2 August 2011

North Africa: Morocco is U.S. 'Best Friend and Ally' in Region - Congresswoman Says

Washington — Morocco is the "best friend and ally" of the United States in North Africa, said U.S. democratic congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, stressing it is important, in light of the events in the Arab region, to "recognize and support" the efforts of the countries that "share our democratic values" and support the kind of reforms that the region desperately needs.

Morocco is working seriously to become a reference in the region for progress, reform and development, and the U.S. should therefore do everything it can to support these essential efforts, said Jackson addressing the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Kingdom has largely avoided the tensions, confrontations and violence that have rocked other countries in the region, she noted during her intervention which MAP news agency obtained a copy on Tuesday.

She added that Morocco has seen small protests and demonstrations calling for better governance and greater transparency and employment and they were largely peaceful and constructive.

The inextricable links between the Moroccan people and the King had just been the basis of the partnership which the Sovereign called for as part of the process of revising the Constitution through a referendum, she said.

The U.S lawmaker stressed that these are "unprecedented" measures and actions in the entire Arab region.

Jackson Lee recalled, in this regard, that the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had put forward, in March while receiving her Moroccan counterpart Taib Fassi Fihri, the very special U.S.-Morocco relationship.

She also welcomed the continued action of HM King Mohammed VI to promote democracy and economic, political and social development in Morocco and throughout the region, Jackson Lee said.

Regarding the Sahara issue, Jackson Lee noted that Clinton had reiterated on that occasion the U.S. constant position on this question, stating that the Moroccan autonomy plan is a "serious, realistic and credible" proposal to end the long-lasting conflict.

The U.S. congresswoman also said Morocco has also set up new institutions and mechanisms to promote human rights across the country, adding that the new Moroccan constitution also provides new high standards to protect human rights.

Morocco now meets criteria for advanced protection and monitoring of human rights and should be applauded for this initiative which is part of its ongoing reforms and its commitment to improving the quality of life for all Moroccans, including those living in the Sahara, concluded Jackson Lee.

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