The moroccan press
Washington, DC, May 5, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — The FY 2017 Appropriations Bill passed by Congress and signed Friday by President Trump requires that “funds appropriated under title III of this Act” for Morocco “shall be made available for assistance for the Western Sahara,” thereby reinforcing longstanding US policy to support a negotiated solution to the dispute over the region based on autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty.
As was the case last year, the final report accompanying the bill noted this policy and gave further clarification to the provision of the law:
[The Morocco subsection] is similar to language in prior years requiring that funds made available for assistance for Morocco shall also be made available for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara. The Committee recommendation includes not less than the request for Morocco in title III of this Act and makes funds available for assistance for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara. The Committee expects funds to support democratic reforms and economic development. The Committee remains concerned by the failure to resolve the longstanding dispute over the Western Sahara and the protracted refugee situation in the Polisario-run camps near Tindouf, Algeria. The Committee believes that the Secretary of State should pursue a negotiated settlement to the dispute, consistent with United States policy to support a solution to the issue based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty. These redoubled diplomatic efforts can lead to a realistic and lasting settlement, the completion of a UN Peacekeeping mission that has existed for more than twenty years, and a more stable region. The Committee also encourages the Administration to support private sector investment in the Western Sahara. The Committee recommendation includes a requirement to consult with the Committees on Appropriations on all of these issues not later than 45 days after enactment of this Act.
The past three US administrations – Clinton, Bush, and Obama – and strong bipartisan majorities in Congress have supported autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty for Western Sahara. In a Joint Statement after King Mohammed VI’s 2013 visit to Washington DC, the King and President Obama pledged a “shared commitment to the improvement of the lives of the people of the Western Sahara,” and over the past several decades, Morocco has invested billions of dollars in economic and social development in the area.
The 2017 bill also calls for the Secretary of State to consult with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Executive Director of the World Food Programme and, within 45 days, “submit a report to the Committees on Appropriations describing steps taken to strengthen monitoring of the delivery of humanitarian assistance provided for refugees in North Africa, including any steps taken to ensure that all vulnerable refugees are receiving such assistance.”
Tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees are currently living in abject conditions in Polisario-run refugee camps in southwestern Algeria. Though the UN and other organizations have repeatedly called on Algeria and the Polisario to conduct a refugee registration in the camps to better ensure accountability and delivery of humanitarian aid, Algeria and the Polisario have refused, and in 2014 Agence France-Presse revealed that the European Union’s Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) had documented “well-organized, years-long” embezzlement by the Polisario of humanitarian aid designated for Sahrawi refugees. On April 28, the UN Security Council voted to renew for another year the UN peacekeeping mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO), again “reiterating its request for consideration of a refugee registration in the Tindouf refugee camps and emphasizing efforts be made in this regard.”
“The 2017 Appropriations Bill unequivocally enforces longstanding US policy on the Western Sahara issue, and helps to ensure that the humanitarian aid we provide benefits the people living in the camps rather than lines the pockets of the Polisario leadership,” said Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center for Policy Jordan Paul. “But as importantly, it supports Morocco—our oldest ally, and sets the stage for finally reaching resolution on a conflict that has gone on for far too long.”
###Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
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Natural Resources of Moroccan Sahara Are Exploited in Line of International Law, National Sovereignty
The natural resources of the Moroccan Sahara are exploited in line of international law and national sovereignty, Minister Delegate in charge of Relations with Parliament and Civil Society, Government Spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi, said Thursday in Rabat.
Speaking at the opening of the fifth edition of HUB Africa, the Gabonese minister expressed his wish to see this cooperation model include all African countries.
Chairman of the COP22 Salaheddine Mezouar called, on Thursday in Casablanca, for pooling efforts by all private, public and civil society stakeholders in favour of climate protection.
Mezouar, who was speaking at a panel on "COP22: Hub Africa Plays Extra Time" under the opening session of the 5th HUB AFRICA fair, said that the COP22 was a milestone in the fight against climate change.
The Moroccan experience in the field of information and communication technology (ICT) was showcased, on Wednesday in Niamey (Niger), as part of the parliamentary forum of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
A statement by the house of representatives said that the house deputy speaker Mohamed Ouzzine surveyed ICT developments in Morocco, underlining the ongoing increase in the number of internet users, the development of mobile telephony services and strategies adopted by Morocco in terms of digital mutation and society of knowledge.
Morocco’s leading Attijariwafa Bank has completed acquisition of the Egyptian branch of Barclays, the bank announced in a statement on Thursday.
Attijariwafa Bank has obtained all regulatory requirements to acquire 100 percent of Barclays Egypt capital after an agreement was signed by the two banks in October last year, the statement said.
This strategic operation will enable the bank to reinforce its presence in the Middle East and North Africa region, the statement underlined, adding that it will strengthen cooperation between Egypt and Morocco as well as among the countries where the bank exists.
Attijariwafa Bank operates in more than 20 countries including Tunisia, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal and Gabon. Enditem
Morocco’s government has approved 51 investments projects worth 6.7 billion U.S. dollars, the prime minister office said in a statement late on Thursday.
The projects will create 6,477 direct jobs, the statement said following a meeting of the Inter-ministerial Investment Commission under the chairmanship of Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani.
The breakdown of investments by sector shows a strong predominance of the energy sector with 4.3 billion dollars, representing nearly two thirds of the total investments submitted to the committee, which are expected to create some 4,803 jobs.
Tourism and leisure activities hold the second position with nearly 13 percent of the planned investments, while transport sector ranks third with 8 percent of said investments.
As for financing, 90 percent of the investments projects are funded by Moroccan investors, and the rest is by partnership between local and international partners.
An artist’s impression of the Chenanisaurus barbaricus
Scientists have discovered one of the last dinosaurs living in Africa before they became extinct 66 million years ago.
The Chenanisaurus barbaricus is extremely rare and is a smaller African contemporary of the North American T rex.
A rare fragment of a jaw bone was studied by Dr Nick Longrich at the University of Bath after it was found in a phosphate mine at Sidi Chennane in the Oulad Abdoun Basin, Morocco.
Dr Longrich, in collaboration with colleagues in Morocco, France and Spain, identified it as belonging to an abelisaur – which was a two-legged predator like T rex and other tyrannosaurs, but had a shorter, blunter snout and even smaller arms.
The tyrannosaurs dominated in North America and Asia, but the abelisaurs were the top predators at the end of the Cretaceous period in Africa, South America, India and Europe.
Dr Longrich told Sky News: “This find was unusual because it’s a dinosaur from marine rocks – it’s a bit like hunting for fossil whales and finding a fossil lion.
“It’s an incredibly rare find – almost like winning the lottery. But the phosphate mines are so rich, it’s like buying a million lottery tickets, so we actually have a chance to find rare dinosaurs like this one.
“We have virtually no dinosaur fossils from this time period in Morocco – it may even be the first dinosaur named from the end-Cretaceous in Africa.
“It’s also one of the last dinosaurs in Africa before the mass extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs.
“It’s an exciting find because it shows just how different the fauna was in the southern hemisphere at this time.”
The newly-discovered dinosaur stood on two legs and had stumpy arms, say scientists.
Dr Longrich said: “Abelisaurs had very short arms. The upper arm bone is short, the lower arm is shorter and they have tiny little hands.”
Scientists say the teeth from the fossil were worn as if from biting into bone, suggesting that, like T rex, Chenanisaurus was a predator.
Dr Longrich added: “The odd thing is it’s a terrestrial animal found in marine rocks. It was possibly drowned and washed out to sea and was floating in the ocean.”
Colombian Senate Reiterates Full Support for Morocco's Efforts Aimed at Reaching Solution to Sahara Issue on the basis of Moroccan Autonomy Plan
Colombian Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee reiterated its full support for Morocco's efforts aimed at reaching a solution to the Sahara issue on the basis of the Moroccan autonomy plan.
This announcement was made following the adoption by this Committee at a regular meeting held on Tuesday of a resolution reiterating the full support of the Colombian Senate for the efforts made by the Kingdom of Morocco since 2007 to reach a fair, political, final and consensual solution to the Sahara issue, on the basis of the Moroccan autonomy plan.
Morocco is determined to further strengthen its relations of friendship with China, speaker of the House of Advisors (upper house), Hakim Benchamach, said here on Tuesday during talks with Chinese ambassador to Morocco, Sun Shuzhong, at the end of his diplomatic mission in the Kingdom.
In this regard, Benchamach stressed the importance of the historic visit of HM King Mohammed VI to China in May 2016 and highlighted the promising prospects for a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, the House of Advisors said in a statement.
Head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, held talks, Tuesday in Rabat, with Japanese vice-minister for Foreign Affairs, Shunsuke Takei, who is on a working visit to Morocco.
The number of tourists who have visited Morocco during the first quarter of 2017 stood at 2.1 millions, increasing by 7.9% year on year, according to the Tourism Observatory.
The number of foreign tourists grew by 11.7%, while arrivals of Moroccan expatriates increased by 2.7%, said the Tourism Observatory in its Moroccan tourism statistics over January-March 2017.
This rise involved the main tourism markets, namely Germany and France (+ 6%), the United Kingdom and the Netherlands (5%), Spain (4%) and Belgium (+ 3%) , it added.
Morocco posted a major reduction in the maternal mortality rate of 35% compared to 2010, said, on Wednesday in Rabat, health minister Houcine El Ouardi.
A survey including 121,725 households in 12 regions (urban and rural zones) showed an important reduction in the ratio of maternal mortality in Morocco, which dropped to 72.6 mother deaths for 100,000 live births, versus 112 in 2010, that is a reduction of 35%, said El Ouardi at a press conference with national media outlets.
Morocco is on the path of building a development model that makes the promotion of the human capital and capacity-building its main pillar, said, on Wednesday in Rabat, head of government Saâd Eddine El Othmani.
Morocco is a "privileged", "strategic” and “distinguished” partner of Spain, Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis said on Wednesday.
Speaking at a press briefing following a meeting with Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita, Dastis hailed the excellent bilateral relations, noting that Morocco and Spain share common interests and are motivated by the desire to maintain the “privileged” nature of their ties.
The North Africa Post
The Algerian-backed Polisario has imposed a curfew in the Tindouf camps on May 2 to quell a protest that was supposed to be staged on May 3 by the disenchanted population held in inhumane living conditions in south-western Algeria, Morocco’s le 360.ma news website reported.
Battered by a series of diplomatic setbacks at the African and international levels, the Polisario separatists are resorting to violent measures to silence opponents in the Tindouf camps. The curfew was imposed to avert a protest against the polisario leadership and to vent anger at its propaganda especially after it tried to portray its presence in the Guerguarat as a military gain, a chimera that vanished hours before the adoption last Friday of UN Security Council resolution 2351, which calls for a census of the population held in the camps.
The withdrawal of the Polisario from the Guerguarat came after pressure from the international community on the Polisario to retreat from the buffer strip, which under the 1991 cease fire agreement, should remain a demilitarized area.
The Polisario militiamen, in connivance with the Algerian army, have reinforced the siege on the Tindouf camps to prevent Sahrawis from fleeing. The Algerian army has on multiple occasions fired at any Sahrawi who attempts to leave the camps. Last March, Algerian soldiers fired without warning at a car outside the Tindouf camps, killing Kari Mohamed Ali El Ouali and his friend Ahmed Lebouiya Sahraou.
International rights watchdogs, including Human Rights watch and Amnesty International, have on multiple reports drew attention to the plight of the population held against their will in Tindouf where the Algerian state has relegated the destiny of thousands of Sahraouis to the mercy of a separatist militias that trades in their suffering.
From humanitarian aid embezzlement by the Polisario officials to slavery and forced disappearances in the Tinfoud camps, Algeria has abdicated its responsibilities and forsaken a civilian population to the mercy of a separatist militia.
UN Security Council resolution 2351 has once more reiterated the call on Algeria to uphold its responsibility to allow a census of the population held in the camps.
Algeria’s obstinacy to allow a head-count of the population of the Polisario-run camps prompted the EU to reduce aid sent to these camps in a bid to curb humanitarian aid diversion.
The decision was taken following a report by the EU anti-fraud office (OLAF) denouncing the embezzlement of humanitarian aid by the Polisario leadership and Algerian officials. Therefore, the European Commission decided to cut aid commensurately with the estimated number of 90,000 people instead of the inflated 165,000 people put forward by the Polisario and Algeria in an attempt to sell the idea of the existence of a “Sahraoui People” with a “republic” in exile.
Carrying out a head-count of the population held in Tindouf will enable international aid agencies to assess the needs of the population and will also pave the way for the camps dwellers to obtain the refugee status, which will grant them the right to return to their homeland Morocco or at least the right to freely choose their country of asylum. Such options that Algeria and the Polisario dread the most as they continue to trade in the suffering of Sahraouis living in abject conditions.
POSTED BY NORTH AFRICA POST
North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.
by Lawrence White
* Barclays bank plc completes sale of its retail and corporate banking business in Egypt to Attijariwafa Bank S.A.
* Sale of Attijariwafa bank increases Barclays common equity tier 1 (cet1) ratio by around 10 basis points Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:
France Commends Adoption by UNSC of Resolution 2351 on Sahara
France commended on Tuesday the unanimous adoption by the UN Security Council (UNSC) of resolution 2351 (2017) on the Sahara, which extends by one year the MINURSO mandate.
"France commends the unanimous adoption on April 28 by the United Nations Security Council of resolution 2351, extending for one year MINURSO’s mandate, » French Foreign Ministry spokesman, Romain Nadal, said at a press briefing.
Morocco: A total of 1,089 Syrian Asylum-seekers Confirmed As Persons in Need of International Protection (Ministry)
The ad hoc commission, under the authority of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, responsible for hearing asylum seekers, confirmed until January 2017 a total of 1,089 Syrian asylum seekers as persons in need of international protection.
Mezouar, El Haite To Continue Fulfilling Their Respective Mandates As 'COP22 President', ‘High Level Climate Champion’ (Foreign Ministry)
In accordance with the High Instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Salah Eddine Mezouar and Hakima El Haite will continue to fulfill their respective mandates as "COP22 President" and "High Level Champion for Climate," said a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.