Morocco: Hm the King Sends Message to Participants in High Level Meeting of UN-ESCWA

Rabat — HM King Mohammed VI sent a message to participants in the high-level meeting of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA), which opened on Tuesday in Rabat.

Here follows the full text of the message read out by State minister Abdellah Baha:

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

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a great pleasure and honor for Morocco to host this high-level meeting of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. Your choice of venue is of great significance, for it reflects Morocco's privileged standing at the regional and international levels as a land of dialogue, open-mindedness, freedom and stability.

I should like, first, to express my high esteem for the distinguished figures taking part in this important meeting, be they political leaders, international experts in sustainable development issues, specialists in economic and social matters, or representatives of civil society organizations.

This meeting is of special importance because it is being held at a crucial juncture, at both regional and global levels. In addition to sweeping political changes in some Arab countries, there is the adverse effect of the global financial crisis and its impact on economic and social conditions.

Your decision to choose Short-term economic challenges in democratic transitions as the theme for this meeting is therefore timely. Careful scrutiny of all aspects relating to this theme is required, all the more so as much more attention is devoted to political developments in these countries than to economic issues.

In fact, the afore-mentioned developments, which heralded the dawn of a new era towards democratic transition, have regrettably brought about a complex political, security and social environment which is characterized, here and there, by troubling manifestations of disorder, with all the negative repercussions this has on social stability and economic growth.

By hosting this meeting, Morocco is not only showing its commitment to the bonds of brotherhood and underscoring its great pride in belonging to the Arab and Islamic world, but it is also clearly demonstrating its active solidarity with the Arab countries that are experiencing those changes, and with their peoples who are yearning for freedom, dignity and social justice.

We have therefore been calling on the international community to provide support to these countries to help them complete the process of political transition and rise to the security and development challenges they are facing.

Needless to say, promoting Arab joint action remains the cornerstone of our efforts to tackle the various economic and social difficulties facing our Ummah.

Our action will not be successful unless we manage to develop and implement realistic programs for tangible cooperation between our countries, unless we build an Arab economic power base on the solid foundations of solidarity, complementarity and integration, or unless we make good use of the human and natural resources available to our countries. This is the best way to defend our Ummah's just causes, to fulfill the legitimate aspirations of our peoples and to enable Arab citizens to enjoy a free, dignified life.

In this regard, I reiterate my pledge to seek to give concrete substance to the Maghreb Union, for this is a crucial demand made by Maghreb peoples. It is also a strategic requirement, an urgent necessity as far as security and development are concerned, and an economic obligation given the prevalence of powerful economic blocs in our world, where there is no place for fragile or artificial entities.

I look forward to the advent of the new Maghreb order I have been advocating in order to do away with fruitless designs and overcome subjective and objective hurdles. The aim is to work in good faith in an environment of trust, dialogue and good neighborliness so as to develop mechanisms of solidarity and integration. This should make our Union the driving force for development in the Maghreb, a pillar of Arab joint action and a key element in preserving security and stability in the Sahel and Sahara region and in promoting integration in Africa.

Consistent with the same spirit of brotherhood and solidarity, I want to express our pride in the strategic partnership between Morocco and the Gulf Cooperation Council - a partnership which truly embodies our close bonds and strategic interests. Together with my brothers the leaders of these Gulf countries, I seek to further strengthen these ties and develop them to the fullest extent possible. I should like to say how much I appreciate their continuing support for development projects in their second home, Morocco.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

With the help of Almighty God, Morocco has, over the decades, achieved a great deal, thereby further consolidating its specific, democratic, development-oriented model. We owe this to the pertinence of our key policy choices, to the constant responsiveness to the legitimate aspirations of the Moroccan people, to our free will and to the national progressive approach we have been using.

Ever since I ascended to the throne, I have made sure we adopt a participatory, inclusive approach with respect to all major national issues, bearing in mind the magnitude of the challenges faced as much as the need to safeguard our accomplishments.

Thus, we introduced sweeping political and institutional reforms that were crowned by the adoption of an advanced constitution. Our goal has been to consolidate the rule of law and our institutions, to promote effective political practice based on participation and close attention to the citizens' needs, to expand the scope of freedoms and to advance human rights in general.

We also achieved key spatial and historical reconciliations, both through the outstanding work of the Justice and Reconciliation Commission - which, in terms of transitional justice, is a model for the world - and through the rehabilitation of the various components of the rich, diversified Moroccan identity.

Because I believe in the close link between democracy and development, I have made sure the above political and human rights reforms are accompanied by major development projects, which concern the fight against poverty, vulnerability and marginalization as well as the consolidation of social cohesion, particularly through the programs of the National Initiative for Human Development. We have also sought to implement mega projects and have adopted well thought-out sector-specific strategies. Our goal is to upgrade the national economy, to sharpen its competitive edge, and to encourage the kind of productive investment that creates jobs.

To further bolster this integrated approach, we have embarked on a reform of the justice system, given its pivotal role in upholding rights, achieving judicial security and stimulating development and investment.

At the same time, I have launched a major project for the achievement of advanced regionalization, not only because it is a reform aimed at helping to upgrade state structures, but also because it is the backbone of good territorial governance.

These are some of the key features of the specific Moroccan model. I am keen to press ahead with efforts to further develop this model to make it more proactive so as to fulfill the aspirations of Moroccan citizens and keep up with regional and international developments.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am sure you realize that the rapid, far-reaching changes in some sister Arab nations have had an adverse impact on their economies. This situation not only makes it increasingly hard for them to meet the demands of their peoples - particularly in the economic and social spheres - but it also jeopardizes the security and stability of these countries.

In view of the above, your meeting should be an opportunity to ponder on the various challenges involved in the process of rebuilding institutions, restoring the citizens' confidence in them, and debating the economic and social strategies that are likely to help ensure a dignified life, promote social justice, shore up social cohesion and stability, and provide appropriate mechanisms in the field of transitional justice to tackle the transition period these countries are facing.

Thanks to the participants' vast political experience, wisdom and farsightedness, I am sure this meeting will provide a suitable opportunity for an in-depth debate and fruitful exchange of ideas on the various issues facing these sister nations. It will also be a chance to consider future prospects, taking into account each country's characteristics, capacities, potential, national agenda and the nature and magnitude of the political, economic and social challenges confronting it.

I wish to welcome our distinguished guests to their home away from home.

May Almighty God grant you every success in your endeavors to ensure the well-being of our Arab Ummah.

Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.

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