Royal Activities
Monday 1 July 2013

Full Text Of The Message Addressed By HM King Mohammed VI To The 2013 Transatlantic Leadership Forum

Full Text Of The Message Addressed By HM King Mohammed VI To To The 2013 Transatlantic Leadership Forum

Here follows the full text of the Royal message to the opening session of the 2013 transatlantic leadership forum held in Marrakech

"Praise be to God     May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin

Mr. Chairman,

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It gives me great pleasure to send this message to the participants in the conference of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation, from the United States of America. I should like to welcome you most warmly tothe Kingdom of Morocco and to the city of Marrakech, which is a symbol of openness and cultural interaction.

I wish to express my sincere thanks to all the members of your esteemed Foundationfor choosing Morocco as the venue for the 2013 Transatlantic Leadership Forum, which is the largest ever held by your institution and the first to be convened in an Arab or African country.

I commend the role the Foundation is playing as an independent, non-partisan organization to inform and inspire legislative leaders throughout the United States of America, especially legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives as well as the leaders of the majority and the opposition in both Houses. I should like, in this regard, to urge Moroccan members of parliament and elected officials in Moroccan regions and provinces to consolidate their cooperation and exchange of experience with your esteemed institutions.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As you know, the Moroccan-American friendship has existed for a long time. It is the result of special and unique ties rooted in our two nations’ time-honored history which dates back to the eighteenth century. Indeed, Morocco was among the first countries to recognize the new independent State in 1777.

We pride ourselves on the important Treaty of Peace and Friendship signed by our two nations in 1786 as well as on the historic exchange of letters between Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdellah (Mohammed IV) and President George Washington, which paved the way for a very close, enduring relationship based on friendship, cooperation and mutual esteem which stands as a model in terms of stability and continuity in the field of international relations.

Building on this time-honored yet constantly enhanced relationship, both Morocco and the United States set out to lay new foundations for their outstanding relations through the establishment, in September 2012, of a strategic dialogue between the two countries. This decision illustrated our determination to strengthen and further develop the Moroccan-American relationship, a strong wish I share with President Obama.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I commend you on your choice of theme for the Forum, namely Local Democracy: the Moroccan Model in its Regional Environment. Not only does this theme reflect the interests and concerns of the distinguished members of your high-level delegation, but it is in tune with the sweeping reforms introduced by the Kingdom of Morocco to enhance democratic practice at both local and national levels.

Our decision, in this regard, is irreversible. Indeed, we want to lay the groundwork for a purely Moroccan model of local governance based on freedom, civic values and participation as well as the promotion of sustainable social and economic development and the release of the nation’s creative energies. We want these objectives to be achieved in a modern country which is firmly committed not only to safeguarding its national and territorial integrity but also its specific identity, with its Arab, Islamic Amazigh, Saharan and Hassani components, and its distinctive African, Andalusian, Jewish and Mediterranean features, as enshrined in the Kingdom’s new Constitution.

For us, local democracy is not just a declaration of intent. We gained extensive experience in the area of decentralized governance after the country’s independenceand, as early as the 1960s, local governance became a tangible reality which is now enshrined in the new Constitution. Indeed, the latter makes advanced regionalization the pillar of the Kingdom’s local governance system.

Notwithstanding the characteristics of your federal model and those of our unitary system, both our countries are committed to the principles of modern management regarding our national territory, particularly a reliance on decentralized governance as far as the various local authorities are concerned. We also uphold the same founding principles of local democracy, which are enshrined in the new Moroccan Constitution and which include free enterprise, cooperation and solidarity, as well as the participation of citizens in the management of their affairs and the promotion of their contribution to sustainable, integrated human development.

Advanced regionalization is based on the consolidation of local, civic-minded and participatory democracy as well as on the promotion of the cultural, social and historical legacy of the various regions making up our country. It is also premised on the development of regional and local assets and features in a country that brings all regions together by building on the reform and revamping of state institutions. To this end, we seek to ensure optimal distribution of powers between central and local government, and to capitalize on a democratic system which is sensitive to the citizens’ needs and which enables all regions to unlock their full potential and be active players in the pursuit of development. The aim is to make the regions the key lever for economic and social development, not as entities which are subordinate to the state, but as real partners of the state, of the private sector and of civil society so as to achieve balanced development and reduce inter-regional disparities.

I am determined to ensure these principles are implemented in full. We expect advanced regionalization to be applied across the Kingdom, starting with our Moroccan Saharan provinces.

I should like, in this respect, to reaffirm Morocco’s commitment to the United Nations’ process for the settlement of the artificial regional dispute over the Moroccan Sahara, on the basis of our bold autonomy initiative and within the framework of the Kingdom's sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity. The international community has commended the serious, credible character of the Moroccan initiativebecause of its democratic essence which upholds human rights and guarantees extensive management of local affairs by the populations concerned. A key strategic objective of the said initiative is to achieve Maghreb development and integration - within the framework of a new Maghreb order - and to ensure security and stability in the Sahel-Sahara region and in North Africa, by stemming balkanization, extremism and terrorism which now threaten all the countries of the region and have become a bitter reality that requires a collective response.

Your Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Your conference clearly attaches great importance to the economic dimension, as shown by the presence of several major business and corporate leaders. While they are visiting our country, I would like to invite them to explore the promising potential for investment in Morocco and to establish partnerships with Moroccan economic operators and business leaders.

The promotion of our economic relations with the United States has always been a priority for us, and I believe the Free Trade Agreement between our two nations gives eloquent testimony to that. This Agreement - the only one of its kind between the United States of America and an African country - came into force in January 2006.

In 2007, Morocco signed an agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation for the implementation of ambitious programs with a view to reducing poverty and boosting economic growth. We take note, with deep satisfaction, of the positive results achieved under the first Compact and look forward to benefiting not only from the prospects that have been opened up,but alsofrom future cooperation programs undera second compact.

These two examples - and indeed many other programs of fruitful cooperation - reflect our common desire and our firm resolve to further develop our economic relations so they can match the depth of the political relationship between our two nations.

The first US-Morocco Business Development Conference, held last December, gave fresh impetus to cooperation between our two countries and served to identify the most promising sectors with value-added potential. We hope the second conference, to be held in Rabat next November, will contribute to promoting cooperation between Morocco and the various U.S. States.

I also hope the forthcoming conference will provide an opportunity to review the ways and means for the consolidation of our cooperation in the area of cultural and academic exchange, to further promote concord and understanding between our peoples, to uphold religious tolerance and to encourage inter-faith, intercultural dialogue. I know we share a common belief in these principles, and I think they are crucially important to the rapprochement and understanding between our peoples. This is why I pledge to uphold and defend them against all forms of extremism, marginalization and exclusion.

Once again, welcometo Morocco. I wish you an enjoyable stay and a very successful conference.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh."