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Morocco News meets the World

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    subsidizing gasoline

    Rabat - The prices of premium gasoline, fuel oil n2, fuel oil n2 ONE and special fuel declined in August 1, 2014, announced the Ministry of General Affairs and governance.

    The price of premium gasoline has dropped 36 cents per liter, to stand at MAD 13.20 per liter, while the price of fuel oil n2 fell by MAD 17.46 per ton to reach MAD 5,894.12 per ton, the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

    The price of fuel oil n2 ONE was down to MAD 5,692.57 per ton, a reduction of MAD 17.46 per ton, while the price of special fuel dropped to MAD 6,816.70 per ton, on the back of a reduction of MAD 176.65 per ton.

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    Rachid Talbi Alami, Presisdent of Moroccan House of Representatives

    Nouakchott - Speaker of the Moroccan House of representatives, Rachid Talbi Alami, will represent King Mohammed VI in the inauguration ceremony of Mauritanian president, Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.

    Talbi Alami told MAP upon arrival on Saturday in the Mauritanian capital that his presence in this ceremony confirms the Sovereign’s resolve to consolidate brotherhood and cooperation bonds uniting the two countries and peoples and the special ties linking the two Maghreban heads of state.

    Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, who was elected for a second president term, will be inaugurated this Saturday at a ceremony to take place at Nouakchott’s Olympic stadium. Ould Abdel Aziz who was re-elected last June 21 at the first round of the vote obtained the absolute majority of votes (81.94%).

    The Moroccan official was welcomed at the airport by speaker of the Mauritanian national assembly, Mohamed Ould Boïlil, minister of foreign affairs and cooperation Ahmed Ould Tguedi, Morocco’s ambassador in Mauritania, Abderrahmane Benomar and general director of the Mauritanian presidency’s protocol, Al Hassan Ould Ahmed.

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    President Barack Obama meets with King Mohammed VI of Morocco in the Oval Office (Reuters)

    Rabat - King Mohammed VI won’t attend US-Africa summit scheduled to take place next in Washington, a diplomatic source in Rabat told MWN.

    It is still unclear whether the reason of King Mohammed VI's absence from the summit is related with the ongoing Israeli onslaught against the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the US unequivocal support to Israel.

    But as King Mohammed VI is president of the Committee al Quds, which is tasked, inter alia, with the defense of the inalienable rights of the Palestinian people to establish their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital, it is highly likely that the King Mohammed VI’s decision is related with the ongoing conflict in Gaza.

    No communique has been issued so far by the royal cabinet on whether or not King Mohammed VI will participate in the US-Africa summit.

    The summit, which was convened by American President Barack Obama, aims at building on US administration’s progress in focusing on trade and investment in Africa since Obama’s trip there last summer with the aim of highlighting US commitment to Africa’s security, democratic development, and people.

    About 45 heads of state and government are expected to attend the first ever US-Africa summit.

    The Moroccan delegation to the summit will be headed by Prime Minister Abdedlilah Benkirane.

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    Controversy, Video Shows Chabat Decorated by Alleged Zionists

    Fez - A new video circulating on social media shows Hamid Chabt, the current mayor of Fez and head of the Istiqlal party, a major opposition party, being decorated by a delegation of the World Federation of Moroccan Jewry.

    The video, which was posted by Alraiy website, comes after a number pictures of Hamid Chabat being decorated by a Jewish delegation was posted on Facebook on Saturday.

    The pictures were widely shared on social media and elicited the condemnation of the overwhelming majority of Moroccans, who are opposed to any form of normalization with Israel and any entity that represent it.

    Following the publication of the pictures, Chabat in an interview with the Moroccan website Alyoum 24 (the news was taken down), denied that pictures were real and claimed they were fabricated by the followers of the Party of Justice and Development, which is heading the coalition government.

    But the video shows that Chabat was indeed decorated by the Jewish delegation and was given a prize. Hamid looked very happy to be receiving the delegation.

    The video comes in stark opposition with Chabat’s public condemnation of any normalization with Israel and the entities that may be regarded a Zionist.

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    Lahcen Hadad

    Athenes - Tourism minister, Lahcen Haddad, said on Saturday in Athens Morocco is resolved to be among the world's top 20 tourism destinations by 2020, thanks to its numerous assets, mainly political stability and proximity to major origin countries.

    The minister who was speaking during the regional gala of the World Travel Awards, stressed that the "Morocco bound" is increasingly attractive worldwide, noting that thanks to the tourism vision 2020, Morocco is determined to enter the club of the world’s 20 first destinations by 2020 .

    He added that Morocco has all it takes to reach this goal, particularly internationally-recognized political and social stability, geographic proximity to the major emitting countries and its attractive business atmosphere.

    Haddad further cited the presence in Morocco of a 3,500 km-long shore along the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, a magical contrast between the Ocean and the desert, a rich cultural legacy, a good weather and Moroccans’ legendary hospitality.

    Morocco has already received 10 million tourists in 2013, an increase of 6pc compared to 2012 despite a difficult economic context, he went on, noting that the 2020 strategic vision, launched by HM King Mohammed VI four years ago, seeks to consolidate the hospitality sector’s share in Morocco’s overall economic development and to make of Morocco a reference of sustainable tourism in the Mediterranean.

    Morocco is also seeking to double the number of visitors and hosting capacity and to multiply by 2.5 income from tourism.

    Haddad also recalled that the World Travel Awards Grand final will be held next November 29 in Marrakech, in accordance with a partnership agreement concluded last May in Dubai with the World Travel Award to hold the event grand finals, for the three coming years, in Morocco.

    The World Travel Awards Grand Final follows a series of regional Gala Ceremonies, with events this year scheduled for Dubai (United Arab Emirates), Athenes (Greece), Quito (Ecuador), Abuja (Nigeria), New Delhi (India), and the fantastic holiday island of Anguilla in the Caribbean.

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    Washington – Morocco is a key partner for any economic development in Africa, said, Monday in Washington, participants in a forum held on the sidelines of the USA-Africa Summit, hosted by the US federal capital on Aug. 4-6. In this regard, minister delegate in charge of small enterprises and informal sector Mohamed Mamoun Bouhdoud affirmed […]

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    Rabat – Morocco is now home to over 7.8 million Internet users, with almost 6.87 million accessing the Web to watch or download video content via their smartphones. According to the latest stats from the National Telecommunications Regulatory Agency (ANRT), the overall number of Web users climbed 59 percent year-on-year to 7.8 million at the […]

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    Rabat – The average price per minute of mobile communications decreased by 28 % up to June 2014, said the Moroccan telecommunications regulatory authority (ANRT). The average price per minute was at 0.34 MAD/min net of tax, compared to 0.47 during the same period in 2013, according to new figures released by ANRT on telecommunications […]

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    New York- This picture will certainly not go unnoticed in Morocco. The picture shows Morocco’s Prime Minister, Abdelilah Benkirane, and his wife along with American President, Barack Obama and the first lady Michelle Obama. The picture was taken on the sidelines of the US-Africa Summit, which is taking place in Washington on 4-6 August. Abdelilha […]

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    Washington – US president Barack Obama announced, on Tuesday in Washington, that the upcoming yearly Global entrepreneurship Summit will be held on November 20-21 in Marrakech. This is the first time an African country hosts the event. The Global Entrepreneurship Summit is a platform to facilitate the exchange of views and ideas between global business […]

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    Rabat – Japan is keen on giving new momentum to its cooperation with Morocco and broadening it to several sectors, said, on Tuesday, Japanese MP Masaji Matsuyama who is leading a parliamentary delegation on a visit to Morocco. She lauded, in a statement following a meeting with speaker of the house of advisors Mohamed Sheikh […]

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    Washington – Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Salaheddine Mezouar called to move forward in building the Maghreb Union in order to enable this regional grouping to deal with globalization and development challenges. Mezouar, who was interviewed by Sky News Arabia on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders Summit (August 4-6, Washington), urged for the […]

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    Rabat- A photo showing Morocco’s head of Government Mr Abdelilah Benkirane and his spouse Mrs. Nabila Benkirane posing with the U.S. President Barack Obama & the First Lady, Michelle Obama, sparked fierce comments and criticism in electronic media and social networking. The picture was taken during a White House reception organized on the sidelines of […]

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    Rabat- The picture of Moroccan Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane and his wife, Nabila Benkirane, with American President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hasn’t gone unnoticed in Morocco. It went viral on Facebook, stirring a controversy. Nabila Benkirane has received compliments as well as harsh criticism following her appearance in a Moroccan Djellaba in […]

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    Rabat- Italian Interior Minister Angelino Alfano ordered on Tuesday, August 5th, the immediate expulsion of a Moroccan imam after a video emerged online of a Friday sermon in which he publicly called for Jews to be killed “to the very last one.” Minister Alfano ordered the expulsion of Raoudi Abdelbar, imam of the mosque in […]

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    H.E. Amina Benkhadra, Director General, National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines with program moderator Ambassador Joseph LeBaron, Senior Advisor, Squire Patton Boggs (Phot by Elisbeth Myers)

    Washington, D.C.- Key leaders from the Delegation from Morocco to the U.S.-Africa Leaders Summit spoke to business leaders at a forum sponsored by the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce in Washington on Tuesday. The delegates emphasized their desire to hear from business leaders and encouraged them to voice their concerns and raise issues regarding doing business in and with Morocco and the continent of Africa.

    Her Excellency Amina Benkhadra, former Minister of Energy and now Director General of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM), touted Morocco as “an ideal partner for US companies in the areas of energy, water, and agriculture.” Morocco’s electrification program, for example, is ambitious. With demand for electricity increasing at a rate of 8% a year, Morocco’s goal is to ensure its supply of energy based on a diversity of supply, with the target of 42% of its electricity produced from renewable energy sources by 2030. Bilateral Panel with Jean and Nabigha

    In response to a question about the abundance of U.S. natural gas and the potential of it being exported in liquified form to Morocco through a Moroccan LNG import terminal, she said that liquified natural gas (LNG) “has a place in the energy mix” in Morocco and that she “hope[s] there will be an announcement soon” with respect to LNG.

    His Excellency Mamoune Bouhdoud, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, noted that under Morocco’s seven-year industrial plan, $2.5 billion will be spent on reshaping the economy and investing in training the anticipated one million new workers. He stressed the importance of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and entrepreneurship. “SMEs are the most important. All we have is human capital, and job creation is with SMEs. They will create the jobs of tomorrow.”

    Both delegates stressed the importance of Morocco’s historic and cultural ties to other African countries as a gateway to the rest of the continent. “Morocco is an African country that knows the culture of those countries,” said Ms. Benkhadra. “Cooperation between the U.S., Morocco, and sub-Saharan African countries is a win-win situation. Africa is a land of opportunity.”

    Bilateral full panel long view

    In response to a question about fair competition in Morocco and the potential for “leveling the playing field” for SMEs, both delegates noted that Morocco has reformed its laws and business practices to increase transparency. Mr. Bouhdoud said that the rules of business in Morocco have been “completely liberalized” to encourage foreign investment. “You can be a foreigner and own 100% of a company and/or sell it” without restriction or requirements of having a Moroccan co-owner. “Successes are the best advertising for Morocco.”

    Getting the last word, Mr. Nabigha Hajji, Economic Counselor to the Moroccan Embassy, announced that the next U.S.-Morocco Business Conference would take place on October 16, 2014, in Dallas, Texas.

    After the conference, Ms. Vranae Pavlich, Vice President of the Bilateral US-Arab Chamber of Commerce, told MWN that, “the Bilateral Chamber was honored to be able to host the esteemed Moroccan delegates.”  Differentiating the Bilateral Chamber from other organizations in D.C. that focus on policy and politics, she said “our ability to leverage our international network of business leadership, allows us to deliver programs like this that provide substantive interactive dialogue and serve as a platform to initiate and enhance tangible relationships and positive results.”

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

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    US Official Says Morocco, 'Regional Leader' in Counter-terrorism

    Washington- Morocco is a "regional leader" in counter-terrorism in the Maghreb and West Africa, US Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for Counterterrorism, Tina Kaidanow said Thursday in Washington. 

    "Through this new initiative (...), we strongly support Morocco's aspiration to share its expertise with key partners in North and West Africa," Mrs. Kaidanow said in an opening statement at the signing ceremony of a bilateral agreement on anti-terrorism assistance (ATA) between Morocco and the United States.

    She underlined that the United States are "grateful for the opportunity offered to them again to support Morocco's efforts in the fight against terrorism".

    For the US official, this agreement reflects "the exceptionally positive nature of relations in anti-terrorism assistance program with Morocco since 1986", expressing the "enthusiasm" of the United States to start a "new phase in this partnership."

    Through its laws, Morocco has demonstrated its "commitment to strengthening the capacity of fighting terrorism both at its borders and at the regional level," she said.

    Morocco and the United States signed a bilateral agreement on anti-terrorism assistance (ATA), which aims to develop the capacity of key partner nations to combat terrorism, establish security relationships between U.S. and foreign officials to strengthen cooperative antiterrorism efforts, and share modern, humane, and effective antiterrorism techniques.

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    Emirates Airlines Launches 2nd Daily Casablanca-Dubaï Flight

    Dubai  - Emirates airlines announced a second daily flight between Casablanca and Dubai starting on Dember 1st.

    The Dubai-Casablanca flight will contribute to enhancing trade and tourists flows to several African destinations serviced from Casablanca airport, the company's vice-president for north and west Africa, Adil Al Ghaith, said

    The new Casablanca-Dubaï flight will offer passengers several possibilities to the 140 destinations serviced by the Emirates company and will double the company's weekly capacity with 2,520 additional seats in both directions.

    The freight capacity will also reach 46 tons per day and give to Moroccan exporting companies the possibility to transport 322 tons weekly to international markets.

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    Minister of Moroccans Living Abroad and Migration Affairs, Anis Birou

    Rabat - The success of Moroccan expats in their host countries will necessarily reflect back on the Kingdom’s march of development, said minister of the Moroccan expatriate community and migration affaires, Anis Birou.

    "Moroccans of the world contribute socially, economically and culturally to the march of development of our country," Birou told MAP on the occasion of the National Migrant’s Day (August 10).

    Academic success of the Moroccan community abroad contributes positively to the rise of future active and influential actors in the socio-economic and cultural fields within host countries, he stressed.

    Concerning challenges facing the Moroccan community, Birou notably underlined the need to preserve the identity of Moroccan expats in order to strengthen their attachment to their homeland, while taking advantage of the dual belonging to both Morocco and their host countries.

    "Moroccans of the world are real ambassadors of the Kingdom thanks to their exemplary integration, respect for others, tolerance and openness", added the minister.

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    king and bouteflika

    By Majid Morceli

    San Francisco- For several decades Morocco was able to form solid relationships with countries that can be considered good friends, because they could undoubtedly help tip the balance in our favor when it comes to our country’s sacred cause. Morocco has been a big help to many of these so-called friends.

    France considers Morocco a lucrative business partner and the balance of their trade obviously favors France. In fact, France is benefiting from its relationship with Morocco not only from the business side, but also in defending its interests in Africa. For instance, opening our skies to France to accomplish its mission in Mali shows that Morocco is not only viable for France economically, but also strategically.

    Spain is no different from France: it takes full advantage of its sometimes-rocky relationship with Morocco. Spanish companies have been mushrooming in Morocco, and Spain is about to surpass France as Morocco’s top economic partner. Spain is getting more than just a rewarding trading partner: it is using Morocco to shield itself from the biggest exodus of sub-Saharan Africans. Morocco, being a “good friend” is shouldering the responsibility for this wave of immigrants, and even went so far as to erect razor wires right outside Sebta and Melilla, the two still-colonized Moroccan cities under Spanish control, to prevent unlawful migrants from entering Spanish territory.

    Morocco takes its brotherly relationship with the Gulf countries seriously, and went so far as to sever its diplomatic ties with Iran to please these Arab states. Morocco is so instrumental to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) that it was invited to join the organization and received billions of dollars for being a “good friend”, despite the fact that Morocco is located two thousand miles away.

    Morocco is no stranger to Africa and has never shied away from helping several African countries in need. It has contributed countless times to UN peacekeeping missions to keep the peace in Africa. It has hosted and financed Africans studying in Moroccan universities, opened businesses which created jobs in Africa, and above all, entertains very good relations with many of African leaders and decision-makers.

    King Mohammad’s most recent visits to several African countries, when many bilateral agreements were initiated, is a clear indicator that Morocco is serious about it its attachment to its African friends.

    Morocco is considered a staunch strategic ally of the United States in the fight against terrorism. Many Moroccans love to remind the world that Morocco was the first country to recognize the independence of the US in the 18th century. These folks need to understand that the people of the United States do not place much value on this fact. One way to be on the good side of the United States is to agree with all their decisions. Morocco has always been a good student, and its interests have always converged with those of the US.

    The question that Moroccans are asking is: Why is it that Morocco was never fully able to cement these friendships? Why is that none of the countries mentioned above have ever clearly stated that Western Sahara is Moroccan and should remain Moroccan?

    All these so called friends know very well that the Polisario was made and is financed by Algeria. They are very much aware that this so called RASD would not exist without its master Algeria. As a matter of fact, many of its leaders are Moroccans, born in Morocco.

    The best Morocco was able to get out of these so-called friends is their support in the UN process. Morocco goes to the extreme to support these countries, and all we get is this short phrase “We support the UN process”? And when they feel generous, they state that the autonomy proposed by Morocco is “serious and credible”.

    These friendly statements should not be enough for Moroccan diplomacy. Morocco should demand from these friends to up the ante and say that the addition of this microstate in North Africa is not acceptable. Friends don’t play games with friends and Morocco should start asking for fairness in these so-called friendships.

    I can’t help but think about how the United States unconditionally supports their Israeli friends. Moroccan diplomacy should not be content with this unfair and at many times unbalanced friendship with its own friends, especially when we all know that Algeria will never relent in pursuing their dream to see Morocco on its knees and assert itself as the sole power in North Africa.

    In the last few weeks, Morocco has finally begun calling on Algeria to shoulder its responsibility regarding Western Sahara. Unfortunately, that will not be enough to persuade the Algerians to come to their senses. Morocco needs to have some serious talks with its friends to convince them that they should tell Algeria to abandon their dream of dividing the territorial integrity of Morocco, and that creating a microstate in North Africa is not something the people of the Maghreb want.

    Moroccan officials need to break the status quo and start working hard on finding a way to defend our country against the relentless enemy next door. Moroccan diplomats should not feel good about themselves losing to an enemy led by an aging wheelchair-confined president. They should not be able to sleep the night knowing that players from the Cold War era are still ruining our future. We in the Maghreb deserve better. We really do.

    The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Morocco World News’ editorial policy

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

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