Ouarzazate – HM King Mohammed VI addressed the nation, on Friday, on the occasion of the thirty-fourth anniversary of the Green March.
Here follows the full text of His Majesty’s speech:
Praise be to God May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
My loyal subjects,
As we celebrate the thirty-fourth anniversary of the glorious Green March, we feel even more deeply committed to the oath of this epic event, to the preservation of the Kingdom’s territorial integrity, to our sacred, immutable values, and to the country’s sovereignty. This commitment is best reflected by the close bond between the Throne and the people, and by the nation’s unwavering unanimity on its founding principles.
The commemoration of this epoch-making event gives us the fortitude and inspiration we need to confront, in a wise, resolute manner, the conspiracies hatched by the adversaries of the Moroccanness of the Sahara. We shall press ahead with our constructive initiatives which are designed to achieve progress and consolidate unity in our southern provinces. Among our chief assets, in this regard, are a closely-knit home front and a vibrant democracy, both of which stem from the will of the nation.
In view of the above, I have decided that the spirit of the Green March should be rekindled so that we may rise to current and future challenges with respect to our national cause. To this end, I will launch an integrated plan which will centre on the following five actions:
First: ensure that our Saharan provinces feature prominently in the advanced regionalization system we wish for in order to enable the region’s inhabitants to have more say in the running of their affairs. Second: ask the government to make these provinces a model of devolution and good local governance, provide them with highly qualified staff, and grant them broad powers to be exercised under the supervision of Governors and Walis.
Third: restructure the Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs by the end of the current mandate, reconsider its membership and open it to new members known for their competence and keen sense of patriotism, revamp the Council’s structures and make sure they are pertinent, see that the Council’s working methods are adapted to new challenges, and enable the Council to defend the Moroccanness of the Sahara and ensure the region’s development more efficiently.
Fourth: review the area of competence and territorial jurisdiction of the Agency for the Development of the Southern Provinces by focusing its action on the Saharan provinces, on the implementation of human development projects, and on local programs that create jobs for young people and enhance social justice; facilitate the homecoming of all those who repent and who want to return to their motherland from the Tindouf camps, make sure they are properly welcomed and facilitate their social insertion.
Fifth: see that political parties, trade unions, community organizations, the media and the nation’s productive and creative forces discharge their mission in terms of helping citizens organize their affairs and promoting patriotism and civic values. This task should not be left to government institutions only; it requires the mobilization of all national and local players.
In this regard, I commend my loyal subjects in the Sahara, including the dignitaries, elected officials and civil society representatives, for their enduring faithfulness to their Moroccan identity.
My loyal subjects,
The task of implementing policy and development guidelines that are appropriate for the current phase is not to be confined to the domestic front. It is just as important for the combined efforts of official and parallel diplomacy to be geared towards defending the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the autonomy proposal that we tabled, and whose seriousness and credibility were praised by the United Nations.
As you know, the adversaries of our territorial integrity have been adamant on hampering the negotiating dynamic triggered by our initiative at the United Nations. In fact, their increasingly hostile stances now verge on a blueprint for extortion, conspiracy, pressure, provocation and distortion of the spirit of international legitimacy.
As we reaffirm our commitment to negotiation on our autonomy initiative under the auspices of the United Nations, we believe the time has come to deal with this escalation of aggression in a rigorous, appropriate manner, taking into account the requirements of patriotism and the need for everyone to shoulder their responsibilities.
I shall see to it that Morocco remains committed to the rule of law and the advancement of democratic values. But we will not allow respect for human rights and the freedoms enjoyed in our country to be exploited in a shameful way, anywhere, in order to conspire against the homeland’s sovereignty and unity, or against our sacred values.
Now is the time for all government authorities concerned to strive doubly hard, show great resolve and vigilance, enforce the law and deal vigorously with any infringement of the nation’s sovereignty, security, stability and public order, for they are the best guarantee for the exercise of freedoms.
Let me clearly say there is no more room for ambiguity or deceit: either a person is Moroccan, or is not. There can be no more duplicity or evading of duties. Now is the time for clear, unambiguous stances, and for responsible conduct. One is either a patriot, or a traitor. There is no halfway house. One cannot enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship, only to abuse them and conspire with the enemies of the homeland.
As for the adversaries of our territorial integrity – and those who consort with them – they know, better than anyone else, that the Sahara is a crucial issue for the Moroccan people, who unanimously support the Throne, which is the guarantor of the nation’s sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.
By putting the Sahara issue at the heart of their hostile strategy, they confirm that they are, in fact, the party concerned in this artificial conflict, a reality which is inconsistent with the mutual fraternal feelings between the Moroccan and the Algerian peoples.
The adversaries of our territorial integrity are endangering our future bilateral relations as well as the setting in motion of the Arab Maghreb Union, at a time when Morocco is seeking complementarity and integration so that we may rise, together, to crucial security and development challenges in the region.
We commend our friends’ support for our just cause. I have, however, to ask some of them the following question: Is there a country which would tolerate a handful of lawless people exploiting democracy and human rights in order to conspire with the enemy against its sovereignty, unity and vital interests?
Does the exercise of one’s freedoms give one the right to destroy public and private property that has been obtained thanks to sacrifices made by citizens? Why should those citizens be punished?
All national laws and international conventions agree that violence should be criminalized. They also regard conspiring with the enemy as high treason.
In this regard, I should like to insist on the fact that Morocco, a country deeply committed to freedom and openness, will not tolerate anyone claiming to go one better with respect to human rights, and certainly not regimes or groups who openly violate rights. Through fraud and deception, they are trying to use this issue like a business, both at home and abroad, to make cheap gains at the expense of the nation’s sacred values, with little regard for the inhuman conditions endured by our brothers in Tindouf.
In view of this distressing situation, Algeria and international organizations, especially the UNHCR, have to face up to their responsibilities and offer effective protection to the populations concerned, particularly by conducting a census, showing respect for these people’s dignity, and enabling them to exercise their natural right to freedom of movement and their right of return to their homeland, Morocco.
In keeping with our commitment to international legitimacy, we reiterate Morocco’s constant readiness to engage in serious negotiations and to facilitate the task of the Personal Envoy of UN Secretary-General as he pursues his predecessor’s mission to achieve a mutually acceptable, realistic, lasting political solution, on the basis of the autonomy proposal, and within the framework of the Kingdom’s sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.
My loyal subjects,
On this historic occasion, and as we honour, with humility and reverence, the memory of the architect of the Green March, my revered father His Majesty King Hassan II – may he rest in peace – and of the martyrs who gave their lives for the sake of our territorial integrity, I think the most fitting tribute we can pay them is by remaining true to our pledge not to give up or bargain over as much as a grain of sand from our Sahara. This is far more than just a question of borders.
Once again, I would like to commend our Armed Forces, Gendarmerie, security and auxiliary forces and the territorial authorities for their mobilization and their vigilance in order to preserve the homeland’s security and defend its territory.
We are confident that no matter how long this artificial conflict over our territorial integrity lasts, we shall emerge victorious, not only because it is our right, but because historical and legal legitimacy are on our side, and because all Moroccans believe in the justness and sacredness of their cause.
I shall remain at the forefront of the proud champions of the cause of the Kingdom’s sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity. I shall be forever faithful to our mutual pledge of allegiance and to constitutional obligations. Ours is a strong, steadfast belief in the inevitability of victory, for Almighty God said: “Allah will certainly aid those who aid His cause; for verily Allah is full of Strength, Exalted in Might”. True is the Word of God.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.