moudawana. This means that my future, and that of my little girl, is not all that I would have wanted.

“He laughs at me! He knows that under the old moudawana he will not be obliged to provide any accommodation for us. It is important that women really understand the change, as in my case, I didn’t really know my rights until now.”

But getting the information through to women is proving difficult, despite the king’s demand for a wide-scale media campaign. Not only is there a high illiteracy rate among women, but many live in remote areas barely reached by the media.

At a women’s co-operative in the village of Ait Ourir, a social worker explains: “Women don’t know about the old moudawana, let alone the new one. Their priority is the family, with the man considered superior. Women will not go after their rights if it means destroying the family.”

For these women in the countryside, the key to equality lies first in alleviating poverty and then education. But in the cities, the king’s new laws have made their mark. Zara, a worker in the Casablanca hammam says: “The King has done well, giving women a new situation. The old moudawana was not good because there was a lot of injustice, especially for our rights to our children.”

Even a boy selling djellabahs (traditional robes) in the Marrakech market knows about the law, as he quips: “If you have sisters or a mother, say ‘Congratulations’.”

01 February 2004
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H.M. King Mohammed VI Inaugurates Members of Higher Council for Audio-visual Communication

Agadir (southern Morocco), Feb.09 –H.M. King Mohammed VI inaugurated, here Monday, the Higher Council for Audio-visual Communication’s nine members who took the oath before the sovereign.

The council chairman Ahmed Ghazali pledged that the members of this council which aims at consolidating democracy and guaranteeing freedom of speech, would “spare no effort to carry out the royal high directives aiming at ensuring the promotion and the liberalization of the audio-visual sector.”

He voiced the members’ resolve to “contribute in an efficient, impartial and autonomous way to the materialization of the royal willingness” to consolidate democracy and guarantee freedom of speech.

The creation on August 31, 2002 of the Council, is part of the audio-visual sector liberalization process that will be regulated by a law to enter into force this year.

Under the new law, foreign capital will be allowed in the Moroccan audio-visual sector in a bid to consolidate ongoing democratic process in Morocco, political pluralism and civil liberties.

H.M. King Mohammed VI
Full text of the Royal Message to the 3rd National Tourism Convention

CASABLANCA, Feb.12 – HM King Mohammed VI addressed a message to participants in the 4th national tourism convention held here this Feb.12-13.

Here follows the full text of the royal message that was read out this Thursday by royal advisor, Mohamed Kabbaj:

“Praise be to God
Peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As I address your assembly today, I am pleased to see how keen you have been to make the National Tourism Conference an annual event, ever since its first session, which I inaugurated in Marrakesh in January 2001. The good tradition you have set shows that, as major actors in this field, you have gained an acute awareness of the main stakes involved in tourism as a key sector in Morocco's overall strategy for sustainable development.

To assess the progress achieved, plan for future action and set targets for the next period, there is no better course of action than to foster co-ordination and consultation between all the parties concerned, whether representatives of the public sector, or economic operators from the private sector. In fact, it is for this reason that it has been possible, over the last three years, to take stock, at the end of each year, of the performance of the tourism industry, and to identify its strengths and weaknesses.

In this connection, notwithstanding unfavourable conditions worldwide, Morocco has kept up the momentum by increasing its hotel capacity year after year. Thus, the number of new beds rose from 3,800 in 2001 to 8,500 in 2003. Yet, in my opinion, this figure still fell short of expectations.

“It is true that a strategy spreading over a decade can only be gauged properly through a mid-term assessment. However, given the success achieved in implementing the "Azure" scheme concerning the Saïdia, Mogador, Lixus and Haouzia seaside resorts, one is inclined to anticipate a sharp increase in hotel capacity in the years to come. Other efforts have been initiated to upgrade traditional tourism areas, create new products, develop new tour packages and set up new accommodation facilities tailored to meet specific tourism needs. Thus, one may reasonably expect the size of investments and the increase in hotel capacity to pick up momentum in a foreseeable future until they recover the average growth rates of the past. The aim is to achieve, by 2010, the target of 230,000 beds set in the 10-year strategy.

However, the existing facilities cannot fulfil their objectives with optimal efficiency without strong and appropriate back-up measures, mainly to secure the loyalty and expansion of traditional emitting markets. This policy should seek to disseminate an attractive image of Morocco worldwide. It should be bolstered by a vigorous promotion campaign to be initiated by the Moroccan National Tourism Office, which should be upgraded and made more professional for this purpose. Promotion efforts should be further boosted by professionals from the private sector whose associations should get more involved than in the past. In this connection, it would be most advisable to make use of the new opportunities for the dissemination of the Moroccan tourism product, namely those provided by the new information and communication technology.

I would like to take this opportunity to stress again that the tourism industry, just like other productive sectors, must be upgraded before 2010, because by then it must be fully equipped to meet the challenges of competition. Hence the need for it to take immediate action to make up for lost time, upgrade its management methods, improve its image, train the 70,000 professionals it needs and fulfil its part of the commitment made under the framework-agreement it concluded with the Government, under the King's auspices.

The state, for its part, has been actively involved, both through the relevant government agencies and through the Hassan II Fund, in the development of a new wave of tourist resorts. Thus, it has provided developers with plots of land to be used for tourism purposes. Furthermore, it has eased the terms and conditions for loan guarantee in an effort to promote and facilitate the financing of tourism-related activities. In addition, thanks to an efficient market prospection policy, it has managed to attract top-ranking international developers, who have expressed a keen desire to take part in the development of the promising projects planned under the "Azure" scheme.

In addition to promoting foreign investment, we must back up our ten-year strategy through relevant use of the nation's savings which should be directed towards tourist-related activities. We must also simplify and upgrade the tax system as well as ensure sustainability of resources, especially through levy of the relevant tax.

As I strongly recommended in my message to your Third National Conference, held in Agadir early last year, the proposed reform of the sky map has now been completed. Not only will this translate into the sector's liberalisation, but it will result in lower transport costs, enhanced traffic flow and adequate, direct flights between emitting markets and tourist destinations. Thus, air transport will no longer be a hindrance, but rather an attractive asset to boost our tourism policy. Given the new international environment, the national carrier must make the necessary adjustment so that, in addition to the traditional services offered, it can run low-cost and charter flights on a competitive basis.

Needless to say, safety and security must, at all times and in all circumstances, remain the top priority for carriers operating in Morocco as well as for the relevant authorities in this country.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
As I pointed out at your First National Conference in Marrakesh, I am keen to see tourism become a real driving force for development. It would be quite odd for Morocco not to make the most of the extensive tourist assets it has. In addition to the diversity of nature with which the Almighty has graced this land, with its mountains, seas and desert, our country boasts a rich cultural heritage, and is located very close to Europe - a major source of tourist flows- and right opposite the American continent. We must make the most of our incomparable location, not only to tap these markets, but also to illustrate our rich, distinctive and vibrant culture, our natural openness to others and our legendary hospitality. I am determined to move forward in this direction and to ensure that security and stability continue to prevail as they have, at all times, making Morocco a haven of peace and a popular destination.

Commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the exile of my revered Grandfather, His Majesty King Mohammed V, God bless his soul, I asked my loyal subjects, in my address to the Nation of 20 August last year, ‘to get actively involved in this new Revolution of the Throne and the People’, to make sure that the ‘jubilee of our independence is a special historical event’ and, when the appropriate time comes, ‘to pause and assess the steps taken and the stages reached by our country’.

By August of next year, that is to say in barely 18 months' time, we will be almost half-way through the 10-year tourism strategy, and celebrating our Independence Jubilee. By then, I would expect the parties to the framework agreement to make a pause too, and devote the next National Conference on Tourism to taking stock of what has been achieved. More specifically, they should undertake a critical analysis of the successes achieved and the difficulties encountered, where they came from and how best to overcome them. In the meantime, I urge each and every one of you to step up efforts and brace yourselves for the challenge of 2010.

May the Almighty assist you and grant you every success.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.“
HM King Mohammed VI Receives Husband of Queen of Denmark

AGADIR, Feb.13 - HM King Mohammed VI received this Friday at the Royal Palace here, HH Prince Henrik, husband of HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

HH Prince Henrik is on a private visit to Morocco.

HM King Mohammed VI and Prince Henrik

in the last pic king mohammed is wearing his wedding band......
HM King Mohammed VI Receives Moroccan Football Team

AGADIR, Feb.15 – HM King Mohammed VI received this Sunday at the Royal Palace here the Moroccan national football team, African vice-champions, following their brilliant and impressive performance at the Tunis 2004 African Nations cup.

The sovereign extended to the national team and staff high royal distinctions.

Chairman of the Moroccan football federation (FRMF), Gen. Hosni Benslimane, was extended the Al-Arch Wissam of the grand officer rank, national coach Baddou Zaki received the Al-Arch Wissam of the officer rank while president of the national football grouping (GNF) Mohamed Azouzal and FRMF secretary general Mohamed Moufid, were granted the Moukafaa watanayia distinction of the officer rank.

The players were each extended the Moukafaa watanayia distinction of the officer rank.

The other team members were granted the Al Arch Wissam of the knight order.

The sovereign, who was accompanied by crown prince HRH Moulay El Hassan then posed for a picture with the entire team and hosted a function in their honor.

On Saturday, the sovereign phoned Gen. Hosni Benslimane, chairman of the Moroccan Olympic committee and president of the Moroccan football federation, and national coach Badou Zaki to extend congratulations to the national team and the staff for the feat.

The sovereign said qualification to the CAN 2004 finals is in itself a source of pride for the Moroccan people and a gain for Moroccan football and for Morocco.

The sovereign also called Tunisian president Zine El Abidine Benali to congratulate him after Tunisia won the African Nations Cup. The sovereign also praised the excellent organization skills displayed by Tunisia during the African sports event.


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H.M. King Mohammed VI Chairs Signing of Convention for Construction of 143 km of Rural Roads in Essaouira Region

ESSAOUIRA, Feb.18 – H.M. King Mohammed VI chaired this Wednesday in the locality of Korimate (50km east of Essaouira) the signing ceremony of a convention between the government and local authorities for the construction of 143 km of rural roads in the region.

The 2004-2007 road project in the province of Essaouira (southwest Morocco) consists of 14 operations for the construction of 143 km of rural roads, for a cost of 100 million DH (around US$ 11.5 million). The budget will be equally contributed by the equipment ministry and the Essaouira provincial council.

The roads are expected to break the isolation of 152,000 inhabitants scattered in 23 communes by giving them access to 10 health centers and 80 schools.

The sovereign also launched the program’s first 28 km-long road that will be completed in 18 months at a cost of 15.8 million DH (US$ 1.8 Mln).

The sovereign was also briefed on a project to supply drinking water to 14,600 inhabitants in 52 villages. The project, carried out through Morocco-Germany cooperation , is scheduled to be completed by January 2005, with an estimated budget of 27 million DH (US$ 2.9 Mln).

H.M. King Mohammed VI Launches construction of mental rehab center in Essaouira

ESSAOUIRA (southwest), Feb.18 – H.M. King Mohammed VI launched here Wednesday construction works of a rehabilitation center of mentally handicapped persons.

The 2 million dirham (US$ 222,000) project will cover 2672 m². It includes a reception desk, a multi-purpose room, a health center, 5 dorms, and other dependencies.

Were present at the ceremony advisers to H.M. king Mohammed VI, Andre Azoulay and Zoulikha Nasri and other officials.

The sovereign was briefed on other projects in the province, mainly residences for pupils of the Talmest, Bidzad and Ait Daoud regions to fight the dropout phenomenon. The projects, to cost some 3.6 million Dirhams (US$ 400,000), will benefit some 100 pupils each.

Each residence includes three dormitories, a multi-purpose room, a library and other dependencies.

H.M. King Mohammed VI later inquired about construction works and equipment of a cooperative for women working in Argan oil in the Lahssinate province. The project will enable training of some 50 women.

HM King Mohammed VI
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I am absolutely shocks by the attitude of mohamed facing the tragedy that the inhabitants of the rif live, to take five days to be going to comfort his people in his pain is absolutely unforgivable
This tragedy was manage in a disastrous manner by the Moroccan authorities, what explains the anger of the rifains, the foreign helps come to do some lifesavings, were installed to the airport, some came and left without even have do the least research
I ask myself the following question, why mohamed wanted to limit the foreign presence in the rif, the answer is in my opinion the following, it is by fear that the strangers see their eyes the poverty of the Moroccan and their anger facing their king
as a French journalist told it, one has the impression that mohamed wants to turn the page of this tragedy as soon as possible, what explains that the research have been stopped after only three days, whereas it is known that one can recover some survivors after one week
Mohamed didn't go to the rif by fear of the reaction of the rifains, proud and dignified people that never accepted to bend itself before a man whatever he is
I saw to the television, the mannered with mohamed has been welcomed on the places of the drama, that was a real circus, it is a script common to all dictatorships, when the king or the president arrives, the authorities gather the citizens and order them to applaud and to push “youyou” of welcome, one arranges the hospitals, one distributes bread and one places the cameras in the good places, to make believe that one control the situation, but as soon as that the king will leave, the people will return to his problems and disorganization will take back
To conclude, I would say that mohamed appear for me, as not only incapable to manage the situations of crisis but also like a man incapable to understand his people
HM King Mohammed VI Offers Condolences to Quake-Stricken Populations

AGADIR, Feb.24 – HM King Mohammed VI has offered his condolences to families who lost relatives in the quake that jolted the northeastern region of Al Hoceima, this Tuesday at 2.30 am (GMT), killing more than 200 people.

The sovereign expressed in his own name and on behalf of the Moroccan people heartfelt sympathy and condolences to the bereaved families.

The royal message assures the quake-stricken families of the king’s will to personally see to it that all the public authorities and the state bodies and human and material means are mobilized to help the victims who sustained losses and other harms and support all the bereaved people.

The epicentre of the tremor –measuring 6 degrees on the Richter Scale, was located in the locality of Ait Kamra (region of Al Hoceima).

The sovereign had also given instructions to mobilize considerable human and material means to help the populations and rescue survivors.

The royal armed forces (army), gendarmerie, navy, civil rescue, auxiliary forces are working on site. Copters and other equipment were dispatched to the region to bring assistance to the quake-stricken populations. The Mohammed V solidarity foundation is also taking part in the rescue operations.

The Mohammed V solidarity foundation has also sent two jets loaded with tents, blankets and 20 tons of foodstuffs as well as a medical team, medicine and equipped ambulances to bring relief to the quake-stricken populations.

HM the King Chairs Second Meeting on Quake in Northeastern Morocco

TANGIER (Northern Morocco), Feb. 26 – HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco chaired, here Thursday, a second working session during which he was provided with a full assessment of the situation in the northeastern Moroccan region of Al Hoceima, struck early Tuesday morning by an earthquake that killed 571 people and injured some 400 according to a latest toll.
HM the on Wednesday chaired a first working session during which he instructed the government to speed up rescue operations and assistance to the victims of this quake.

The sovereign "instructed the government to increase the actions underway by consolidating the intervention of the Army, the Royal gendarmerie, the Police, the civil protection and other social services of the army." The king also gave instructions to endow the staff on site with all the needed means and equipment in order to give populations a shelter and preserve the hygiene of the quake-stricken regions.

A bank account (101) was opened at Morocco's Central Bank "Bank Al Maghrib" for people who wish to donate money to help the victims. The sovereign was the first to donate a contribution at the bank.

The working session held in the presence of some government members, including the Prime Minister Driss Jettou, and of high-ranking military and police officials, also assessed the situation in the area, the rescue, relief, medical actions, measures to protect persons and property and the humanitarian assistance extended to the victims.

Thursday's working session was attended by royal adviser and member of the administrative board of the Mohammed V foundation for Solidarity, Zoulikha Nasri, interior minister, Al Mostapha Sahel, Health Minister, Mohamed Cheikh Biadillah, delegate Minister to the Interior, Fouad Ali Al Himma, and other high ranking military and police officials.

King Mohammed VI at the meeting
King Mohammed VI

HM the King Arrives in quake-stricken Al Hoceima province amid another quake aftershock

Al Hoceimpa (North east Morocco) Feb. 28 – HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco arrived, here Saturday afternoon, to follow closely the situation in this province rocked by Tuesday’s earthquake killing 572 people and injuring 427 according to a latest official toll.
Thousands of people were also made homeless after this tremor of a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale.

As soon as he arrived in Al Hoceima, the sovereign visited the city’s hospital where he talked to some injured people being treated there.

While visiting the hospital, another quake aftershock of a magnitude of 4 was felt.
Some 623 people have been admitted in this hospital since the tremor occurred, most of whom have already left while 121 others are still receiving medical care including 55 women, 46 men and 20 children.

Other injured have been transferred to the Military Hospital and to Avicennes Hospital in Rabat.

Following this earthquake, the Health Ministry has deployed 153 doctors and 360 nurses, in addition to medical teams from foreign countries.

The sovereign will be staying in a tent in Al Hoceima for few days regardless of the quake aftershocks that continue to rock this area, said On Friday the Minister of Communication and the Government’s spokesman Nabil Abdallah.

Meanwhile, national and foreign aid continue to pour in the region with the arrival, Saturday, of five additional planes from The United States loaded with tents and hygiene products, bringing the number of planes that have so far landed at Al Hoceima airport and other neighboring towns to More than 125.

On the other hand, the Spanish Foreign Minister Ana Palacio said, Saturday, that “based on the information” she has received from the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation, “the coordination with Moroccan authorities regarding aid distribution to the victims has been superb.”

She insisted in a statement to Spanish News agency “EFE” that “from the point of view of the Spanish cooperation, we have no complaint regarding the welcome by Moroccan authorities” to Spanish rescue teams.

Spanish media had reported that a rescue team from Spain had to leave the quake-stricken province of Al Hoceima because of the lack of coordination on the part of Moroccan authorities.

Ana Palacio said in this regard that “at a certain moment, Moroccan authorities have asked Spain not to send rescue teams accompanied by dogs anymore because what is more needed are doctors and medical staff.”

She explained that when such disasters occur, « one should stick to what local authorities ask for” to avoid any difficulty that may hinder rescue operation and aid distribution.

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HM the King Puts Quake-Orphans under State Care

AL HOCEIMA (North east Morocco), Mar.01 – HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco has granted the status of “Orphans in State Care” to all children who lost their parents in last Tuesday’s earthquake in Al Hoceima province, an initiative deemed “unique” by adviser to the King, Zoulikha Nasri.

Royal Palace spokesman Hassan Aourid said that the monarch gave his “high instructions” to grant those orphans this status that will allow them to benefit from the financial and moral support from the state and from education, health care as well as other benefits until they reach their majority.

Zoulikha Nasri who is also member of the administrative board of the Mohammed V Solidarity Foundation, told MAP on Sunday that the royal initiative “sheds light on the methodology that will be pursued for the social restructuring of this region.”

She said the status of Orphans in State Care will help preserve the dignity of these children.

This initiative, she added, constitutes “the starting point of the social policy and the measures to be taken” in the quake-stricken area of Al Hoceima where aftershocks continue to be felt after last Tuesday’s earthquake of a magnitude of 6.3 on the Richter scale killing 572 people and injuring 427.

HM King Mohammed VI who arrived in Al Hoceima on Saturday where he pitched a camp, to closely follow the situation there, continues to tour the area with visits to hospitals and villages where he spoke to injured people and to inhabitants, a visit that was acclaimed by the population.

Meanwhile, while aid continues to pour in the region with more than 150 national and international planes having landed at Al Hoceima and neighboring Nador airports, the Government has announced the creation of a special body to manage the aftermath of this quake and its impact on the region.

The announcement was made on Sunday by the Moroccan minister of communication and the government’s spokesman Nabil Abdallah who said, the decision was made “upon the high instructions of HM King Mohammed VI”.

This special commission will have as a task to “guarantee the supply of foodstuff, blankets and tents to the inhabitants.”

It will inform the public opinion on the situation there, see to the respect of public order, and coordinate relations with non governmental organizations that will be involved in the different actions.

Benabdallah also reassured the public that no epidemics was declared in the region where “all necessary measures have been taken to deal with such contingency.”

On his part, interior minister, Al Mustapha Sahel pledged to distribute «sufficient foodstuff» to the inhabitants of the remote areas. He said that 30 trucks loaded with 20 tons of food will be heading to the affected areas while helicopters will drop aid in remote villages difficult to access
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IMZOUREN, MOROCCO: King Mohammed VI visits 29 February 2004 earthquake survivors in a makeshift hospital set up by the army in the town of Imzouren, badly hit by the 24 February 2004 quake, which measured 6.3 on the Richter scale and killed at least 572 people in the mountainous northeast. The king arrived for his third visit to the area since taking over from his late father, Hassan II, in 1999.

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Originally posted by rosa@Mar 1st, 2004 - 6:03 am
I am absolutely shocks by the attitude of mohamed facing the tragedy that the inhabitants of the rif live, to take five days to be going to comfort his people in his pain is absolutely unforgivable
This tragedy was manage in a disastrous manner by the Moroccan authorities, what explains the anger of the rifains, the foreign helps come to do some lifesavings, were installed to the airport, some came and left without even have do the least research
I ask myself the following question, why mohamed wanted to limit the foreign presence in the rif, the answer is in my opinion the following, it is by fear that the strangers see their eyes the poverty of the Moroccan and their anger facing their king
as a French journalist told it, one has the impression that mohamed wants to turn the page of this tragedy as soon as possible, what explains that the research have been stopped after only three days, whereas it is known that one can recover some survivors after one week
Mohamed didn't go to the rif by fear of the reaction of the rifains, proud and dignified people that never accepted to bend itself before a man whatever he is
I saw to the television, the mannered with mohamed has been welcomed on the places of the drama, that was a real circus, it is a script common to all dictatorships, when the king or the president arrives, the authorities gather the citizens and order them to applaud and to push “youyou” of welcome, one arranges the hospitals, one distributes bread and one places the cameras in the good places, to make believe that one control the situation, but as soon as that the king will leave, the people will return to his problems and disorganization will take back
To conclude, I would say that mohamed appear for me, as not only incapable to manage the situations of crisis but also like a man incapable to understand his people
You should not be shocked that the King took five days to reach the affected areas because there were other minor earthquakes after the main one. So, of course, he is not going to go there knowing that earth is still shaking....but at least, he was in one of the closest cities to that region and once things started to be OK (geologically), he went.
AL HOCEIMA, MOROCCO: King Mohammed VI is cheered by the crowd in Al Hoceima 28 Febraury 2004. The king began his twice-postponed visit to mountainous northeastern Morocco to comfort survivors of a powerful earthquake that killed 572 people this week. Hundreds of people broke into enthusiastic applause as the king arrived at the hospital in the region's main town, Al Hoceima, about 20 minutes after landing at the local airport.

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Originally posted by Humble@Mar 1st, 2004 - 12:03 pm

You should not be shocked that the King took five days to reach the affected areas because there were other minor earthquakes after the main one. So, of course, he is not going to go there knowing that earth is still shaking....but at least, he was in one of the closest cities to that region and once things started to be OK (geologically), he went.
When King Mohammed VI was visiting hospital there was some quake aftershock felt.

AL HOCEIMA, MOROCCO: King Mohammed VI is welcomed by the medical staff of Al Hoceima's hospital 28 Febraury 2004.

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02/29/2004. King Mohammed VI of Morocco visits survivors of deadly earthquake in Al-Hoceima, where the death toll rose to 572.




03/03/2004. King Mohamed VI pursurs visit to Al Hoceima area which suffered heavy earthquake on February 24.



HM the King eager to meet “statesman” Zapatero

Rabat, April 18- HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco has voiced eagerness to meet new Spanish Prime Minister Jose Louis Zapatero, a man he described as a “ statesman” deserving his people ‘s confidence, in a congratulations message following Zapatero’s investiture.

The monarch insisted in his message on Morocco’s “resolve herald a new era” with its Northern European partner, recalling the “historical relations linking our two friendly countries and peoples, in order to consolidate the model of good neighborhood”.

“I reiterate to your excellency my firm resolve to work with you for consolidating those historical links and the civilizational identity to herald this new era on sound and solid bases with the aim to raise relations between our two friendly countries to the exceptional level of strategic partnership based on global security and common progress in the framework of our firm attachment to the noble values of good neighborhood, human brotherhood, freedom, democracy, solidarity, peace and struggle against any form of violence, hatred, fundamentalism and terrorism.” The message read.

Zapatero was sworn in as Spain's new prime minister, a month after he led his Socialist Party to an election victory.
Spain's fifth prime minister since the restoration of democracy after the 1975 death of General Franco, Zapatero was administered the oath of office on Saturday by HM King Juan Carlos.

During a debate on Thursday preceding his investiture, the new Spanish Premier said Thursday he would visit Morocco in the “next few days”, in his first trip abroad.

"Morocco demands and deserves preferential treatment and relations that are tailored to bringing about very close ties. That is what I shall say to the Moroccan authorities during my visit in the coming days," he said adding that he would convey his position to Moroccan authorities during his visit to the Kingdom. He also reiterated commitment to give a special dimension to relations with Morocco in conformity with the Mediterranean policy which he intends to promote.

“This policy will allow to reinforce dialogue, entente and cooperation as it is stipulated by Barcelona process,” he explained.

Moroccan, Spanish Sovereigns Highlight Need for Strategic Partnership

TANGIER, Apr.21 – HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco and HM King Juan Carlos 1st of Spain highlighted Tuesday during phone talks the importance of a strategic, ambitious and organized partnership between the two neighboring countries.

The two sovereigns voiced their countries’ resolve to consolidate relations in all realms within mutual trust. Furthermore, they hailed the coming visit of new Spanish premier, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, to Morocco on Saturday, in the first trip abroad since he took office as Spain’s premier.

The Spanish prime minister had vowed “preferential relations” with Morocco.

"Morocco demands and deserves preferential treatment and relations that are tailored to bringing about very close ties. That is what I shall say to the Moroccan authorities during my visit in the coming days,” he had asserted.
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Spain’s Premier in Morocco to Lay Bases for Strategic Partnership

RABAT, Apr.22 - Spain’s prime minister, Jose Luis Zapaterro, is expected on Saturday in Morocco, in his first trip abroad since he took office last week, a visit that is seen by many observers as a strong signal to Morocco by the new Spanish executive power and the basis of “a strategic partnership” between the two neighboring countries.

Zapatero, leader of the Spanish socialist party (PSOE), who chose Morocco for his first official trip, will live up to his commitment to establish vowed “preferential relations” with the kingdom and will convey to the Moroccan authorities the message that “Morocco deserves preferential treatment and relations that are tailored to bringing about very close ties.”

In keeping with the Mediterranean policy that his governmental team plans to promote in the sense of consolidating dialogue, understanding and cooperation, the head of the Spanish government has been making telling remarks, especially after a period of tense relations between the two Mediterranean countries that are separated by a 14-km strait.

Several crises between Morocco and Spain have marked the mandate of his predecessor, Jose Maria Aznar, climaxing with the crisis over the Tourah or Leila islet in July 2001. Zapatero, then leader of the opposition, was keen to come to Morocco in December 2001, to try a mediation in the conflict and call for restraint and wisdom.

Zapatero’s trip was the theme of phone talks this week between HM King Juan Carlos and HM King Mohammed VI who blessed this initiative, highlighting “the importance of a strategic, ambitious and organized partnership between the two neighboring countries.”

The Moroccan sovereign had also congratulated the new Spanish leader and expressed eagerness to meet Zapatero, a man he described as a “statesman” deserving his people’s confidence.

The King of Morocco had called for strategic partnership based on and oriented to global security and shared progress as part of the two countries’ firm adherence to the lofty values of neighborliness, human brotherhood, freedom, democracy and peace and fighting all types of violence, hatred, extremism and terrorism.

The two countries share the same concerns for cooperation and huge challenges, exacting them to consolidate their cooperation to fight terrorism and human trafficking webs. They are also condemned to reinforce their economic, political and cultural cooperation.

A future-oriented approach will help the two Mediterranean countries overcome the thorny issues that poison their ties and lay down bases for fruitful cooperation and deeper understanding between the Moroccan and Spanish peoples.

Spain’s Premier Arrives in Morocco

CASABLANCA, Apr.24 - Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodrigues Zapatero, arrived here Saturday afternoon, in his first official visit abroad since he took office last week.

Zapatero was greeted at the airport by Moroccan prime minister, Driss Jettou, and an important ministerial delegation. The Spanish premier is accompanied by a delegation comprising foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos and interior minister, José Antonio Alonso.

After the victory of his socialist party (PSOE) in the general elections, the Spanish prime minister vowed “preferential relations” with Morocco. He asserted that "Morocco demands and deserves preferential treatment and relations that are tailored to bringing about very close ties.”

On the eve of the visit, the Moroccan and Spanish monarchs highlighted during phone talks “the importance of a strategic, ambitious and organized partnership between the two neighboring countries.”

The Spanish government had described this visit as a “reunion between two nations” that were separated these last years by “useless tensions.”

First deputy president of the Spanish Government, Maria Teresa Fernandez De La Vega, said Friday the two countries must leave behind “misunderstandings” that marked their relations during the past three years, alluding to the 2002 dispute over the tiny Island of Perejil (for Spaniards) and Leila (for Moroccans).
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HM King Mohammed VI Receives Spanish Premier

CASABLANCA, Apr.24 – HM King Mohammed VI, accompanied by his younger brother HRH prince Moulay Rachid, received Saturday at the royal residence in Casablanca Spanish prime minister, José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who arrived Saturday on an official visit to Morocco.

The audience took place in the presence of Moroccan prime minister Driss Jettou.

At the Royal residence entrance, the Spanish premier was welcomed by the sovereign and HRH Prince Moulay Rachid.

The sovereign was also greeted by members of the delegation accompanying Zapatero, notably foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, interior minister, José Antonio Alonso and secretary of state in charge of immigration, Consuelo Rumi.

The Spanish prime minister’s visit aims at promoting relations between the two countries, after Zapatero vowed “preferential relations with Morocco in the wake of the victory of his socialist party (PSOE) in the general elections.

The Spanish government had described the visit as a “reunion between two nations” that were separated these last years by “useless tensions,” referring to the dispute between the two countries over the tiny Island of Perejil (for Spaniards) and Leila (for Moroccans) in 2002.

HM King Mohammed VI, Spanish Premier Dedicate Memorial of May Terror Victims in Casablanca

CASABLANCA, Apr.24 – HM King Mohammed VI and Spanish premier Jose-Luis Rodriguez Zapatero dedicated this Saturday afternoon in Casablanca a memorial of the victims of last May 16 terrorist attacks that claimed 45 victims, including 4 Spaniards.

The commemorative plaque reads “in memoriam of the victims of May 16, 2003 in Casablanca” in Arabic, French, Spanish and Italian languages. It also features a list with the names of the terror victims.

Four Spaniards were among the victims of the five quasi-simultaneous attacks that targeted four locations in Casablanca, a luxury hotel, a restaurant, a club of the Jewish community and the Spanish restaurant “Casa de Espana” where most of the victims fell.

In the presence of the victims’ families, people brandished banners reading “Moroccans more than ever resolved to build a country of unity, democracy, progress, solidarity and tolerance” and “terrorism will not pass”.
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Morocco's King, one of the great reformers in Arab states, Canadian report

Morocco-Canada, Politics, 4/21/2004

A Canadian parliamentary report has described Morocco's King Mohammed VI as "one of the greatest reformers in the Arab World," saying he represents the "best hope of development and democracy in the Muslim World."

The report on "Canada's relations with Muslim countries," worked out by the Canadian House of Common's (parliament) Permanent Committee of Foreign Affairs and International Commerce, underlined that Morocco is one of the first countries in the Arab states to have carried out important political reforms in human rights and freedom of speech.

The Committee deemed that Morocco could serve as a model to other Arab states, nothing that the Kingdom constitutes a "pole of peace, stability, and moderation in the Mediterranean and in the world."

The report recommends to the Canadian Government to support Morocco in its ongoing democratic and development efforts and in its reforms notably in Education and those in relation with the civil society's actions.
Moroccan and Spanish Monarchs Welcome Results of Zapatero’s Visit to Morocco

CASABLANCA, Apr.24 – HM King Mohammed VI and HM King Juan Carlos of Spain hailed this Saturday the “positive and promising” results of the official visit paid this Saturday by Spain’s prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero.

The two sovereigns, who held phone talks following Zapatero’s visit to Morocco, reiterated will to build strategic partnership in all fields at the service of the two neighboring and friend countries and of the traditional friendly ties binding the two peoples.

They also highlighted the importance of the intensive bounds uniting the Moroccan and Spanish royal families.

Prior to Zapatero’s visits, the two sovereigns had underlined the importance of a strategic, ambitious and organized partnership between the two neighboring countries and voiced resolve to consolidate relations in all realms within mutual trust.

HM King Mohammed VI and Zapatero held this Saturday in Casablanca a work session and dedicated a memorial of the victims of last May 16 terrorist attacks that claimed 45 victims, including 4 Spaniards.

The Spanish premier, accompanied by a delegation comprising foreign minister Miguel Angel Moratinos and interior minister Jose Antonio Alonso, paid this Saturday an official visit to the Kingdom, in his first trip abroad since he took office last week.
Full Text of HM King Mohammed VI Speech before the Higher Council of Ulemas

CASABLANCA, Apr. 30 – HM King Mohammed VI addressed here Friday the Higher Council and Provincial councils of Ulemas (scholars) on a three-part plan designed to overhaul and revamp the domain of religious affairs in order to “shield Morocco against the perils of extremism and terrorism.”

The speech is as follows:

“Praise be to God, Peace and Blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ever since I took up my duties as Amir Al Muminin (Commander of the Faithful), bound by the sacred pact of the “Bei’a” (allegiance), and by the ensuing obligation to defend the faith and religious community, I have been attaching the utmost importance to religious matters. I have also sought to ensure that the institutions in charge of religious affairs carry out their mission properly, and that the people running them are duly taken care of. This approach perpetuates my revered ancestors’ tradition of preserving the spiritual well-being of Morocco and the unity of the Maliki rite.

Dealing with worldly affairs can, of course, give rise to differences of opinion. After all, that is what democracy is all about. There can also be diverging views on how best to serve the public interest. But as far as religious affairs are concerned, we must remain committed to our single historical source of reference, namely the Sunni Maliki rite, to which the entire nation unanimously adheres. Protection of the Maliki rite is a duty which is incumbent upon me. In fact, the commitment to this rite is just as important as the constitutional obligation for me to preserve the country's territorial integrity and national unity. In this respect, I want to ensure that relevant Ijtihad efforts are pursued to keep abreast of modern times.

Following the announcements I made in my last State of the Nation Address, and in the Casablanca speech of 29th May 2003, and building on the measures and steps taken so far, we have reached the stage of finalizing and launching a comprehensive, multi-faceted and integrated strategy which means so much to me. It is a three-part plan designed to overhaul and revamp the domain of religious affairs in order to shield Morocco against the perils of extremism and terrorism. It is also meant to preserve the distinctive Moroccan identity, which is characterized by moderation and tolerance.

The institutional aspect of this strategy involves the restructuring of the Ministry for waqf and religious affairs. To this end, I have promulgated a Dahir (Royal decree) setting up two directorates, one for traditional education, and the other in charge of mosques. Legislation on places of worship will also be reconsidered to ensure that architectural requirements are complied with and that acts of worship are performed in a quiet, peaceful atmosphere. At the same time, the aim is to ascertain that places of worship are financed in a transparent, legal and sustainable manner.

I have decided that the Ministry of Islamic affairs should be represented by regional delegates to be appointed and entrusted with the running of Islamic affairs locally and in accordance with modern management methods. We insist on reviving the waqf institution and rationalizing its policies so that it may go on fulfilling the objectives for which it was legally established, as well as carrying out its social solidarity mission, as it continues to develop and grow, thanks to the generosity of benefactors.

To my mind, however, the effectiveness of this institutional component hinges on proper supervision. Therefore, I have stamped with the Royal seal the Dahirs (Royal decrees) appointing members of the Ulema Councils, in their new composition. I have asked the minister for waqf and religious affairs to officially install these councils. Composed of learned persons known for their loyalty to the sacred institutions of the nation as well as for their erudition as religious scholars and their open-minded attitude to modern times, the Ulema Councils are expected to adopt a close-proximity approach in managing religious affairs across the country. I urge their members to listen to the citizens, especially young people, and to protect their faith and minds against those who have strayed and those who distort the truth. I also want the membership of these Councils to include women well-versed in religious matters. We would thus be doing justice to women and treating them on an equal footing with men.

To shield the domain of religion from the influence of some intruders acting outside the legal institutional framework, I have asked the Higher Council of Ulema to submit to me, as Amir al Muminin and President of the Council, fatwas on events and matters with religious implications, lest others resort to expedient ploys or seek to spread confusion and chaos. I am just as keen to renew, expand and stimulate the Ulema Councils as I am determined to see to it that they do not become deserted forums, cut off from the other Ulema, who are non-members. On the contrary, I want these councils to serve as meeting places for all enlightened religious scholars, without exception.

The current reform should also concern the "Moroccan Ulema’s League", which must shake off its lethargy and become a dynamic institution, interacting with Ulema Councils. To that end, I will be promulgating a Dahir (Royal decree) spelling out this institution’s organization system as well as its membership. I have also decided to give my name to this institution, which will be made up of respected scholars who can be assured of my care and affection. It will be called the “Mohammadia League of Morocco’s Ulema".

I do realize, however, that the supervisory role assigned to this body will remain purely formal in the absence of a third pillar, a fundamental one, namely sound Islamic education and modern scientific training. Building on the pioneering work carried out by my revered Father, His Majesty King Hassan II, blessed be his soul, I have instructed the government to give the matter careful thought and to take the measures needed to rationalize, modernize and harmonize Islamic education, and to provide sound training in all the Islamic subjects, within a unified national education system.

Just as important is the need to modernize traditional schools, to safeguard the Koranic school system and to preserve it from misuse or deviation which might impair the Moroccan identity. Training programs and branches have also been planned to allow students enrolled in this system to join the national education scheme. Rather than inculcating narrow-mindedness, we shall be fostering open attitudes towards other cultures.

The aim of all these measures is not simply to provide our country with a well-thought-out, integrated strategy to help it meet all challenges in the domain of religion, within the framework of the institution of Imarat Al Muminin, which looks after the indivisible character of the nation and leads the country to progress and prosperity. We also want to contribute, in a rational and purposeful way, to redressing the image of Islam, which has been tarnished by vicious campaigns, triggered off by the extremism of villains and the hideous acts of senseless aggressors indulging in terrorism, a scourge which can in no way be ascribed to a specific country or religion.

I am referring to the true Message of Islam as conveyed to us by the Seal of all Prophets, Sidna Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon Him. Moroccans readily adhered to this Message as it is consistent, in all respects, with their natural disposition and with their single identity, which is determined by obedience to the Almighty, to His Messenger and to Amir Al Muminin, whom they have entrusted, through the Bei’a (allegiance), with a mandate to lead them. He has therefore protected them against all heresies and the evils of sectarianism, whose advocates have strayed from the Sunna and the consensus of the community.

As the first Servant of the Kingdom, I shall remain at the forefront of the struggle against all destructive currents that are alien to our society, which remains unwaveringly committed to the moderation and purity of Islam. This commitment applies to all Moroccans, including my loyal subjects who live abroad.

I take it to be an auspicious sign that the launching of this comprehensive reform project should coincide with the celebration of Al-Mawlid Al Sharif, with all the symbolism attached to the birth of my venerated Ancestor, Prophet Mohammed, peace and blessings be upon Him, and to the Message He stood for. Announcing the dawn of a tolerant civilization, the Message of Islam has contributed immensely to the advancement of the ideals of mankind. It has liberated humans from the shackles of darkness and obscurantism, enjoining them to cooperate in good deeds and to refrain from sin and aggression. May the Almighty ensure that ours are good deeds and include us among those who: “hear advice and follow the best thereof”.
King chairs religious ceremony marking Prophet’s birthday

;;;;CASABLANCA, May 1 – HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in his capacity of “Amir Al Mouminine” (Commander of the Faithful), on Saturday evening chaired a religious ceremony at the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, in commemoration of Aid Al Mawlid (Prophet Mohammed’s birthday).

The ceremony was attended by the monarch’s young brother HRH Prince Moulay Rachid , the Government’s members as well as high-ranking military officials and ambassadors from Islamic countries accredited in Rabat.

After the ceremony, the monarch handed the Mohammed VI Prize of the Thought and Islamic Studies to two renowned Moroccan professors, Mohamed Benabderrazak and Driss Ouahna in recognition of their works in Islamic sciences and astrology.

The King also received M'hamed Boucetta, Chairman of the Committee in charge of working out a practical guide of the new Family Code, who handed to the sovereign a copy.

The monarch had instructed the drafting of this guide, in his speech delivered on October 10 at the opening of the Parliament’s Fall session as well as in a letter sent to the Minister of Justice. The guide contains legal and regulatory provisions in order to harmonize efforts judges’ efforts in matters of jurisprudence in this area, and raise awareness in the public opinion regarding the new Family Code that grants unprecedented rights to women.

Family Code Practical Guide to Allow Good Implementation of Law

RABAT, May 04 - The practical guide draft submitted on Saturday by chairman of the drafting committee, M’Hamed Boucetta, to HM King Mohammed VI who approved it, was drafted in accordance with the royal instructions issued last October 10 and with the royal letter sent to the justice minister, and it is designed to ensure a good implementation of the new family code. The code guide, comprising all the germane legislative and regulatory arsenal, will be distributed to all jurisdictions nationwide, especially the newly-created family courts and justice auxiliary officers as well as Moroccan citizens. The aim of this wide dissemination is to ensure broad circulation in public opinion of the legal and regulatory standards related to the new family code and deepen awareness on rights and duties implied by the new legislation. The sovereign, who praised the work conducted by the commission members and chairman, has underscored his keenness that all measures are taken to ensure an optimum implementation of the law, which is a major text in the construction of a democratic society that is faithful to its civilization and identity while remaining open to modernity, through clear-sighted Ijtihad (jurisprudence) and drawing inspiration from the Islamic values of justice, equality, equity and social justice as bases for united and coherent families. The family code practical guide was submitted on Saturday to HM King Mohammed VI at the end of the religious service held to mark Aid Al-Mawlid (Prophet’s birthday).

HM King Mohammed VI Receives “Together for Peace” President

RABAT, May 04 - HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco received, here Tuesday, Mariapia Fanfani, chairman of “Together for Peace” foundation and widow of former Italian Prime Minister, Amintore Fanfani.The sovereign made Fanfani honorary member of the Mohammed V solidarity Foundation. “Together for Peace,” was created in 1988 to foster the ideals of peace and solidarity among nations. It is engaged in humanitarian actions all over the world and rewards every year figures for outstanding actions in favor of peace.In 1995, HM King Mohammed VI, then crown prince, was awarded the “Man for Peace Award" .


HM King Mohammed VI Probes national Oil Strategy

RABAT, May 04 (MAP)- HM King Mohammed VI of Morocco , chaired, here Tuesday, a work session to examine the national oil strategy. This session, attended by some members of the government headed by prime minister Driss Jettou, is part of actions conducted following the two blazes that broke out in Morocco's biggest oil refinery “Samir” (at the port of Mohammedia, 60 km South Rabat) in November 2002 and in September 2003. Following these events, the Moroccan sovereign had ordered a deep examination of the refinery sector given the importance to guarantee the safety of plants and neighboring areas. After examining the general energy situation and development prospects of infrastructures in terms of safety and supply of oil products, HM the king gave instructions to conduct actions aiming at guaranteeing the supply in the best conditions and preventing industrial and ecological hazards. These actions are also aimed at modernizing refineries to improve the quality of products and reduce harmful emissions. They are also destined to set up fresh units to keep in pace with the evolution of the needs of the national market and the international context, reinforce handling capacities in the country’s ports to diversify supply sources and allow a better regional repartition and the increase of stocks of strategic security.The National Supply Committee will continue to regulate the import of oil products in accordance with national production.During the work session, HM the King inquired about oil exploration in the kingdom that is witnessing a particular dynamic after the setting up of a new strategy following royal instructions in 2000.Currently, over 17 international oil companies are operating in Morocco. Between 85 and 90 percent of the Moroccan offshore is being explored by these companies.This fresh move is the result of a new law on hydrocarbons and the promotion of foreign investments by the state-owned National Office for Hydrocarbon and Mining (ONHYM).The sovereign also issued instructions to support ONHYM, notably by providing to the oil and mining sector the necessary financial means to benefit from current opportunities and increase investments.

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;Human rights council hands 1st report to HM King Mohammed VI

RABAT, May 06 – HM King Mohammed VI received, here Thursday, the chairman of the Consultative Council of Human Rights (CCDH), Omar Azziman, who submitted to the monarch the 2003 report on the situation of human rights in Morocco. The report, the first of its kind since the Council’s mandate was expanded pursuant to its amended statutes, was unanimously adopted by the Council at its 21st session last April 23.Issued by an independent institution placed under HM the King’s authority, the report highlights in an objective and impartial manner the accomplishments and advances made with respect to the protection and promotion of human rights, as well as shortcomings, abuses and excesses which have been pointed out in this connection. The CCDH chairman also submitted to the sovereign another report in connection with the situation in penitentiaries. Prepared in light of the advanced legislation adopted in 1999 on the subject, the report emphasizes the major progress that has been achieved as well as the areas of inefficiency. After being apprised of the content of the Council’s progress report for 2003 as well as its projects for the future, the monarch paid tribute to the Council for the responsible way in which it discharged its mission and urged it to step up efforts to play its advisory role fully and act as a link between the authorities and society. HM the king reaffirmed his determination to carry on with the task of building a democratic society working for, and relying on, the commitment to human rights, combined with a sense of civic responsibility.

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King Abdallah II of Jordan arrived this Thursday in Morocco for a private visit.
The Jordanian monarch was greeted at the Rabat-Sale aikrport by HM king Mohammed VI.
King Abdallah’s visit to Morocco comes before his trip to Tunisia, where he will take part in the Arab summit.
HM the King receives US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs

CASABLANCA, May 13 – HM King Mohammed VI received, here Thursday, US assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs, William Burns, who arrived in Morocco after a brief visit to Algeria.

Burns was accompanied by Atul Keshap, director of the national security council, Terry Snell, European affairs political advisor, Wayne Bush, chargé d’affaires in the US embassy in Rabat and Thimothy Lenderking, political affairs advisor in the US embassy.

Were present at the audience Foreign Affairs Minister, Mohamed Benaissa, and Delegate Minister in charge of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Taid Fassi Fihri.

Moroccan King Launches Works to Expand Mohammed V Airport

CASABLANCA, May 13 – HM King Mohammed VI launched here Thursday works for the extension of Mohammed V airport that will cost 720 million Dhs (US $80 million).

The works include the construction of a 40,000 m2 terminal, a new landing area, and a 1000-car parking lot in addition to the development of the existing building.

The project aims at increasing the airport capacity to 8 million passengers per year and improve the management of passengers flow . it also ambitions to separate the international and domestic traffics and guarantee better safety and security conditions.

HM the king also launched the construction of the industrial park of Nouasser whose implementation will cost 650 million Dhs (US $ 72 million) and which is expected to draw 11 billion Dhs (US $1.2 billion)-worth investments .

This 262 ha park will offer to national and foreign investors pieces of land for competitive prices and will provide indispensable services for industrial units. The project plans to create a logistic zone comprising a park for international road transport, a commercial zone grouping a hotel, restaurants, shops and green areas.

The industrial park of Nouasser, whose implementation will extend on 10 years, will group enterprises operating in a wide range of industries including agro-industry, textile, mechanics, electrics and electronics. Some 55,000 jobs will generate from this project which also plans the construction of 900 industrial units, offices and other services.

HM the king also inaugurated the industrial park of Bouskoura, carried out part of cooperation between the Moroccan government and the French trade and industry chamber in Morocco.

HM King Mohammed VI inaugurates major projects in Casablanca

CASABLANCA, May 14 – HM King Mohammed VI inaugurated Friday in the port of Casablanca the extension works of the eastern containers terminal that extends on 61,5 hectares in an operation that will necessitate a global budget of 582 million Dhs (nearly US $58.2 million).

The construction of new infrastructures in the eastern terminal required a budget of 282 million Dhs (US $28.2 million).

The extension aims particularly at improving productivity in imports (over 25 percent) by handling 22 boxes per hour as well as exports (over 20 percent) with 17 boxes per hour.

Casablanca port operated last year 38 percent of the global traffic in Morocco and 86 percent of containers traffic. During the same period, its global traffic was valued at 20.9 million tons of goods.

HM the king also inaugurated in Nouacer (region of Casablanca) an industrial unit dubbed “matis Acrospace” that is specialized in aeronautics wiring.

“Matis Aerispace” is a joint venture between American planes manufacturer “Boeing” company, Labinal (a branch of Snecma Group, the 4th jet-engine manufacturer in the world) and the Moroccan airliner Royal Air Maroc for manufacturing wire bundles.

The capital of this company which has been operational since 2002, is estimated at US $7.5 million (a third for each partner). The number of its employees will reach in 2005, 400 engineers, technicians, and operators.

President of Canary Islands : Mutual trust to improve Morocco-Spain ties

CASABLANCA, May 18 (MAP)- President of the Canary Islands autonomous government, Adan Martin, said here Monday following an audience with HM King Mohammed VI ties of mutual trust being established with Morocco are likely to improve relations between his government and Morocco and between Morocco and Spain.

The Spanish local official told reporters better relations will also contribute to reinforcing “economic, social and cultural cooperation”.

Despite the small size of the Canary Islands, he went on, the Spanish territory “can contribute to political stability and to improving relations between countries of the region”.

For Moroccan minister of foreign affairs and cooperation, Mohamed Benaissa, who was present at the royal audience, the Canary Islands president’s visit to Morocco “opens a new page in Morocco-Spain relations”. Benaissa also hoped that bilateral economic and trade ties will improve between Morocco and the Canary Islands, separated only by 100 km.

Martin who started on Sunday a two-day official visit to the Kingdom was accompanied by regional economy and finance minister José Carlos Mauricio, and general director of relations with Africa at the autonomous government, Luis Padilla.
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HM the King highlights revealed religions’ role in upholding peace, in message to Pope

RABAT, May 19 – HM King Mohammed VI highlighted the role of revealed religions in upholding peace, coexistence and brotherhood, in a message of congratulations to Jean Paul II on the occasion of his birthday.

“I should like to say how much I value the bonds of mutual esteem uniting us, as well as understanding of the role to be played by the revealed religions in upholding the universal values of peace, coexistence, brotherhood and constructive interaction between cultures and civilizations,” the message reads.

The monarch also shed light on the “wounded city of Al-Quds Al Shareef” (Jerusalem), underlining that “it is our shared responsibility to ensure that it continues to play its age-old role in strengthening the bonds of harmonious coexistence and mutual respect between Islam and Christianity.”

In conclusion, HM the king wished Jean Paul II, a “long, healthy and happy life”.
Tunisian President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali © walks with King Mohammed VI of Morocco (L) upon his arrival at Carthage airport in Tunis 21 May 2004, on the eve of the opening of the 16th Arab Summit. Arab leaders at the summit will for the first time condemn all attacks on all civilians in the Middle East conflict, Israelis as well as Palestinians, a senior Arab official said.
TUNIS, TUNISIA: King Mohammed VI of Morocco attends the opening session of the 16th Arab League Summit in Tunis 22 May 2004. Tunisian President Zine El Abidine ben Ali opened the long-delayed Arab summit focused on Middle East violence and Arab political reform by calling for a minute of silence for dozens of Palestinians killed in the ongoing Israeli military operation in the Gaza Strip.
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