By THÉRÈSE MARGOLIS
Just one day after his monarch ordered his nation’s government to “carry out a comprehensive and profound restructuring of social affairs,” particularly in the health and education sectors, Moroccan Ambassador to Mexico Mohamed Chafiki hosted a diplomatic reception at his Colonia Lomas de Chapultepec residence on Monday, July 30, to commemorate the anniversary of King Mohammed VI Ben al-Hassan’s accession to the throne.
“This celebration is a happy demonstration of the continuity of the sovereignty and independence of the Moroccan people, as well as the ancient legitimacy of the Moroccan state, which dates back more than 12 centuries,” Chafiki told his guests at the start of the event.
“This celebration is also a testimony of the precious bonds that unite the Moroccan people with their monarch, based on a consensus of progress in defense of the highest interests of the country and its unity and territorial integrity, which is the absolute priority of all members of Moroccan society.”
Chafiki went on to say that Morocco’s social stability has always been preserved through political plurality and respect for the nation’s cultural diversity, as well as through a policy of global openness.
“This is the fundamental basis on which the Moroccan people’s struggle for democracy, freedom and independence were founded, sometimes under difficult circumstances, but always seeking to reach agreements that would allow the country to progress and continue on its path to reformation and economic and social transformation within an environment of political stability,” he said.
Chafiki said that his country is fully committed to a sustainable development that respects human rights of all its people.
Turning to Morocco’s bilateral relations with Mexico – which dates back to Oct. 31, 1962 – the ambassador first congratulated his host country for the July 1 presidential elections, and then spoke about the bilateral strong friendship between the two countries, underscoring the importance of a visit to Rabat by Mexican Undersecretary for Foreign Relations Carlos de Icaza last February and an upcoming visit by Moroccan Secretary of State, Foreign Relations and Cooperation Mounia Boucetta to Mexico.
The envoy also spoke about binational cultural cooperation and exchange.
Although Morocco is Mexico’s fourth-largest trade partner in Africa, combined two-way commercial exchange is limited, amounting to just over $350 million annually.
King Mohammed VI has played a pivotal role in advancing reforms that have helped to consolidate infrastructure, streamline productivity, foster rural development, fuel startups, provide adequate services and create an environment that is friendly to investment.
Notwithstanding, Morocco has in the last few years been suffering from social disparity due to the high unemployment rates among young people, leading to a string of protests.
After World War II, a strong independence movement took root in Morocco and the Istiqlal Party sent a formal memorandum to the sultan and French authorities demanding national sovereignty and a democratic constitution.
The French responded to this request by arresting several major Istiqlal leaders, and the sultan refused to sign any more decrees concerning his people.
In August of 1953, the royal family was deported to Corsica and Madagascar, and a puppet monarch was designated by the French to assume the throne.
But when the Moroccan public’s indignation grew violent, the French decided to grant full independence to Morocco and reinstate Sultan Mohammed V.
In 1961, the king was succeeded by his son Hassan II, who drafted a new constitution and promoted the first parliamentary elections.
Morocco’s current king took the Alaouite dynasty’s throne in July 1999, after the death of his father Hassan II.