Washington, DC — Former US president Bill Clinton, who was on a private visit to Morocco, was received on Sunday in the Rabat royal palace by HM King Mohammed VI.
The audience underscored the friendship uniting the royal family and the Clinton family, and the good will and deep historical relations between Morocco and the USA.
"My family and I - my wife, her late mother, my daughter -- we love this country," said Clinton at a speech on Sunday morning in Casablanca, at a conference attended by many figures.
"It was a great honor for me to work with both the late king, Hassan, and his son, King Mohammed VI," Clinton added, at the International University of Casablanca's conference on Challenges of Emerging Markets in the Global Economy. "I was excited to meet with representatives of the new government, because I like the idea that the country is becoming more democratic, more empowering."
Clinton noted the recent initiative taken by Morocco to restore the synagogue Slat al Fassayine in the medina of Fez, saying the project reflected the openness and religious tolerance of the Kingdom.
The 42nd US President (1993-2001) said Morocco has forged a model for responsible development that is meeting the aspirations of its citizens in a peaceful manner, and providing a source of inspiration for other countries in the region.
King Mohammed VI and Clinton met for the first time on July 26, 1999 when then-President Clinton was the first US President since Dwight Eisenhower to visit Morocco. They met again on June 20, 2000 when His Majesty King Mohammed VI made his first State visit to the US, the largest State visit held during the Clinton Administration.
Morocco is America's oldest friend and ally, having been the first nation to recognize the independence of the American colonies 240 years ago, and signing the Morocco-US "Treaty of Friendship and Peace" in 1786, which was ratified by the US Senate in 1787 and remains the longest-standing treaty of its kind in US history.
Morocco is one of the few non-NATO US allies in the Middle East and North Africa region, and last year, Morocco entered into a formal Strategic Dialogue with the US to address the changes shaping the region.