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Morocco News meets the World

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    Morocco and Gabon

    Libreville- Gabon reiterates its unwavering and continuous support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the territorial integrity of Morocco.

      Ali Bongo Ondimba renewed the unwavering and continuous support of the Gabonese Republic for the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco, said a joint statement issued Friday at the end of the working and brotherhood visit of  King Mohammed VI to the Gabonese Republic.

     On this occasion, the leader of the Gabonese state stressed that "the peaceful and lasting solution to this regional dispute can only be achieved on the basis of the Moroccan initiative to grant the Sahara region a broad autonomy under the sovereignty, the national unity and territorial integrity of the Kingdom of Morocco".

     This innovative and constructive initiative is compatible with the standards of international law and is perfectly in line with the resolutions of the UN Security Council, the statement said.

     The Gabonese President also reaffirmed the importance it attaches to the return of Morocco in the pan-African organization, it added.


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    Morocco Royal Gendarmery

    By Ezzoubair Jabrane

    Casablanca-Two gendarmes were arrested in the city of Mohammadia (30 km south of Casablanca) after they were caught drinking alcohol while on duty.

    The judicial police of Muhammadia escorted five men, including two gendarmes (branch of the military) accused of drinking alcohol publicly and humiliating members of  'Soqor' security squad (hawks) to the Court of First Instance in the city of Mohammedia.

    The two Gendarmes who are members of the Bensliman Gendarmerie Affiliation are expected to appear in the Military Court.

    According to Al-Akhbar, the five defendants were drinking beer in a small Fiat car and throwing the bottles at the passersby. This led the passersby to complain to two members of the Rapid Intervention, known as Soqor(the Hawks) who were present and went instantly to check.

    The men refused to produce the registration of the vehicle and the two gendarmes began insulting the policemen.  Security Backups were summoned and they forced the drunk men who resisted arrest into the police van.

    Edited by Elisabeth Myers


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    Demonstrations in Morocco

    Rabat- Unidentified people took down the national flag in Oujda, and replace it with a red flag emblazoned with the phrase "There is no God but Allah”  (the Muslims profession of faith)on Thursday.

    In a moment of negligence from the guards, unknown persons took down Morocco’s flag above the door of the Abdul Wahab historic commercial building in the heart of the city on Thursday. Instead they raised a red flag which said “There is no God but Allah, Allah is the greatest.”

    According to the Moroccan daily newspaper Annas, this unprecedented incident caused a security alert in the local security services, which have since held many meetings in order to solve this puzzle.

    According to the same source, the offenders are believed to be extremists, especially since this incident comes a few months after security discovered a terrorist cell recruiting young Moroccans to fight in Syria.


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    An American perspective on Moroccan Arabic

    Casablanca- I've been to different countries, seen different cultures, faced different traditions and heard different languages. Experience taught me that it is essential to know at least a couple of words in the language of the country you are going to. Every time I travel I try to pick up some basic phrases to communicate with the locals.

    It may be very helpful and boost your experience. I also noticed that when you speak (or at least show some effort) in the locals' language they perceive you in a different way and they are willing to help you. This may be a very, very useful skill when it comes to bargaining. Darija, the Moroccan dialect is an insane fusion of French and Arabic. The funny thing is that Moroccans do understand other Arab speakers. Other Arab speakers do not understand Moroccans. If you have basic classical Arabic knowledge- no worries you will be easily understood. But if they answer you in the local dialect you may be surprised how distinct those languages are. I thought I would help you out with the most commonly used words in Morocco. Note that some words may vary in different regions, however the most common ones remain the same. Here we go: Salam - Hey/ Hello.

    Labass/ bekher? - How are you doing? (you may answer hamdoulillah - thanks God everything is ok).

    Kolshi mziane? - is everything ok? (you may answer "kolshi mziane".

    B'slama- good bye.

    B'saha- a very grateful phrase, which is said when you buy something new, when you get a gift, when you eat and even when you take a shower. It is pretty hard to find an equivalent in any other language. It means something like "na zdrowie" in Polish, "a votre sante" in French. In English it is something like "enjoy your purchase/ meal/ whatever". The answer to this is  Laatek saha. Meaning more or less "the same for you" or "bless you".

    Shoukran bzaff- Thanks a lot (bzaff means "a lot")

    Shwiya- a little bit

    Zouin/zouina- beautiful or nice (male/female). Tourists will hear it a lot. Get used to, brace yourselves. It can be said about anything.. weather, clothes, city, etc.

    Wakha- OK/ deal/ I agree

    Sir bhalek- go away. When someone pisses you off you may say that with no regrets. For more "advanced" curses. Except all the phrases above you'll often hear "khouya" or "sahbi", which means something like "brother". Moroccans abuse this word (in the positive sense). Whenever you go shopping, eating out, etc., you will hear it many times per day.  And the immortal, constantly used "inshallah"- literally "if God wills". We may translate it as "hopefully" or "I hope".


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    Dutch and German Embassies to Share Headquarters in Rabat

    Rabat- Germany and the Netherlands, two of the most powerful economies in the world, will use the same building for their embassies in Morocco in order to reduce expenses.

    Following the austerity plan adopted by Germany and the Netherlands in the wake of the global economic crisisthe two European countries will share the same headquarters in Rabat.

    According to Akhbar Alyaoum, the two countries will abandon their current embassies in Rabat. Instead, they will share the expenses to build a new headquarters on Souisi Avenue. The two embassies will share operating expenses for the new site as well.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan


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    Moroccan women demonstrate during the celebration of the International Women's Day on March 8, 2013, in Rabat - Copyright - AFP:File. Rabat (AFP)

    By Rachid Madani

    Casablanca- Every year on March 8, women all over the world celebrate International Women’s Day. On this day, celebrations take different forms and the media highlights women and their importance in society, and how their rights need to be recognized and female roles in government expanded. But, I always wonder if women really need just this day to secure their rights.

    It’s true that in developing countries, women are still oppressed and don’t fully enjoy their rights, especially in rural areas. There is still work needed to be done in order to help women obtain the acknowledgment in society. However, it’s not only on March 8 that women could highlight their rights.

    Women are mothers, sisters, wives, and every day should be theirs. Women are to be celebrated and crowned, not because of what they do for society, but for their inevitable presence. Men as well are fathers, brothers, husbands and their presence in society is equally important. Every day is a day to celebrate humanity, a day to embrace both genders. Mutual respect and love is to be spread every day, every minute and every second.

    It’s to be acknowledged that there are a lot of men in Morocco and elsewhere that still underestimate women and don’t give them the position they deserve. In the worst cases they are a victim of gender violence. But does this mean that all women are oppressed? Many women have earned important posts in various fields and proved that they are as good as man, if not better.

    If this International Women’s Day is necessary, why don’t we choose also men’s international day in which we can celebrate their achievements?

    Both genders need to recognize each other as complementary and that every one of them is in need of the other. What should guide their relation is appreciation, mutual respect and reverence. This recognition is to be built on a daily basis  not just once a year.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Aziz Akhannouch

    Madrid - The Spanish government approved, Friday during the cabinet meeting, awarding the Grand Cross of Agriculture food and fisheries merit to the Moroccan Minister of Agriculture and Maritime Fisheries Aziz Akhannouch.

    This decoration is a "recognition for the contribution of Mr. Akhannouch in the conclusion of the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco", which will allow the return of a hundred Spanish ships to the Moroccan waters, said a statement of the Presidency of the Spanish Government.

    The source also highlights the role of the Moroccan Minister in the creation of the Spanish-Moroccan Joint Committee on fruits and vegetables, as well as his efforts for the development and implementation of the "Green Morocco Plan" (2007).

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    Moroccan candidate runs for elections in Quebec

    Taroudant, Morocco- The Parti Québécois announced Friday afternoon the nominations of three North African women on the eve of Women's Day, including Evelyne Abitbol, a Moroccan Jew native of Casablanca.

    To defend the Charter of secularism in some multiethnic neighborhoods of Montreal, the Parti Québécois (PQ) has chosen three women of North African origin: Evelyne Abitbol (Canada) and two Muslims Yasmina Chouakri (Anjou-Louis Riel) and Leila Mahiout (Bourassa-Sauvé).

    “They were impressive. They chose Quebec. And they chose to support the secularism of the state because they want more integration for all those who choose to live in Quebec,” the party leader Pauline Marois was quoted by Montrealgazette as saying.

    In her article entitled 'Why I am  taking the big leap into politics', published in the Huffignpost,  the Moroccan candidate said was willing to be the mouthpiece of different minorities and immigrant populations from the Maghreb, like her, and advocate secularism.

    “It’s the polemic over the charter that pushed me to take the plunge,” said Abitbol, explaining the reasons behind her interest in politics.

     “For me, politics is first to defend the weak and the poor as opposed to liberals who believe that there is never enough for those who already have too much,” she added.

    Currently Vice President of strategies and public affairs in the company Saga, Abitbol has participated in several committees and citizen forums turned to international cultural relations. Abitbol won the award of Arab Women for her outstanding contribution to Quebec society.


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    Rally Aicha des Gazelles, First Stage (picture by Helene Clemenson for Morocco World News)

    Rabat- Over 160 teams from 33 countries will participate in the 24th “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles”, which will be held from March 15th to 29th in Morocco.

    Organized by the international event agency Maïnga, the “Rallye Aïcha des Gazelles” is the only one of its kind exclusively for women. The motorsport event will be held in the Moroccan desert.

    This women-only off-road race will feature the participation of 320 women in 160 teams from 33 countries. The racers will be making their way along 2,500 kilometers of desert terrain.  

    Participants will drive 4X4 cars, trucks, quads and motorcycles across the Saharan desert using traditional navigation methods. The test is not against time, but against the cunning of fellow competitors trying to drive the shortest distance between two points using only a compass and map to find their way.

    The winner of the rallye will earn €15,000 to be donated to the charity of their choice.

    The Gazelles Rallye, which has been granted the environmental label 'Iso 14001',  also supports the Moroccan humanitarian organization, Coeur des Gazelles. This annual event offers desert village residents medical caravan treatment, supported by Total. They receive dental care, funded by Volkswagen, and cataract operations, supervised by the Atoll teams.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    LUXEMBOURG-BELGIUM-ROYAL-MARRIAGE STEPHANIE WEDDING

    Fez- Princess Lalla Slama, consort of King Mohammed VI, was chosen “most inspiring woman” for Arabs in a poll organized by the Washington-based Radio Sawa on the occasion of International Women’s Day.

    In the poll posted in the Radio’s website, readers had to choose between 10 female Arab women, including Queen Rania of Jordan, Sheikha Loubna El Kassimi, Minister of International Trade of the United Arab Emirates, Samira Rajab, Minister of State in charge of communication, spokesperson of the government of Bahrain, Dounia Batma, a Moroccan singer, who qualified to the final of the 2012 edition of Arab Idol.

    According to Radio Sawa, among the 10 Arab women, Lalla Salma garnered the votes of half of readers who participated in the poll.

    Princess Lala Salma is very popular in Morocco. In addition to her philanthropic activities, especially in the fight against cancer, she is considered by many Moroccans as the Ambassador of Moroccan women’s elegance.

    She has been chosen twice as the most elegant woman among the Queens and Princesses who attended a King’s coronation or a Princess’ wedding. In May 2013, she was elected the most elegant woman attending the coronation ceremony of the new Dutch King, Willem-Alexander as his mother Queen Beatrix abdicated the throne after 33 years.

    In 2011, readers of the UK’s magazine Hello voted Princess Lalla Salma as the most elegant and attractive woman in the royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which took place in London on April 29, 2011.

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Evolution of Morocco's GDP

     

    Rabat- The Irish news website Independent has recently published a news story which compares Morocco’s global gross domestic product to the wealth of Ireland's richest 300 in 2014.

    This week, the Independent published a list of wealthy Irish citizens. The Irish independent said Ireland's 300 wealthiest people “are now worth more than the entire economy of Morocco.”

    The wealthy elite have net assets of €70.74bn this year, while Morocco’s Global Domestic Product is estimated at €69.25bn.

    Forbes magazine published an article last November in which it highlighted that three Moroccans are among Africa’s 50 billionaires.

    The list of Moroccan billionaires is led by Outmane Benjelloun with a net worth of worth of $2.8 billion. He is followed by Miloud Chaabi, with $1.9 billion, Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch, with an estimated $1.4 billion fortune and Anas Sefrioui with $1.3 billion.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Moroccan citizens queue to enter the Spanish enclave of Melilla

    Rabat- A few days after hundreds of African migrants stormed a border fence in an attempt to cross into the Spanish enclave of Melilla from northern Morocco, Spain is planning to tighten its security around Ceuta and Melilla.

    This is bad news for the thousands of people searching for a better life who manage to cross into Spain each year; it has become hopeless to make it into either Melilla or Ceuta, due to Spain’s new plan to raise security on its borders.

    According to Euro Weekly News, Spain is to spend more than €2.3m to fortify Ceuta and Melilla, the two major Morocco-Spanish crossing points for sub-Saharan Africans.

    A Spanish official says that this measure is meant to deter the thousands of migrants who arrive at the borders of Spain´s two exclaves in North Africa.

    Spain´s Interior Minister Jorge Fernández Díaz, who spoke to Euro Weekly News, specified that reinforcements in the coming weeks will include “lining the six-meter-high fences that surround both cities with a type of mesh designed to impede anyone from climbing".

    He added that in Ceuta, “an additional 20 civil security  agents are to be deployed and a helicopter to help with the dissuasion and detection of migrants..in Melilla, the government is planning to build three watch towers that will be equipped with heat-sensitive cameras.”

     Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Travel Trip Morocco Remains of Rome

    Rabat- Once again, Morocco’s Volubilis is making a prominent appearance on media rundowns of top tourist sites and ruins, as it ranked with famous sites like Angkor Wat, Pompeii, and Petra.

    UK publication The Telegraph included the partially excavated Roman monument Volubilis in their recent “World’s Best Ruins” list. According to the Telegraph, they compiled the list to coincide with the opening of the new “Ruin Lust” exhibition at the Tate Britain.

    Though the list is not a formal ranking, Volubilis appears sixth.

    According to Telegraph travel writers Joanna Symons and Lizzie Porter, Volubilis was nominated among world’s best ruins “for its amazing setting. It represents the farthest west that the Roman Empire reached.”

    The same source added that the Roman remains of Volubilis in Morocco are among the best-preserved relics of the once-mighty empire, and the lack of crowds adds to the experience.

    Volubilis was a regional capital at the frontier of the Roman Empire and at its height in the third century, it had 20,000 residents.

    The other sites listed by the Telegraph are Persepolis, Iran, Pompeii, Italy, Palmyra, Syria, Angkor Wat in Cambodia, Hadrian’s Wall in the UK, Chichen Itza in Mexico, Borobudur, Indonesia, Timgad, Algeria, Newgrange, Ireland, Bagan in Myanmar, Baalbek, Lebanon, Lindisfarne Abbey in England, and Petra, Jordan.

    The Telegraph also mentions Kuelap, Chavin de Huantar, and Chan Chan as Peruvian ruins that are worth a visit.

    Edited by Jessica, Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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    Mr. Abdelilah Benkirane, head of the Moroccan government

    By Ezzoubair Jabrane

    Casablanca- According to Al-Akhbar, The PJD opposes the generalization of the French Baccalaureate in public education.

    The party has delegated the mission of blockading this project initiated by the ministry of National Education to the National Union of Moroccan Workers, its union ally. The latter has described the initiative proposed by Rachid Belmokhtar's department as “a grave violation of the national sovereignty” and “a humiliation of the Arabic language”.

    The generalization of the French Baccalaureate was concluded in the framework of a partnership agreement between France and Morocco during the visit of the French minister of National Education, Vencent Peillon, to Rabat last February.

    The PJD was the first to react against the initiative and the parliamentary caucus has not gone beyond discussing the constitutionality of the convention. The PJD seems very concerned by this measure.

    According to Al-Akhbar, the generalization project will be challenged by all sorts of things, alluding to the debate of introducing the teaching of Darija into primary education. Such decision will only contribute to discrimination among students, and would weaken the Moroccan Baccalaureate especially because the French language is no longer the language of science, the same source added.

    The politicization of the issue of the language of education has crippled the Moroccan educational system since Mohamed El Fassi's Arabization and has deprived the related debates of utility and practicality. “Education is of paramount importance and should be dealt with as such, as the future of Morocco strongly hinges upon it,” a teacher of physics told MWN.

    “We hope that today's reform efforts will stress the quality of education rather than promoting the ideologies of certain parties or classes,” he added.


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    Morocco

    Manama - Morocco is among the most attractive Arab countries for foreign investments, owing to its legislation and stability, said secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council's trade arbitration center, Ahmed Najm. The GCC official noted that Morocco has conducted a series of legislative reforms and adopted incentives, particularly in the tourism sector.

    Najm added, in a release published as Rabat will be hosting next April an international conference on "investments and mediation", that the Moroccan economic policy is focusing on investments through an approach based on an attractive legislation and regulating framework and is also standing out as a trade platform giving access to a market of more than one billion consumers thanks to the free trade agreements signed with the European Union, the USA, Turkey and some Arab countries.

    The GCC's trade arbitration center will sign two memorandums of understanding with the Hassan II university of Casablanca and the Cadi Ayyad university of Marrakech in order to stimulate research in legal and arbitration matters.


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    errachidia bus crush

    Taroudant, Morocco- A bus plunged into a ditch in the Atlas Mountains in Ait Othman (rural town of Khank) located 35km  from Errachidia, in southeastern Morocco. The accident, which took place on Sunday night resulted in two deaths and 23 others injured, according to TV 2M. According to eyewitnesses, the bus slid in a curve  due to the rain causing it to hit the mountain then fall into a 30 meters deep ditch . The injured were transported to the provincial hospital of Moulay Ali Cherif in Errachidia where they received necessary treatments. Speaking to the TV, Mustapha Rashidi, health delegate in Errachidia, said that eight were seriously injured and one, who has vascular veins issues, will be transferred to the hospital of Meknes. It is noteworthy that the road between Errachidia and Midelt is risky because of the mountainous nature of the region. According to AFP, Morocco has a particularly poor road safety record with accidents last year claiming around 4,200 lives, which increased by 12 percent inyear 2010, according to the transport ministry. Edited by Zahra El Alami

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    Imouzzer Kandar, a Moroccan sleeping beauty

    Rabat- Imouzzer Kandar, a small tourist town at the headwaters of the biggest water sources in Morocco, is suffering from its share of neglect.

    Imouzzer Kandar is a mountainous Amazigh twon that does not seem to be recognized for its role as a prominent destination for Moroccan and foreign tourists. It is located about half an hour from the imperial city of Fez; however it lacks the basic the necessary infrastructure of a tourist site.

    The national park in Imouzzer Kandar is one of the sites that Moroccans tend to refer to as “Morocco’s Switzerland” like its neighboring city of Ifrane. However, given its lack of official status, random people claim ownership  of key tourist attractions.

    For instance, visitors who wish to take a picture at the town’s’s famous waterfall, are charged a fee by a self-appointed “guardian” for every picture, who claims that he made “basic changes” to the site in order to make it look attractive, such as planting flowers, Al-Massae reported.

    The water source in Imouzzer Kandar is used by one of Morocco’s biggest bottled water companies; however, “neither the company that benefits from distributing the water, nor local authorities moved a finger to improve the drastic situation of the touristic city,” the same source added.

    Despite the lack of basic necessities, such as a parking lot, a decent road that links the city with other cities, a health center, and appropriate markets where local people can sell apples, the town’s major fruit product, nature lovers do not seem to be discouraged from visiting throughout the year to escape the noise of big cities city and delve into the natural beauty of Imouzzer Kandar.

    Edited By Jessica Rohan


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    cannabis in Morocco

    MADRID- Spanish authorities seized 62 bales containing close to two tonnes of hashish that washed ashore on Monday on a beach in one of Spain's exclaves in North Africa, police said.

    Officers on a routine patrol spotted several bales at the Calamocarro beach just outside Ceuta, which lies across the Strait of Gibraltar from mainland Spain and is surrounded by Morocco, police said in a statement.

    They collected 57 on the beach and another five still floating at sea, each bale weighing about 30 kilos.

    Police said the drugs may have fallen off a ship when bad weather disrupted maritime traffic in the Strait of Gibraltar on Sunday.

    Spain's proximity to Morocco, a major hashish producer, has made it a key entry point for drugs bound for Europe.

    Spanish authorities seized 325.5 tonnes of hashish in 2012, the last year for which figures are available, 74 percent of the total amount of hashish seized in Europe that year, according to the interior ministry.


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    Moroccan foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, the British Minister in charge of Middle East and North Africa Hugh Robertson

    Rabat- Morocco and the UK expressed, on Monday in Rabat, their determination to give momentum to bilateral relations and partnership.

     In a statement to the press following a meeting with foreign minister Salaheddine Mezouar, the British Minister in charge of Middle East and North Africa Hugh Robertson said the talks are part of efforts made by Morocco and the UK to give new impetus to their cooperation ties and partnership.

     Noting that the long-standing relations of friendship between the two kingdoms are becoming stronger over time thanks to the cooperation between the two countries, the British official said his country seeks to develop its cooperation with Morocco in different areas.

     Talks focused on several issues of common interest, said Robertson, welcoming the shared viewpoints between Rabat and London on major regional and international issues.


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    Oil in Morocco

    Rabat- After the Turkish company Genel Energy announced that Morocco’s coasts contain a significant oil capacity, government officials in the Canary Islands are urging Madrid to pressure Morocco citing concerns of environmental protection.

    Dreams of oil are to be a reality in Morocco’s Atlantic waters, yet Canaries government officials are asking Madrid to call on Morocco not to start the extraction process.

    According to Al Massaa, this campaign led by Canaries authorities is claiming a threat to the environment, due to the close proximity of Morocco to the Islands.

    The oil raw material capacity in Morocco’s shoreline is believed to be over 9,000 million barrels.

    According to the same source, this move comes after Genel Energy‘s recent discovery of oil in Morocco’s offshore waters announced last Thursday.

     “We’re against this project for two principle reasons,” explained the mayor of Fuerteventura.“The environmental risks, firstly, but then also the possibility of the reduction in tourism. These islands live exclusively on the tourism industry and a project of this nature, with the elevated risk of accidents that it brings with it, could threaten the main income to these islands,” he added.

    Edited by Jessica Rohan

    © Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed


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