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Morocco News meets the World

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    Three Dead, 12 Missing Due to Floods in Southern Morocco

    Rabat - Local authorities on Saturday declared the southern province of Guelmim a "disaster area" following its isolation by the flooding of several rivers.

    Following the isolation of the province due to the flooding of all the rivers of the province and the damage caused to infrastructure, provincial authorities have declared the province as a disaster area, the Wilaya of Guelmim-Es-Smara region said in a statement.

    Exceptional rainfall fell across the province on Friday, causing material damage, but no human casualties so far, according to the same source.

    Following the flooding of several rivers, waters submerged and isolated many neighborhoods and villages, caused several material damages, cut roads and interrupted telecom.

    MWN with MAP


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    marrakech

    Rabat - Marrakech, Morocco’s top tourist destination, has come first on the weekly list for the best deals and last minute holidays from around the web, stated the prestigious UK’s Sunday Mirror Travel.

    According to the Mirror, a Christmas trip to Marrakesh for two nights B&B at the four-star Meriem Hotel in Marrakech could cost less than £150 ($234.67).

    Morocco has topped this week’s list of the best travel deals, coming ahead of Lanzarote, Bruges, Cape Verde and Mexico.

    [caption id="attachment_145565" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Marrakesh's Meriem Hotel Marrakesh's Meriem Hotel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_145566" align="aligncenter" width="600"]the four-star Meriem Hotel the four-star Meriem Hotel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_145567" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Meriem Hotel Meriem Hotel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_145568" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Traditional Hamam at Meriem Hotel Traditional Hamam at Meriem Hotel[/caption] [caption id="attachment_145569" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Marrakesh Heads the Mirror’s List of the Best Travel Deals On the Web Meriem Hotel[/caption]

    Reporting from Rabat by Aziz Allilou


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    The Royal Palace in Fez, Morocco. Photo by Morocco World News

    Rabat- A new report released by Microsoft revealed that Morocco was the most searched keyword in France in 2014 on the travel section of the Bing search engine.

    Every year, the Microsoft-owned search engine Bing releases the trending keywords that users search for.

    According to Bing’s data, Morocco was the most searched travel destination by French users, followed by New York, Venice, and Barcelona.

    This is not the first time Morocco was the most searched travel destination on the web. Last week, travel experts revealed that two Moroccan cities, Agadir and Tangier, topped the list of Twitter’s top 10 Holiday destinations in 2014.

    TravelSupermarket researchers revealed that not only are the two Moroccan cities the most popular destinations for UK travelers, but they are also the top trending ‘holiday’ words on Twitter.

    Reporting from Rabat by Aziz Allilou. Editing by Timothy Filla


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    Bouteflika-malade-algérie

    By Majid Morceli

    San Francisco- An estimate from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) says that Algeria needs to sell its oil at $113/barrel in order to balance its budget. Right now, oil is trading at around $66/barrel, and some analysts are predicting, given the right conditions, it could tumble to as low as $60/barrel.

    This is a disaster for Algeria. Oil and gas export earnings make up more than 97% of the country’s exports, and sooner rather than later Algeria will start tapping into their foreign-exchange reserves derived from oil and gas.

    Half of the oil profits go to American, French, and other foreign companies investing in Algerian oil. The rest gets distributed between the powerful military regime and the Algerian people, as subsidies to buy their peace.

    When French auto manufacturer Renault invested $50 million for 49 percent of an assembly plant that will produce cars to be sold to Algerians, the government considered it a huge success, and said that it is only the beginning for many good things to come. Let’s keep in mind that an investment of only $50 million is considered an insult to the people of Algeria.

    Algeria could be well served if their oil revenues were spent on diversifying their economy to curb the 25 percent youth unemployment rate. Instead, the government chose to purchase more than $10 billion worth of weapons last year to intimidate Morocco, in addition of the billions spent on keeping the Polisario Front alive. The money that goes to the Sahrawi Separatists does not fall from the sky. It comes out of a budget that is supposed to serve the people of Algeria.

    We in Morocco do not want to lecture Algeria on what they should or should not do with their money. We are simply asking the Algerians to let go of their wishful thinking that one day they will control the Moroccan Sahara (or what they call as Western Sahara). The king of Morocco could not have been more determined and clear in his recent speech when he said that that the Sahara will remain part of Morocco until the end of time.

    The Algerian government will not be able to curb social unrest forever using oil revenues to bribe the population. Sooner or later, it will run out of money for this precarious project. How it is going to continue handing out subsidies to buy the peace when revenue starts to vanish?

    Isn’t it wiser for Algeria to make peace with its neighbor in these hard times and use the money spent on weaponry and the Polisario on the Algerian people instead?

    How long will the Algerian people continue to accept this shaky arrangement? Sooner or later they will have to face the unpleasant reality, and they will have no choice but to rise up and who knows what will be the outcome? We in Morocco certainly do not want to see Algeria on its knees again. We understand that if things go wrong in Algeria, Morocco will suffer as well. We believe that in order for us to thrive, our neighbor should thrive as well.

    This is by no mean the end of high oil prices. Oil prices will eventually stabilize and rise when OPEC stop playing games, or better yet when Saudi Arabia decides to cut production instead of trying to run small American companies out of business. Let’s hope that the drop in oil prices will serve as a wake up call for our neighbors. Hopefully they can understand that it is better to invest in improving the life of their citizens rather than hoping for the destruction of their neighbor.

    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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    Morocco Among Worst Countries for Women

    Rabat - Morocco is among the ten worst countries for women, says a recent report from the World Economic Forum (WEF).

    The WEF's 2014 Global Gender Report ranked Morocco among the countries where economic and educational opportunities, as well as political representation and health outcomes, were far worse for women than men.

    According to the report, just 27% of Moroccan women were in the labor force, compared to the 79% participation rate for men.

    In addition, Moroccan women with jobs earned an average of just $3,123 annually, while men earned nearly $11,000, more than three times as much.

    Morocco also has a considerable gap in literacy, says the report which measured disparities between men and women in 142 countries.

    Only 58% of Moroccan women were considered literate versus 76% of the men.

    The report also said only 17% of Moroccan women are represented in the parliament.

    Yemen has been ranked the worst country for women followed by Pakistan, Chad, Syria, Mali, Iran, Ivory Coast, Lebanon, Jordan and Morocco.

    The WEF ranked each country based on four key areas such as political empowerment, economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment and health and survival.


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    Darya, Another Girl Who Calls For Her Liberation From Tindouf Camps

    Madrid  Like Mahjouba Mohamed Hamdidaf, who was set free thanks to an international mobilisation after 90 days of captivity, another girl is being held against her will in the Polisario-run camps in south-western Algeria.

    The 25-year old Darya Embarek Selma is held by her biological family in connivance with the Polisario leadership who prevent her from returning to Tenerife in the Canary Islands where she used to study and live with her adoptive family.

    The recent call by Tenerife’s Municipal Council for the liberation of the girl signals the failure of the polisario representative in the Canary Islands to prevent the emergence of a solidarity movement as was the case with Mahjouba.

    An online petition entitled "Free Darya" was launched to help set free the young girl from the polisario-administred camps in the Algerian territory.

    Darya arrived in Tenerife in 2001 as part of a polisario propaganda programme called "holidays in peace" where children are used for political ends.

    Last January, she paid a visit to Tindouf camps to see her ailing biological father. Since then, she has been held captive against her will and prevented from returning to Spain to pursue her university studies.

    With MAP


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    Morocco: Activists Call for National Mourning to Honor the Flood-Victims

    Rabat - Several Moroccan social activists and YouTube celebrities released a video on Tuesday  calling upon the Moroccan government to declare three days of national mourning in the aftermath of the recent floods that claimed the lives of 47 people.

    On Tuesday, a group of Moroccan YouTube celebrities, artists, columnists, and human rights activists released a video entitled “We are Moroccans, not Garbage”, in which they called for the national mourning of the floods-victims.

    In the video, activists denounce what they call “the negligence’’ and “the shortcoming” of Moroccan officials, who “did not intervene in a timely manner in order to provide assistance to the flood-affected people.”

    For them, it is "inconceivable that those officials did not take measures to aid these Moroccan citizens who have been treated with contempt."

    One activist in the video says that the officials call us “citizens”, but treat us as “garbage.”

    “It’s time to call for our rights and the rights of those who were killed due to in the flash floods. It’s time to call for the accountable officials held responsible and call for three days of  national mourning to honor the people who died,” he concluded.

    Reporting from Rabat by Aziz Allilou. Editing by Timothy Filla


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    Algerian Ambassador to Morocco Protests Against a Pro-Moroccan Song

    RabatDuring a celebration supporting the Palestinian resistance held in Rabat on Sunday by the Moroccan Association for the Support of the Palestinian Struggle, the Algerian Ambassador to Morocco left the room in protest of a song celebrating the Green March.

    The song, known as “Saout Hassan Yunadi” (The Voice of Hassan Calls), sung by Mohamd Alghawi, is a famous song that represents patriotism and Moroccan territorial integrity.  It was sung by Moroccans during the Green March that was organized under the leadership of the late King Hassan II, in 1975.

    Ambassador Ahmed Bnimana left the room as Mohamd Alghawi sang about the the Green March, as well as other lyrics of the song such as “May you Moroccan Lands be Happy, You are free,” manifesting his and his country’s attitude towards the Moroccan Sahara.

    The Decision of the Ambassador was immediately endorsed by the Algerian Ministry of Exterior Affairs, claiming that the decision was the right choice as Algeria has a different view regarding the Western Sahara.

    In a statement to Hespress, Mr. Mohammed Benjelloun Andalusi, Chairman of the Moroccan Association for the Support of the Palestinian Struggle, said that the Ambassador was welcome, but that he chose to leave the room only after the artist started singing the song about the Green March. “He was free to leave,” he added.


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    solar energy

    Rabat - A new report released by the Overseas Development Institute (ODI) revealed that Morocco has received more than $587 million in aid (mostly in loans) from some of the world’s major climate funds.

    According to the ODI’s report, Morocco, along with Mexico and Brazil, are the top recipients of climate aid, receiving over $7.6 billion in loans.

    The report says that Mexico and Brazil are among the top 10 emitters of greenhouse gases, “and with Morocco, all have huge renewable energy potential.”

    According to the report, funds have helped Morocco to develop its solar energy resources.

    These funds also helped Mexico drastically increase its renewable energy capacity in an energy system previously powered exclusively by fossil fuels. It also helped Brazil complete three separate projects that resulted in nearly 3,000 hectares of reforested land, benefitting some 13,000 people.

    The report discovered that half of the $7.6 billion of international funding approved to date is targeted at just ten countries. The chart below shows how much each country received in financing.

      chart

    The report was released ahead of the second and final week of United Nations negotiations in Lima for a world pact to curb climate change.

    ODI Executive Director Kevin Watkins said that the report shows that climate funds have broken new ground by helping developing countries tackle climate change effectively.

    “The new Green Climate Fund, armed with nearly $10 billion, has a great opportunity to reduce emissions and support resilience to climate change. But more funds need to be raised to tackle this growing threat and ensure that poor countries support a new climate deal,” he concluded.

     Reporting from Rabat by Aziz Allilou.

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


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    Morocco’s Amina Bouayach, Amina Lotfi Awarded  French Legion Of Honor

    Rabat Moroccan Amina Bouayach and Amina Lotfi, two activists involved in defending women's rights and freedom, were awarded, on Monday in Rabat, the insignia of the Knight of National Order of the Legion of Honor of the Republic of France in recognition of their actions in favor of the promotion of human rights.

    French ambassador in Rabat Charles Fries hailed, at a ceremony held at his residence, the courage of both activists and their fight for freedom and against all forms of injustice.

    Bouayach is the first woman to be elected in 2006 as head of the Moroccan Organization for Human Rights (OMDH). She was also elected secretary general of the International Federation of Human Rights Leagues (FIDH) during its 2013 congress in Istanbul.

    As for Amina Lotfi, she was president of the Democratic Association for Moroccan Women (ADFM) from 2010 to 2013. She is currently the coordinator of Morocco's public governance and gender equality program at UN Women.

    MWN with MAP


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    global-teacher-prize

    Taroudante- Moroccan teacher at the American School of Tangier Mrs. Souad Belcaid is among the top 50 finalists in an international competition to find the world's best teacher.

    Belcaid is the only teacher in North Africa shortlisted for The Global Teacher Prize, a competition established by the Varkey GEMS Foundation with a grand prize of one million dollars, “to celebrate one outstanding teacher.”

    [caption id="attachment_146478" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Medina tour Jewish Foundation Medina tour, Jewish Foundation[/caption]

    In 2007, Belcaid received a Teacher of the Year Award after having taught for 12 years in Milton Public Schools’ French immersion programme. In an exclusive interview with MWN, Mrs. Souad Belcaid said that she is, “very happy and honored to make it into the top 50 finalists.”

    [caption id="attachment_146480" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Mrs Belcaid and students 6th student (in the middle) received a honorable mention certificate for her essay on bullying.[/caption]

    After extended experience teaching abroad in Massachusetts, Missouri, and Egypt, Belcaid returned to her home country, Morocco.

    “I have to give something back to my country!” Belcaid explained.

    [caption id="attachment_146498" align="aligncenter" width="600"]Medina tour Ibn Batuta Students' visit to Ibn Battouta’s tomb, Tangier[/caption]

    Currently a 6th grade homeroom teacher at the American School of Tangier, Belcaid teaches four subjects: Math, Science, English and Social Studies.

    When asked of the way she approaches problems educators face in class, Belcaid explains that she is against root memorization.

    However,“I focus on problem solving, critical thinking and creativity to enable students to understand the world’s challenges, complexity and interdependence,” she states.

    Belcaid urged Moroccan teachers to love their jobs and to add passion into their work. “We are all in it for the kids, if you make a change in one kid, you have done your job,” she said.

    Medina tour Grand Mosque

    She has developed new techniques in teaching mathematics at the American School of Tangier in addition to working with parents, students and staff to confront and eradicate bullying at school.

    To accept teacher’s applications, Belcaid explains that The Global Teacher Prize committee considers many criteria including, “passion, creativity, technology and community outreach.”

    The Global Teacher Prize was launched, “to celebrate the best teachers around the world,” with its main objective, “to uplift the valuable contributions that teachers make every day to establish a flourishing global society.”

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


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    money

    Rabat - Around $10 billion in illicit capital flowed out of Morocco from 2003 to 2012, facilitating crime, corruption, and tax evasion, according to a recent study released Tuesday by Global Financial Integrity (GFI), a Washington DC-based research and advisory organization.

    The report has revealed that crime and corruption are draining a record $991 billion a year from low and middle-income nations, including Morocco. The disappearance of the so-called “dirty money” hits some of the world's poorest regions the hardest.

    Morocco ranked 59th on the report's Country Rankings by Largest Average Illicit Financial Flows, 2003-2012.  According to the report, Morocco had a record $998 million in unrecorded funds in the past nine years.

    Overall, the report found that between 2003 and 2012, the estimated amount of illicit funds coming from developing countries totaled $6.6 trillion, and rose at an inflation-adjusted rate of 9.4 percent a year, which is “double global GDP growth.”

    The report said that illicit financial flows are particularly problematic in developing countries, where financial systems are often more vulnerable to corruption.

    “Illicit inflows often deprive developing countries of significant customs duties, they facilitate crime, and they flow into the underground economy,” the report notes.

    According to the report, China, Russia, Mexico, India, and Malaysia saw the largest outflow of dirty money. The report revealed that these countries export $1 trillion a year in laundered funds, drugs, and under-the-table payments.

    Sub-Saharan Africa, on the other hand, suffered the biggest loss as a share of its economy, with the amount of dirty money averaging 5.5 percent of GDP. Nigeria and South Africa were among the top 12 countries with the largest volumes of illicit funds.

    Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2003-2012


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    40 injured in clashes between students and police in Oujda

    Rabat - Over 40 injuries, two of which are serious, were reported among police forces on Monday, after a mob of angry students clashed with police, near the University of Mohammed I campus in Oujda.

    Multiple reports from the scene on Monday said that riot police used tear gas and a water cannon to push back a stone-throwing crowd of protesters, mainly students.

    The clashes lasted for more than two hours and left over 40 policemen injured and several police cars damaged. The number of student injuries, on the other hand, remains unknown, since most of them refused to go to Al Farabi Hospital of Oujda, out of fears of being caught by police.

    damaged vihicule of police

    Maghreb Press Agency (MAP) quoted an official from the prefecture of Oujda as saying that "several" members of the security forces faced stone throwing. Seriously injured, two police officers were hospitalized "in intensive care," the source said.

    The prefecture of Oujda said that local security forces intervened on Monday morning following “the request of the President of the University of Mohammed I."

    bars

    Alyaoum24 quoted a student from the University as saying that the clashes broke out on campus after riot police stormed a sit-in by law students.

    copes car

    The student told Alyaoum24 that protestors were engaging in continuous dialogue with the University administration, which approved over 90 percent of their demands. “But we were surprised to see riot police intervene amid our talks with the administration,” the student concluded.

    A local official of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH), on the other hand, confirmed to Telquel that the student sit-in was stormed on its 30th day, stating that students decided to go to the sit-in rather than their exams.

    In recent months, the authorities announced several measures to fight against the violence.

    In the aftermath of the death of a Islamist student in clashes between student factions in Fez earlier this year, the Interior Ministry said that the police would now be allowed to take the initiative to intervene, in agreement with the University, "in case of threat to security or public order."


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    Tangier Med Port hits record of 3 million TEU containers

    RabatThe Tangier Med Port hit on Tuesday the record of three million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers, that is a rise by 20% compared to the figure of 2.55 million TEU containers in 2013.

    During this year, the Tangier Med 1 Port treated 2,100 ship stopovers (800 at APMT terminal and 1,300 at Eurogate terminal), and a traffic growing by 11% and 34% respectively, said director of Tangier Med 1 Port Rachid Houari at a press briefing with representatives of national and regional media outlets.

    After only 7 years of servicing, the operational capacity was exceeded thanks to the involvement and collective action by all partners and staff, he said, adding that this exceptional performance and ongoing growth will be backed by the development of the future Tangier Med 2 Port.

    MWN with MAP


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    British Ship

    Agadir - A team of divers and a researcher specializing in underwater archeology discovered, Sunday, the remains of a British steamship which had wrecked off in 1918 near Sidi Toual beach, 15 km south of Agadir in the commune of Sidi Bidi (Shtouka Ait Baha province).

    Preliminary data shows that pieces of wreckage are scattered over 700 square meters, Azeddine Karra, underwater research specialist at the Culture Ministry, told MAP.

    The vestiges, found at the depth of 6-10 meters, include rusty doors, parts of the engine and large iron bars, he said.

    British Ship

    In a similar statement to MAP, Ait Baaziz, professional diver, said that the steamship "SS Baynyassa" was on a trade mission from Brazil to Gibraltar and changed its route towards the Agadir coast because of a mechanical failure.

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    mohamed-hassad

    Rabat - A new study by the Ministry of Interior revealed the existence of more than 116,000 associations in Morocco.

    The number of associations in the kingdom is growing by the day, especially since the launch of the National Initiative of Human Development (INDH) in 2005. In 2013, 85 associations were created every day.

    According to the study, most of the associations that make Morocco's associative fabric have a local influence, meaning their reach and radiation are limited to their neighborhoods or residential areas, while only 4% of the associations have a national outreach.

    The same study shows that 23% of these associations are engaged in social work, 21.44 % work in the environment and sustainable development, 18% in sport and recreational activities and 14% in education and teaching.

    Associations working in the field of human rights represent less than 1%.

    The study also revealed that women represent 12% of the members of the governing bodies of these associations.

    While 11, 899 associations were created in 2013, the study shows that only 5,351 new associations have been created in 2014.


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    doctor

    Rabat - Soumia Benkhaldoun, Minister Delegate to the Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Executive Training, said that 240,000 students will benefit from a Government-sponsored medical coverage that is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016).

    In an interview with Maghreb Arab Press (MAP), the Minister pointed out that 240,000 university students out of 900,000 will benefit from the compulsory medical coverage which will be entirely financed by the government.

    The new procedure will cost 120 million Dirhams from the state budget, the Minister said.

    Benkhaldoun added that work is underway to come with a list of students who are eligible to benefit from the medical coverage, saying that this category will have special cards that will allow them to benefit from the medical coverage.

    First, only university students will benefit from the medical coverage then later it will include students from institutions of higher education and students from vocational training institutions.

    The operation will be managed by the Caisse Nationale Des Organismes de Prévoyance Sociale (CNOPS) and it is due to take effect starting the next academic year (2015-2016).


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    Royal Air Maroc

    Casablanca-  Morocco’s flag carrier, Royal Air Maroc (RAM), received its first Boeing 787 Dreamliner which landed Saturday morning at Mohmmed V international airport in Casablanca.

    With this delivery RAM becomes the first Mediterranean airline to acquire such mid-size, wide-body airplane employing state-of-the art civil aviation technology.

    This new acquisition, part of a delivery of five B787, brings RAM’s fleet to 53 aircrafts.

    The four remaining B787 will be delivered to RAM on the following dates: March 2, 2015, March 3, 2016, April 4, 2016 and on April 5, 2017.

    Boeing 787 is designed to accommodate 273 passengers including 18 in the business class. It uses technologies that enable low fuel consumption and low carbon emissions.


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    Susana Diaz

    Madrid  - The President of the Spanish autonomous government of Andalusia, Susana Diaz described Morocco as the most stable ally for Spain and Europe in the southern Mediterranean region.

    "Located at a distance of only 14 kilometers from Spanish coasts, Morocco is the most stable ally for Spain and Europe in these difficult times that the Mediterranean region is going through," the head of the Andalusian government told Spanish La Sexta TV channel.

    Diaz, who visited Morocco last September, also highlighted the role played by Morocco to reinforce security in the Mediterranean.

    "Morocco is a key country in countering threats to security in the region," she said.


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    Benkirane in davos

    Davos (Switzerland), Jan 23, 2015 - Morocco has become a distinguished model in the Arab region, thanks to the awareness of all stakeholders and institutions about their role in the development of their country, Government Chief Abdelilah Benkirane said Friday at the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland).

    The kingdom has become a distinguished model in the Arab region, thanks to the awareness of all stakeholders and institutions about their role in the development of their country and their decision to consolidate cooperation and reject conflicts, Benkirane said at a high-level meeting on "changing regions: the case of the Arab world", alongside a group of eminent international figures.

    "This is the natural and civilizational role that everyone shall play to make thing change in a positive way", he underlined.

    On the situation in the Arab world, Government Chief said he is optimistic about the future, despite the critical situation marked by unpredictable political and security events.

    In response to a question about the compatibility of Islam with politics, Benkirane explained that there are three currents in the Arab world: a current that seeks to impose its control and maintain the status quo, a radical current that seeks to bring Arab countries and peoples back to outdated epochs and practices, and a moderate and democratic current that seeks to deal with the facts in a moderate way.

    In this regard, he noted that that the Arab region has no future but in adopting the moderate current approach, opposed by arbitrary and radical currents.


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