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Morocco Week in Review 
November 14
, 2015

Moroccan American Jew Tells His Green March Story From Laayoune
Saturday 7 November 2015 - morocco world news By Joshua Cohen Laayoune

Streets lined with Moroccan flags. Children singing national songs. People sitting on top of cars while shouting expressions of love and admiration for their country. This is Laayoune in 2015. This is the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Green March.

When I was first invited to the 40th anniversary celebration of the Green March in Laayoune, I was excited, but also a little skeptical about my safety. After my confrontation with Aminatou Haidar in Washington, I knew I must always watch my back and be careful of who I trust. After my new dear friends, Hayat Noufouss Zidane, President of the Fédération Femmes Marocaines & Femmes du Monde, as well as Nicole Elgrissy, a Moroccan Jewish writer in Casablanca, insisted I come along, I decided I would attend the festivities.

Nicole and I travelled together, two Jews on our way to Laayoune to show our support for our Morocco and its territorial integrity. Of course our Jewish identity made our experience more unique, because this was over 50 years after the mass exodus of Jews from Morocco. Our attendance demonstrated the strong bond Moroccan Jews maintain with Morocco regardless of where they live in the world. Our Moroccan identities played a significant role in our sense of national belonging and unity alongside our Muslim countrymen.

Of course we were full of emotion, since this was our first time going to Laayoune. As the plane began flying over the Moroccan Sahara, we saw nothing outside the window but endless sand. It was early evening. Then out of nowhere, we spotted lights: a huge glow coming out of the sands. It was the city of Laayoune, shining like a pearl. From the moment we landed, we could feel the city we always heard about. We could feel its “Moroccanness”.

As we exited the plane, Nicole stopped abruptly and told me, “Joshua, grab your phone and let us make a video singing Laayoune Einiya”. Nicole and I wanted to capture the precious moment of our arrival. The strong sense of Moroccan national spirit overtook us and left us speechless. We were greeted at the airport with songs of the Green March.

We could feel the unity as we rode along the main avenues of the city. This was a pearl in the desert. Wide avenues lined with beautifully decorated homes reflected the desert city’s modern infrastructure. Nicole and I were impressed and overwhelmed with emotion. For the duration of our trip, we were amazed at the diversity and unity that was present in this pearl, this pearl we call Laayoune.

This is a special city. This is a city that reflects the meaning of being Moroccan. This is a city where unity takes on a new meaning. It takes on a meaning beyond national pride. It shows the mosaic and support of all Moroccans, from all regions, and their support for the cause of preserving Morocco’s national rights to its historical lands that were exploited and plundered by European colonial powers.

During the festivities, the number of people that recognized my face and knew my story surprised me. I found myself surrounded by many journalists taking pictures of me in traditional Sahrawi garb. Celebrities were mingling in the same space I found myself with Nicole.

When I went over to Moroccan singer Asma Lmnawar and asked for a picture, I told her that I am from America but I have some Moroccan roots. Immediately, her face lit up, and she responded that she knows who I am and that for her, I am simply a Moroccan, like anyone else. And she told me that she was proud of me and that she even saw my viral video with Aminatou Haidar. She told me to keep doing what I am doing and took out her own phone to take pictures with me. Of course I was at a loss for words and was pleasantly surprised that a famous Moroccan singer already knew who I was before I even introduced myself.
Touching words like this give me encouragement and reminded me of the importance of young people like myself getting involved in important causes. Our voices do matter as the young generation, because we are the future. Our elders must coach us and prepare us to be the next leaders of the world.

For me, Nicole Elgrissy was my main source of encouragement and inspiration. She always told me to keep going and never allow anyone to obstruct my beliefs and convictions and love for Morocco. Nicole is a role model for Moroccan Jews – she is very vocal and expressive of her patriotism and fond feelings of her Moroccan homeland and His Majesty Mohammed VI. She was a teenager when Morocco recovered its Sahara in 1975, so this trip was an extraordinary experience for her, especially as a Jewish woman that never left Morocco. Being accompanied by her on this trip has made my experience more memorable and enriching.

In addition to Nicole Elgrissy, Rabbi Jacky Kadosh, President of the Jewish community in Marrakesh, also participated in the festival with his wife. At the end of the festivities on Friday, all of us celebrated our Shabbat. Under the dark star-lit sky of the Sahara, we welcomed our Muslim compatriots to join us for a Shabbat dinner. Here we were, a table of Jews and Muslims at a Shabbat dinner table in Laayoune in the year 2015. This beautiful sight showed the unbreakable bond between Jews and Muslims in Morocco and the beauty of pluralism in our kingdom.

The spirit of Green March will always live on in the blood of the Moroccan people. The memory of His Late Majesty Hassan II will always be with us. What I saw in Laayoune this week sends a strong message to the international community that Moroccans are a proud people and we will never forget our history and rights of sovereignty in a post-colonial North Africa.|

The 40th anniversary of Green March is a reminder to the enemies of Morocco that they will never succeed in damaging the spirit of the Moroccan people. They will never stop the roaring crowds of Moroccans from celebrating their love for the Moroccan Sahara. For me, my attendance as an American shows my support for the first country in the world to recognize my country’s independence from a colonial power. My attendance as someone with Moroccan Jewish origins reflects that I do not forget my roots and the soil of the land my ancestors dwelled in for centuries.
Feature Photo credit: Adnane Bennis

Meditations on Morocco A New Form of Gender Inequality.
November 9, 2015 by Daria Etezadi Rabat, Morocco

Picture this: rows of tables line the cafe’s outer wall, and wooden chairs face out onto the street. On any given weekday, dozens of men can be found seated comfortably outside, sipping on their espressos and staring blankly at passersby. Walk around the city and, rest assured, you’ll see the same setup at every cafe and public space: countless men lounging around — not a single woman to be found.

Originally, I chalked this disparity up to traditional Middle Eastern culture, which often encourages women to lay low and distance themselves from men. But I went ahead and asked the locals if they knew the story behind these men who sit around and do absolutely nothing for hours on end, day after day. Do they have jobs? Where are the women?

Turns out the men who spend their time “people-watching” don’t have jobs, nor do they need them. Why? The women in their lives are working full-time jobs in clothing shops and medical centers and financing the household with their hard-earned money. These women return in the evenings, only to light the stoves and prepare a hearty dinner, passing the time by scrubbing the floors and hanging up the laundry.

So, these men can smoke their cigarettes or kick around a soccer ball, while their wives, sisters and daughters slave away to support their families. Go figure.
The Western perspective on gender inequality is based on the premise that women have historically been stereotyped as inferior to men and have therefore been denied access to the same opportunities — both at home and in the workforce.

Yet, here in Morocco, gender inequality takes on a whole new meaning: the culture here feeds the idea that women have a stronger work ethic and are subsequently positioned to fill the roles of both the breadwinners and the homemakers; traditionally, men here have accepted these gender roles and enjoyed the luxury of sitting around and smoking cigarettes for four or five hours on a Wednesday afternoon.

Well, then, doesn’t that mean that the women here should be treated with more respect and revered as higher-class citizens? Try again.

For entertainment value and to satisfy what I’d call an “entitlement complex,” Moroccan men, who aimlessly wander the streets or lean up against dilapidated buildings while puffing up smoke, will not hesitate to call out to women and walk alongside them, pressing for their phone numbers or following them for miles until they get bored.

Not all men in Morocco behave this way — just like any trend, there will always be those who fall within this pattern of behavior and those who qualify as outliers. But this behavior is so common that women are cautioned to be on guard, to conceal any valuables and to not engage the street harassment they will encounter. This — the catcalling and the kissing noises and the persistent conversations — is shrugged off, though apologetically, as part of the culture.
I was raised to believe that street and sexual harassment are inexcusable, period. However, I find it especially offensive when those on the receiving end of this shameful behavior are pulling most of the weight in this country and make up the hardest-working demographic.

So, the question remains: how can we successfully push for greater gender equality across the globe? Or, more specifically, how can we effectively extend this mentality that every human life matters and has value while understanding that cultural dynamics and the specifics of gender inequality vary from region to region?

Though we operate with the best intentions, many raise concerns that the United States and Western societies are overstepping their bounds by drawing attention to issues that the locals have learned to work around and have accepted as a way of life.

Several women here have admitted that they feel unsafe walking the streets at night without a male escort, and that they choose to wear a headscarf and reflective sunglasses because they feel safer when they are inconspicuous.

These women, who work tirelessly and endlessly, often don’t feel safe in their own neighborhoods. They don’t feel comfortable knowing they’re being watched and followed by men who have nothing better to do with their time and lack the motivation to occupy themselves with something more . . . productive. Yet, in spite of the added inconvenience, these women have gotten used to speaking in hushed tones and keeping a low profile. It’s just how things are done.
So I have to ask: is it wrong to question the norms in someone else’s community, or is it heroic? Whose place is it to fight for someone else’s rights, and who decides?
Daria Etezadi is a junior in the School of Foreign Service. Meditations on Morocco appears every other Monday on

How the world’s longest-running Chabad house survives in Morocco.
by Ben Sales, JTA Nov. 10, 2015

Raizel Raskin’s office feels like a cluttered museum of Moroccan Jewish heritage. A photo from an old Jewish summer camp lays on the table. Another, of a rabbi meeting Moroccan dignitaries, hangs on the wall. Outside the door is a bookshelf filled with Hasidic tracts translated into Arabic.

But the rest of Chabad’s multistory complex here looks almost abandoned. Once a school bustling with hundreds of Jewish children, the facility today is largely an empty shell, with dust collecting on unused sports equipment and desks sitting disorganized in unused classrooms. Even the portrait of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, the movement’s late leader whose bearded face typically occupies a place of honored prominence in Chabad homes, is peeling off the wall of the foyer.

Crossing the building’s courtyard, Raskin notices a dead bird. “Every emissary has their own problems,” said Raskin, who moved to Morocco from France with her husband, Yehuda, in 1960. Pointing at the bird, she added, “This is also part of the Morocco experience.”

At 65 years old, the Chabad in Casablanca is the Hasidic movement’s oldest outpost in the world, and one of only two in the Arab world (the other is in Tunis). Chabad’s first emissaries arrived there in 1950, the beta test for what would grow into a global movement of thousands of Chabad rabbis and their wives scattered across six continents.

In its early years, Morocco’s Jewish population numbered 250,000 and Chabad served 5,000 students in schools across the country. But following the establishment of Israel in 1948 and Morocco’s independence from France in 1956, the vast majority emigrated. Today, Chabad runs classes, weekend programs and a summer camp for the 2,500 Jews who remain. The week before Rosh Hashanah, raw chickens sat on crates ready to be cooked.

Chabad has survived here by keeping a low profile and maintaining good relations with the government. Like other Jewish institutions in Morocco, Chabad’s activities take place mostly behind closed doors. Its main building in Casablanca is unmarked, and a second facility is accessible through a winding alley removed from the street, with little outward identification.

Local rabbis also avoid talking about the Jewish state. Rabbi Levi Banon, who was born in Morocco and returned to run the operation in 2009, says Casablancans are mostly indifferent — or even friendly — toward Jews, though tension does flare during Israel’s frequent military operations. Raskin said that during Israel’s earlier wars, Moroccans would throw stones at Jews.

“Moroccan people are good people,” Banon said. “To them, the most important is the human touch and the human instinct. That’s more important than politics.”
The first Chabad rabbi in Morocco, Michael Lipsker, was dispatched by Schneerson at the behest of his predecessor, Yosef Yitzchak Schneersohn, who wanted Chabad to help ensure the country’s long rabbinic tradition wouldn’t be lost.

“The tradition is very strong here — everyone has his own customs, his family’s customs,” said Raskin, whose husband served as the Morocco emissary for more than four decades until his death in 2004. “The previous rebbe said that the Jews of Morocco have a lot to do.”

Chabad has persisted through the years by staying in the good graces of Morocco’s rulers. A photo of King Mohammed VI hangs next to Schneerson’s portrait near the building’s entrance, and Banon says Schneerson kept a correspondence with Mohammed’s father, Hassan II. Hassan’s United Nations ambassador even visited Schneerson in Brooklyn in 1988.“You have done much good for the Jews there,” Schneerson told him, before giving him two dollar bills for charity — one for himself, one for the king — a tradition Schneerson maintained with many of his visitors for years.

“There were a few problems, but not from the government,” said Rabbi Shalom Edelman, who has served as a Chabad emissary in Morocco since 1958. “The government was always good to Jews.”

In recent years, Morocco has experienced what the Chabad emissaries describe as a newfound openness to the world. The standard of living has risen and, though Morocco and Israel don’t have formal diplomatic relations, Chabad rabbis can still freely travel between the two countries, an impossibility in the 1960s.
But none of that is likely to result in a resurgence of Jewish life in the country. While Raskin and Edelman are happy so many emigres have moved to Israel, they feel like caretakers for the vestiges of what was once an illustrious community.

“I know they went to Israel, to a safe place I can’t worry about, to a good place for fearing God,” Edelman said. “But for us, it’s harder. We need to fill a space. We educated them and they left, so what we accomplished left.”

Column: Life abroad in Morocco
November 9, 2015 By Molly Miller

A few weeks ago, I decided to check out an evening philosophy class hosted by this local group that calls itself Nueva Acrópolis, and it was all nice and pleasant until I was asked for my opinion on some theory about the harmony between mind and body. Not only was I terrified of speaking Spanish in front of a room full of native speakers, but I also realized that I didn’t really have opinions of Spain.

Usually, when I’m in classes at UConn, I’m critical of everything. I’m critical of the information that’s presented, I’m critical of the way that the professor is presenting it and I’m critical of the professor for choosing to present the information in the first place.

When I hear new information in Spanish, however, I’ve realized that I focus so hard on understanding each phrase that I don’t have the energy to figure out whether or not I agree with what’s being presented. By the time I have understood what’s being said, I’ve already mentally accepted it as true. This really bothers me. I’ve come to see skepticism as one of my better qualities, and the idea of just going along with the flow without thinking is scary. That’s why I’ve decided to err on the side of cynicism for the time being.

I know that no one likes a cynic, and I’ve always had this idea that study abroad isn’t the time for cynicism. It’s the time for traveling and being young and free and prancing through new cities with flowers in your hair. At least, that’s the impression I’ve gotten from social media.

But I really do enjoy being cynical. I feel as though not to being at least a little bit skeptical or cynical of a city is almost disrespectful. You can’t love a town, a city, or a country without first accepting its flaws. It seems better to wait until you know the good and the bad of place before you share opinions about it.
I visited Morocco two weekends ago, and it was a lot of fun. We rode camels, ate cous cous, felt good about ourselves after haggling at markets, and basically did all of the things that tourists are supposed to do there. The cities were interesting and I’d definitely like to return if it’s ever a possibility, but I wouldn’t say that I know the place enough to love it.

When my señora asked how Morocco was, I told her it seemed beautiful and that it reminded me of Granada. She told me that Morocco was a different world, nothing like Granada. In truth, a lot of the architecture is pretty similar. One of the biggest industries in Granada is tourism, and much of that tourism, in Granada and in other cities in the Andalusian region, revolves around Arabic and Mudejar architecture.

Spain also occupied northern Morocco for a while during the twentieth century, so one could even say that both cultures influenced each other. I guess the part that makes Morocco a “different world” are the buildings that are occupied by those who are Muslim, whereas the buildings here are occupied mainly by tourists.
Of course, there are other differences. Spain has a safer reputation, greater freedom of press.

The point is, I didn’t spend enough time in Morocco to understand it. It’s impossible to get to know a city, let alone a country, in a weekend. Sure, you can notice small things that you like or dislike, but a weekend with a tour group can only expose you to so much, and I don’t think it would be honest for me to say whether or not I like or dislike a place after only spending three or four days in it.
Molly Miller is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at She tweets @MollyKBMiller.

Morocco’s Banque Populaire Inaugurates its Representative Office in Washington D.C.
Thursday 12 November 2015 - morocco world news Washington D.C.

The President of Banque Centrale Populaire Group (BCP) Mohamed Benchaâboun inaugurated on Tuesday in Washington, a new representative office in Washington D.C., making BCP the first ever Moroccan financial institution to open a representative office in the United States. The President and Morocco’s Ambassador to the United States, Rachad Bouhlal, together cut the ribbon at a ribbon-cutting ceremony held in the new office on Connecticut Avenue. The event was, attended by Ambassadors from six other African countries, hi-level officials of BCP, members of the Moroccan community in the greater Washington area, New York, Texas, and other states, as well a number of American business leaders.

Speaking during a celebratory dinner held afterward at the Mayflower Hotel, Mr. Benchaâboun said that the Representative Office, which received approval by the U.S. Federal Reserve in March 2014, “will facilitate the business relationship of the Moroccan community with BCP and put at the disposal of all of its customers the necessary information on financial products and services offered by the bank in Morocco.” Noting that the Moroccan community had clearly expressed its “wish to see a first class Moroccan financial group established” in the U.S., he said, “Well — we listened.”

“Through the services offered by our Representative Office in Washington,” he continued, the 450,000 Moroccans in the U.S. “now have access to the banking, financial services, and benefits offered by the entire Banque Centrale Populaire network in Morocco. “Our office serves as an intermediary between you and your bank in Morocco to open checking and savings accounts, apply for loans, use multiple investment instruments that are available in Morocco, and access BCP’s banking expertise to develop financing solutions for either your personal business or your business projects in Morocco. This is the primary purpose of our Representative Office and its fundamental mission.”

He went on to add that BCP will also take the necessary steps to establish agreements with the major U.S. financial institutions to make available to Moroccans “in the very near future” the means to make secure money transfers arefaster and at reduced cost. “I know how important this is to you,” he said, highlighting the fact that money transfers received in Morocco from the United States had exceeded $500 million in 2014.

Mr. Benchaâboun pointed out that one of the group’s primary goals is to continue to play its role of “link” between Moroccans living abroad and their country of origin.“The opening of the representative office is also part of our strategy to further strengthen our relations with the Moroccan diaspora wherever it resides, and enable its members to be close as possible to their regions of origin,” he noted.

Another important function of the Representative Office is to facilitate investment from the U.S., an area in which he said, “Our Representative Office in Washington has an extremely important role to play.” The office will “give potential American investors a better window on opportunities available” under the bank’s programs, and “allow us to bring all of the Group’s expertise to bear on implementing those opportunities,” he said.

“But that is not all,” he continued. The representative office in Washington has also been assigned the mission of identifying, promoting, and facilitating the “huge, as yet unexploited” opportunities of the Free Trade Agreement signed by Morocco and the United States in 2004.

Noting that establishing the Representative Office had not been easy, Mr. Benchaâboun sincerely thanked Ambassador Bouhlal for his “unfailing and constant support” of the project, especially during the “long and arduous” Federal Reserve approval process.

Ambassador Bouhlal, also offered some brief remarks, stressing that the inauguration of the new Moroccan banking platform of BCP is part of the spirit and letter of the “exceptional partnership between Morocco and the United States, particularly after the historic visit by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in Washington in November 2013, and the summit meeting at the White House between the Sovereign and President Barack Obama.”

He noted that such a move carries “promising prospects” for the development of economic and business relations, particularly in a tripartite approach that engages U.S., Moroccan, and sub-Saharan Africa business, in line with the ambitious partnership that tops the African strategy implemented by King Mohammed VI.
In a surprise move at the end of the dinner, the Moroccan community expressed its appreciation to BCP’s management, and presented engraved plaques to Mr. Benchaâboun, to the General Manager of BCP in charge of the project, Mr. Läidi El Wardi, and to Samira Hadri, the first head of BCP’s Representative Office in the U.S.
Edited by Elisabeth Myers

Morocco Bans Plastic Bags in a Major Environment-Friendly Move
November 11, 2015

Morocco, which will host the 22nd Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP22) next year, has adopted a major green move translating its attachment to the protection of the environment.

Six years ago, the North African country banned black plastic bags. Now the Moroccan House of Representatives (Parliament) has adopted a bill banning the manufacturing and marketing of plastic bags. This bill is viewed as an environmental revolution and a contribution made by Morocco to address global climate change challenge which is threatening not only the environment, but also to address economic and social development as well as global security and stability.
The North African country has engaged early in the fight against the negative effects of climate change, while adopting a global, inclusive and responsible approach.

The Moroccan Constitution of 2011 clearly stipulates the right to a safe environment and the need to strike a balance between the socioeconomic development requirements and environment protection. Several western countries have also banned the use of plastic bags or charge shoppers for their use to force them to rethink about the environment impact of these bags and seek other alternatives.

Over 100 species of sea birds are known to have ingested plastics, and according to a scientific study around 95 pc of fulmar, a seabird related to albatrosses, have been found to have potentially hazardous plastics in their stomachs.

The European Union has pledged to reduce the number of plastic bags used annually per person from 191 now to 90 by 2019 and 40 in 2025. Some 4.5 billion of the plastic bags used by Europeans each year end up as litter – often in landfills or waterways such as the English Channel, where studies have shown a floating debris field of up to 100 items per square km, threatening sea mammals and birds with entanglement and ingestion. By 2020, the number of plastic bags that end up as litter each year is projected to rise to 5.1bn. Campaigners say that more than one million plastic bags are used every minute around the world, each with an average working life of just 15 minutes.

Vacation in Morocco a pleasant eye-opener
Jackson Hole News & Guid Posted: Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It started with a movie I saw 40-some years ago, an old movie even then. Humphrey Bogart and Paul Henreid and Ingrid Bergman were trying to get out of Casablanca. Sydney Greenstreet was enjoying tea, sporting a fez, and playing the benign villain. The Nazis were, of course, anything but benign. I bought the poster, I memorized too many of the lines, and at the beginning of this month I dragged my roommate to Morocco for our wedding anniversary. It turns out Casablanca doesn’t look like a Warner Bros. set. It’s a sprawling modern city. And the fabled Rick’s, where Sam played “As Time Goes By,” is a relatively new establishment that caters to tourists.

But the rest of Morocco exceeds expectations, no matter how romantic.

Morocco is a country whose bones show through the landscape. The snow-capped Atlas Mountains separate the Atlantic and Mediterranean coasts from the southeastern Sahara desert, a place so blank on maps that 300 years ago they might have included the warning that “here be Djinns.”

But the landscape pales in comparison with the people, an admixture of Berbers and Arabs influenced by four decades of French occupation. Almost all of them are Muslims. And every single one we’ve met and talked to has been hospitable and friendly.

We’ve chatted with farmers about irrigation, shoeing horses and the best way to store hay. We’ve haggled with shopkeepers over trinkets, and I was even offered 10,000 camels for my roommate, an amount I didn’t have time to properly consider before she yanked me on to the next stall.

But the lesson is that people are people. And people worry about the same kinds of things everywhere, whether they live in Morocco or Montana: their kids, their jobs, their family’s future. And people are, by and large, decent, something news headlines sometimes make it easy to forget.

Soon after our arrival in Morocco a Russian airliner en route from Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, to Saint Petersburg crashed in the Sinai Peninsula. Our brief exposure to news since then made it seem likely that the crash was the work of Muslim extremists. The Muslims we’ve talked to in Morocco are as worried about that possibility as we are and every bit as unsympathetic to radical Islam. As one of our Moroccan guides (a Muslim) put it, extremists like ISIS practice “Islam a la carte”: They pick and chose and then combine sections of the Koran to justify almost any atrocity.

If you’re an extremist, an a la carte approach to your holy book has practical advantages. You can prohibit, as ISIS wants to, sitting in chairs (bad because chairs are a western invention), shoes with heels (another Western custom) or pop music (Western again) while using your laptop or cellphone to set off an improvised explosive device.

If you’re an extremist you’re unconstrained by any need to be consistent. You don’t need to consider the whole book or the whole picture, only those parts that reinforce your views.

Our views about Muslim countries tend to be formed by the evening news. But it sometimes loses context, particularly when it dumps an entire people or country into the ISIS sewer.

Muslim Morocco, for example, was the first country to recognize the United States as an independent nation in 1777. And the Moroccan-American Treaty of Friendship ratified in 1787 is our oldest unbroken treaty.

We’ve had a great time in Morocco but are ready to get home. While I’ve learned a lot about the country and about Islam, I’m left with two questions: How much better would “Casablanca” have been if it had been filmed here in Morocco instead of a Warner Bros. lot in California? And how much, exactly, are 10,000 camels worth?
Brad Mead is a fourth-generation Jackson Hole rancher, an attorney and a distiller of whiskey. He is Gov. Matt Mead’s brother and a former University of Wyoming trustee. Contact him at

Morocco: An Ambitious Model Of Development For Southern Provinces – OpEd
By Said Temsamani November 11, 2015

During his current visit to Laayoune, King Mohammed VI launched a series of key projects to improve infrastructure in the southern provinces. 77 billion dirhams are allocated to all those projects that seek to create centers of competitiveness and relies on main pillars as economic development, social promotion, good governance, sustainability and reinforcement of good governance. The new model of development was hailed by local media as well by the inhabitants of the southern provinces. Everybody was looking forward to the launching of those great projects that will give the inhabitants the opportunity to see and greet the King.

However, the personal physician of King Mohammed VI prescribed a suspension of the sovereign’s activities for 10 to 15 days after that HM the King contracted a severe flu syndrome during the recent royal visit to India, said on Tuesday a statement by HM the King’s personal physician.“During the recent royal visit to India, HM King Mohammed VI have contracted a severe flu syndrome which worsened during the sovereign’s current trip to the city of Laayoune,” said the statement. “Following the evolution of this flu syndrome with bronchopulmonary and oropharyngeal symptoms, mainly a loss of the voice, HM the King’s personal physician prescribed a suspension of the sovereign’s activities for of period of 10 to 15 days,” it added

So the monarch’s activities will be suspended for a while but for sure he will resume his visit to the southern provinces to launch those projects that aim to provide for the restructuring of the phosphate sector through the project “Phosboucraa for industrial development”, the promotion of the agricultural and fisheries sector and the development of environment-friendly tourism. A brand new University Hospital Center will be built in Laayoune and a town with high-tech industrial facilities in Foum El Oued, and promoting the Hassani culture to make it a lever for local development. Protection of water and fisheries resources, development of renewable energy, preservation of diversity and natural systems, and the reinforcement of the southern provinces’ connection with the Kingdom’s provinces and prefectures as well as with the rest of the world are also on the top agenda.

These new projects, launched during the historic visit King Mohammed VI is making to the Sahara on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the Green March celebrated last Friday, aim to make of the Sahara provinces a gateway to West Africa.

Morocco which has started implementing the advanced regionalization process in the Southern provinces, part of its desire to increase, as put by the King, “the chances of finding a lasting solution to the artificial dispute over our territorial integrity,” Moreover, the advanced regionalization is also the Moroccan perception of a solution to the dispute. Indeed, the advanced regionalization in Morocco provided in the constitutional reform is a “transitional stage” to the Sahara autonomy. Implementation of advanced regionalization in Morocco is the complement of the Moroccan offer combined dynamic and sustainable Sahara conflict.will conclude a series of program-contracts between the central government and the regions to determine each party’s obligations regarding the execution of development projects. So for the southern provinces, a new, ambitious, environmentally sustainable and socially equitable growth model that would be in line with constitutional requirements as well as with the commitments made by Morocco with respect to promoting democracy and advanced regionalization.

The Green March 40th anniversary with the royal speech, the landmark projects and the encounter between the King and the inhabitants of Laâyoune sent a clear message to the international community: Now, Morocco is in its Sahara or as put by King Mohammed VI, “Morocco will remain in its Sahara, and the Sahara will remain part of Morocco, until the end of time.”

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