The moroccan press

Morocco Airline Cancels Flights Via Doha To Arab States Over Qatar Dispute

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 08:54

Reuters
by Samia Errazzouki

Moroccan airline Royal Air Maroc cancelled flights via Doha to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Egypt after they severed diplomatic ties with Qatar, state news agency MAP and the airline’s customer service said on Tuesday.

MAP said Royal Air Maroc flights via Doha to those countries could not be guaranteed, and the airline’s customer service said flights would no longer be available.

Morocco has refrained from taking sides in moves to isolate Qatar, but some of those Gulf nations are its close allies. Morocco is a member of the Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen against the Shi’ite Houthi militia.

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

West Africa Bloc Agrees “In Principle” On Morocco Membership

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 16:05

ABC NEWS
by Jonathan Paye-Layleh, AP

An official with West Africa’s regional bloc says leaders of the 15-nation group have agreed “in principle” on Morocco’s membership application for membership, though more assessments will be made.

The official said Monday the ECOWAS commission will do its own study on Morocco’s possible membership and report back to heads of state, who instructed them to “examine the implications” of allowing Morocco to join.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to the press.

Morocco, Tunisia and Mauritania will be invited to the next ECOWAS meeting in Togo in December. Tunisia is seeking observer status and Mauritania wishes to rejoin.

The consideration comes after Morocco’s King Mohammed VI canceled attendance to the Sunday ECOWAS gathering because Israel’s Prime Minister was attending.

Arab Powers Sever Qatar Ties, Citing Support For Militants

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 14:07

World Affairs Jounal
TOP NEWS
By Noah Browning | DUBAI

The Arab world’s biggest powers cut ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of support for Islamist militants and Iran, and reopening a festering wound two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump’s demand for Muslim states to fight terrorism.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain severed diplomatic relations with Qatar in a coordinated move. Yemen, Libya’s eastern-based government and the Maldives joined later. Transport links shut down, triggering supply shortages.

Qatar, a small peninsular nation of 2.5 million people that has a large U.S. military base, denounced the action as predicated on lies about it supporting militants. It has often been accused of being a funding source for Islamists, as has Saudi Arabia.

Iran, long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move, blamed Trump’s visit last month to Riyadh and called for the sides to overcome their differences.

“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” tweeted Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, referring to Trump’s joining in a traditional dance with the Saudi king at the meeting.

Closing all transport links with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave, and Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt banned Qatari planes from landing and forbade them from crossing their air space.

Qatar’s stock market index sank 7.3 percent, with some of the market’s top blue chips hardest hit, and some Egyptian banks said they were suspending dealing with Qatari banks.

The UAE and Saudi Arabia stopped exports of white sugar to Qatar, a potential hit to consumers during the holy month of Ramadan, when demand is high. Some residents in Qatar began stockpiling food and supplies, an expatriate said.

“People have stormed into the supermarket hoarding food, especially imported ones. … It’s chaos – I’ve never seen anything like this before,” said Eva Tobaji, an expatriate resident in Doha, told Reuters after returning from shopping.

Supply difficulties quickly developed. Two Middle East trade sources spoke of thousands of trucks carrying food stuck at the Saudi border, unable make the sole overland frontier crossing into Qatar.

About 80 percent of Qatar’s food requirements are sourced via bigger Gulf Arab neighbors. Trade sources pointed to the likelihood of shortages growing in Qatar until the crisis eased.

Along with Egypt, however, the UAE and Saudi Arabia could be vulnerable to retaliation, being highly dependent on Qatar for liquefied natural gas.

‘WORRISOME’

The hawkish tone on Tehran and on terrorism that Trump brought in his visit to Muslim leaders in Riyadh is seen as having laid the groundwork for the diplomatic crisis.

“You have a shift in the balance of power in the Gulf now because of the new presidency: Trump is strongly opposed to political Islam and Iran,” said Jean-Marc Rickli, head of global risk and resilience at the Geneva Centre for Security Policy.

“He is totally aligned with Abu Dhabi and Riyadh, who also want no compromise with either Iran or the political Islam promoted by the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The United States called for a quick resolution of the dispute, and does not want to see a “permanent rift,” a senior U.S. administration official said.

“There’s an acknowledgement that a lot of Qatari behavior is quite worrisome not just to our Gulf neighbors but to the U.S.,” the official said. “We want to bring them in the right direction.”

A State Department official said all U.S. partnerships with Gulf nations were vital and called on all parties to quickly resolve their differences.

The U.S. military said it had seen no impact to its Gulf-area operations, intended mainly as a bulwark against Iran, and added it was grateful for Qatar’s long-standing support of a U.S. presence and commitment to regional security.

The diplomatic bust-up threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which is set to host the 2022 soccer World Cup.

Soccer’s governing body, FIFA, said on Monday it was in “regular contact” with Qatar’s 2022 organizing committee, but did not comment directly on the diplomatic situation.

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD

Qatar’s backing of Islamists dates to a decision by the current emir’s father to end a tradition of automatic deference to Saudi Arabia, the dominant Gulf Arab power, and forge the widest possible array of allies.

Doha subsequently cultivated not only Islamists like America’s foes Iran, Hamas and the Taliban in pursuit of leverage, but also Washington itself, hosting the largest U.S. air base in the Middle East.

Qatar has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region’s many disputes. But Egypt and the Gulf Arab states resent Qatar’s support for Islamists, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which they see as a political enemy.

Muslim Brotherhood groups allied to Doha are now mostly on retreat in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected Islamist president.

The former army chief and now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, along with Cairo’s allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, blacklist the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization. The Brotherhood says it supports only peaceful politics.

Saudi Arabia accused Qatar on Monday of backing militant groups and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera.

Later in the day, the kingdom shut the Saudi bureau of al Jazeera. Al Jazeera says it is an independent news service giving a voice to everyone in the region.

Riyadh also accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in the restive, largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated eastern Saudi region of Qatif, as well as in Bahrain.

Qatar denied it was interfering in the affairs of others.

“The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.

Turkey also called for dialogue to settle the dispute and a government spokesman said President Tayyip Erdogan was working for a diplomatic solution to the rift.

Sudan expressed its concern over the row and offered to mediate between all sides.

FALLOUT

A split between Doha and its closest allies could have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

The economic fallout was already hitting home as Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Etihad Airways, Dubai’s Emirates Airline and budget carriers Flydubai and Air Arabia said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha indefinitely from Tuesday morning.

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia. Many Gulf airports, including in Qatar, are major hubs for international connecting flights.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled.

Neighboring Kuwait has been mediating in the dispute, and its emir, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, urged Qatar’s ruler to calm tensions and refrain from escalating the rift, Kuwait state news agency Kuna said.

Al-Sabah called on Qatar’s Tamim bin Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani to give efforts at mediation a chance to contain differences, a few hours after Khalid al-Faisal, an adviser to the Saudi king, visited Kuwait.

(Additional reporting by William Maclean, Parisa Hafezi, Omar Fahmy, Mohammed el-Sherif, Sylvia Westall, Tom Finn, Steve Holland, Amina Ismail and Yara Bayoumy; Editing by Larry King and Peter Cooney)

2017 Marhaba Operation Kicks off on Monday

The moroccan press - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:36

Under the presidency of HM King Mohammed VI, the operation of receiving Moroccan expatriates dubbed "Marhaba" will start on Monday and run until Sept. 15, 2017, the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity said.

   The Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, which contributes in the implementation and the organization of this operation, has set up 17 rest areas to respond to the intensity of maritime and air traffic regularly recorded on this occasion, the Foundation pointed out in a statement.

Categories: The moroccan press

ECOWAS Agrees in Principle to Morocco's Request to Join the Organization (final communiqué)

The moroccan press - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:34

The 51st Ordinary Summit of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) held in Monrovia has accepted in principle Morocco's request to join this regional grouping.

It has also decided to invite HM King Mohammed VI to ECOWAS’ next ordinary session, the final communique issued at the end of the summit said.

West African leaders have thus "agreed in principle to accept Morocco’s accession to Ecowas, given the strong and multidimensional ties of cooperation" that link Morocco to the organization’s member countries.

Categories: The moroccan press

El Othmani Underlines Need to Deal with People’s Demands

The moroccan press - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:32

Head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, stressed the need to deal with the demands of all Moroccans and those from Al-Hoceima in particular, adding that this is the government’s main concern.

El Othmani, who was speaking at the weekly Cabinet meeting in Rabat on Thursday, underlined the need to ensure the protection of public and private property, preserve public order and strengthen the security and the stability of the country, which will benefit all citizens.

Categories: The moroccan press

Saudi Arabia, Egypt Lead Arab States Cutting Qatar Ties, Iran Blames Trump

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 07:27

CNBC
Reuters with AP

A growing number of Arab nations have cut ties with Qatar.

The nations pointed to Doha’s alleged terrorism ties and their own national security.

The coordinated move escalates a dispute over Qatar’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, and adds accusations that Doha backs the agenda of Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Libya, Bahrain, and Maldives severed their ties with Qatar on Monday, accusing it of supporting terrorism and opening up the worst rift in years among some of the most powerful states in the Arab world.

Iran — long at odds with Saudi Arabia and a behind-the-scenes target of the move — immediately blamed President Donald Trumpfor setting the stage during his recent trip to Riyadh.

Gulf Arab states and Egypt have long resented Qatar’s support for Islamists, especially the Egyptian-based Muslim Brotherhood, which they regard as a dangerous political enemy.

The coordinated move, with the Maldives and Libya’s eastern-based government joining in later, created a dramatic rift among the Arab nations, many of which are in OPEC.

Announcing the closure of transport ties with Qatar, the three Gulf states gave Qatari visitors and residents two weeks to leave. Qatar was also expelled from the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

Oil giant Saudi Arabia accused Qatar of backing militant groups — some backed by regional archrival Iran — and broadcasting their ideology, an apparent reference to Qatar’s influential state-owned satellite channel al Jazeera.

“(Qatar) embraces multiple terrorist and sectarian groups aimed at disturbing stability in the region, including the Muslim Brotherhood, ISIS (Islamic State) and al-Qaeda, and promotes the message and schemes of these groups through their media constantly,” Saudi state news agency SPA said.

It accused Qatar of supporting what it described as Iranian-backed militants in its restive and largely Shi’ite Muslim-populated eastern region of Qatif and in Bahrain.

Qatar said it was facing a campaign aimed at weakening it, denying it was interfering in the affairs of other countries.

“The campaign of incitement is based on lies that had reached the level of complete fabrications,” the Qatari foreign ministry said in a statement.

Iran saw America pulling the strings.

“What is happening is the preliminary result of the sword dance,” Hamid Aboutalebi, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani, tweeted in a reference to Trump’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia.

Justin Solomon | CNBC

Doha, Qatar.

Trump and other U.S. officials participated in a traditional sword dance during the trip in which he called on Muslim countries to stand united against Islamist extremists and singled out Iran as a key source of funding and support for militant groups.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters in Sydney on Monday that the spat would not affect the fight against Islamist militants and that Washington has encouraged its Gulf allies to resolve their differences.

A split between Doha and its closest allies can have repercussions around the Middle East, where Gulf states have used their financial and political power to influence events in Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Qatar on Monday asked citizens to leave the United Arab Emirates within 14 days to comply with by Abu Dhabi’s severing of ties, the Qatari embassy in Abu Dhabi said on social media. Those who cannot travel directly to Doha should go through Kuwait or Oman, it said.

Economic fallout

The economic fallout loomed immediately, as Abu Dhabi’s state-owned Ethihad Airways, Dubai’s Emirates Airline and budget carrier Flydubai said they would suspend all flights to and from Doha from Tuesday morning until further notice.

Qatar Airways said on its official website it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia.

Fayez Nureldine | AFP | Getty Images

A picture taken on June 5, 2017 shows a Saudi woman and a boy walking past the Qatar Airways branch in the Saudi capital Riyadh, after it had suspended all flights to Saudi Arabia following a severing of relations between major gulf states and gas-rich Qatar.

Qatar’s stock market index sank 7.5 percent with some of the market’s top blue chips hardest hit.

The measures are more severe than during a previous eight-month rift in 2014, when Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, and the UAE withdrew their ambassadors from Doha, again alleging Qatari support for militant groups. At that time, travel links were maintained and Qataris were not expelled.

The diplomatic broadside threatens the international prestige of Qatar, which hosts a large U.S. military base and is set to host the 2022 World Cup. It has for years presented itself as a mediator and power broker for the region’s many disputes.

FIFA, international soccer’s governing body, said it remained in regular contact with Qatar, declining to elaborate.

Kristian Ulrichsen, a Gulf expert at the U.S.-based Baker Institute, said if Qatar’s land borders and airspace were closed for any length of time “it would wreak havoc on the timeline and delivery” of the World Cup.

“It seems that the Saudis and Emiratis feel emboldened by the alignment of their regional interests — toward Iran and Islamism — with the Trump administration,” Ulrichsen said. “(They) have decided to deal with Qatar’s alternative approach on the assumption that they will have the (Trump) administration’s backing.”

Qatar used its media and political clout to support long-repressed Islamists during the 2011 pro-democracy “Arab Spring” uprisings in several Arab countries.

Muslim Brotherhood groups allied to Doha are now mostly on the backfoot in the region, especially after a 2013 military takeover in Egypt ousted the elected Islamist president.

The former army chief and now president, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, along with the new government’s allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE, blacklist the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Egypt, the Arab world’s most populous nation, said on its state news agency that Qatar’s policy “threatens Arab national security and sows the seeds of strife and division within Arab societies according to a deliberate plan aimed at the unity and interests of the Arab nation.”

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has called on Egyptian businessmen to withdraw their investments and halt business dealings with the Gulf state, his spokesperson told Reuters on Monday.

Oil prices rose after the moves against Qatar, which is the biggest supplier of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and a major seller of condensate — a low-density liquid fuel and refining product derived from natural gas.

WATCH: Four Arab countries cut diplomatic ties with Qatar

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Morocco’s Phosphate Exports Up By 11.5 pct

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 06/04/2017 - 03:32

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua
Editor: xuxin

Morocco’s phosphate turnover registered 1.41 billion U.S. dollars in the first four months of 2017, an increase by 11.5 year-on-year, local media reported on Saturday.

The financial daily l’Economiste said this increase is the highest in five years, adding that the sector’s contribution in the country’s GDP raised from 16.2 percent to 17 percent year-on-year.

Citing official statistics, the daily noted that the highest increase was registered in fertilizers exports by 150 million U.S. dollars and crude phosphate by nearly 29 million U.S. dollars.

Morocco is one of the world largest phosphate producers. According to The United States Geological Survey, Morocco has the largest phosphate rock reserve base in the world, accounting for approximately 75 percent of worldwide estimates.

Muhammad The VI, King Of Stability

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 07:20

The Arab Times Kuwait
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah

WHEN international institutions advise African nations to take a cue from the Moroccan experience in the fields of economic and industrial diversification, it requires deep thought because a country regarded as developing was able to take a giant stride within a decade.

The achievement was made possible due to the consistent performance of King Mohammad V1, internally or externally. The King encouraged international companies, especially those involved in vehicle assembly, to move some of their productions to the Kingdom, so it helped in solving several economic problems.

Since his ascendancy to power, the youthful King took several steps, different from the lines toed by governments in other countries. This is due to his belief that facing a problem squarely is the best way to solve it. For instance, he made the issue of returning into the fold of African Union a paramount objective, but with the need to maintain national norms and rights. He worked on this assiduously until Morocco entered the golden gate of the African continent. He was able to change the position over a thorny issue in African-Moroccan relations – the Sahara issue.

He worked towards opening the doors of his Kingdom to tourism such that the country became a major point of call on the world map. This coincides with massive development projects, particularly in the area of clean energy.

He paved the way for increasing foreign investments which attracted several entrepreneurs from the Arabian Gulf. This is in addition to building political and economic partnerships within the Arab world. He succeeded in bringing Morocco closer to GCC countries, better than any time in the past.

All this was for the sake of offering more opportunities to the people and enhancing social stability as the backbone of security and political stability. Furthermore, the more coherent the internal front is, the more difficult to penetrate it.

King Muhammad VI was the first among the leaders who responded to the demands of his people at the beginning of the so-called Arab Spring when he ordered amendment and modernization of laws and the Constitution.

The achievements of King Muhammad VI aroused the envy of some neighboring countries which did not wish good for Morocco due to differences in visions, approaches and political regimes. The political regime in Morocco is democratic, while dictators are dominating the neighboring countries. Everybody is aware of countless attempts to penetrate the Moroccan internal front led by those regimes. Nevertheless, all these malicious attempts failed due to the special relationship between the Moroccan people and their ruler.

This special relationship is based on the common belief that nobody is above Morocco. The uprising against French colonialism in the 1950s is a big witness of that special relationship. At the time, the colonialist authorities deposed the late King Muhammad V and the revolution lasted until the occupation and the return of the King who was received by all the people.

Morocco continued supporting Arab issues. It was the first supporter of the Algerian revolution against French colonialism. It was Morocco that formed the main base for supplying the needs of Algerian revolutionists. This support extended to the Palestinian issue and the Jerusalem Committee headed by the late King Hassan II.

These historical positions prompted an observer to look at what some neighboring countries are attempting to do to serve the devil, not for Arab solidarity and to maintain good neighborliness. Based on that, we cannot deduce what is happening in Al-Hoceima, far from the historical facts which we have pointed out because it will do injustice to the Kingdom and the monarchy, and not to recognize what the Kingdom has achieved.

Since the beginning of the recent incidents, the royal directives were clear – listen to the demands of protesters and to work towards implementing what is consistent with the Constitution and the laws, not to yield to what can be a window for realizing the dreams of strangers so chaos does not sneak in. Without a doubt, the people of Morocco know very well their national duty to overcome attempts to shake up their stability.

Morocco is the father of stability and well-being, so the risk to gamble with these national resources through obedience of the minority to outside forces is like committing suicide especially if the matter contradicts with the deep-rooted Moroccan culture, history, humanity, nature and universal norms of the rational class.

The Almighty Allah says “Do they distribute the mercy of your Lord? It is We who have distributed their sustenance in this world and raised the positions of some of them above others so that they would mock each other. The mercy of your Lord is better than what they can amass.” (Quran 43:32). This divine rule is obligatory on every believer. It is general, not limited to Morocco, but the whole world.

By Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times

Morocco Trade Deficit Widens 35.8 pct In First Four Months

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 07:11

Reuters
by Samia Errazzouki

Morocco’s trade deficit widened 35.8 percent to 40.23 billion dirhams ($4.14 billion) in the first four months of 2017 compared with a year earlier, driven by increased imports, the foreign exchange regulator said on Saturday.

The trade gap was up from 29.62 billion dirhams during the same period last year, as spending on equipment imports rose 10.9 percent to 40.4 billion dirhams, and energy imports rose 47.8 percent to 22.66 billion dirhams.

Wheat imports fell 10.2 percent from a year earlier to 5.34 billion dirhams as a higher rainfall improved the harvest.

Total exports rose 3.2 percent from a year earlier to 114.9 billion dirhams, pushed by a 11.5 percent rise in phosphate exports totaling 14.2 billion dirhams.

Tourism receipts fell by 4.7 percent. Remittances from the 4.5 million Moroccans who live abroad fell 3.2 percent to 18.51 billion dirhams, while foreign direct investment rose 4.5 percent to 7.79 billion dirhams

($1 = 9.7195 Moroccan dirham)

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki)

Wind Energy Is Gaining Ground In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 06/03/2017 - 01:41

Hydrogen Fuel News
Stephen Vagus

Morocco is home to the largest onshore wind energy system in Africa and it has offset a massive amount of emissions produced over the past two years. In 2015, the Tarfaya wind farm began operation and began changing the way Morocco received its electrical power.

Previous to the wind farm providing energy, the country received 97% of its electrical power from fossil-fuels.

Now, however, Morocco intends to focus more heavily on renewable energy in order to become more environmentally friendly and fight climate change. The country is set to make wind energy a major priority.

Country aims to embrace clean power more aggressively

Morocco is home to a great deal of wind energy potential. The Moroccan Investment Development Agency suggests that the country can build some 25,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity, which will help it meet its demand for electrical power. Wind power will help bolster the country’s overall renewable energy capacity. Morocco intends to derive 52% of its electrical power from renewable sources by 2030 and the development of new wind energy projects may help the country meet this goal.

Wind farm has been specially designed for Morocco’s environment

The Tarfaya wind farm represents what can be accomplished in the country’s wind energy sector. The wind farm is comprised of 131 turbines, which have been specially designed for the Moroccan environment. Currently, this wind energy system alone accounts for 15% of the wind power goal established by the country’s government. While wind energy will be a priority for Morocco, it may not be the country’s most supported form of clean power in the coming years.

Solar energy expected to become Morocco’s favored form of power

According to a report from Stanford University, Morocco will be able to fully rely on renewable energy by 2050. Notably, the country is poised to become home to the largest solar energy projects in the world, one of which will be able to provide electricity for 1.1 million people.

Wind energy, both onshore and off, is expected to make up 29.7% of Morocco’s overall energy portfolio, with solar power accounting for the majority of the country’s energy generation capacity.

Business Brief: Morocco Sets Social Housing Goals, and Fez Prepares for the Annual Amazigh Festival – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 15:32

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
June 2, 2017

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

The Moroccan government updated its housing target to meet rising demand due to its growing population and growth of urban areas. The 13th annual Amazigh Festival is getting ready to display the rich culture of the Amazigh in the region. Additionally, Moroccan monthly industrial production rises while a Moroccan garners top entrepreneur honors in the region.

Severe Housing Need to be Addressed. The Secretary of State for Housing, Fatna Lkhiyel, announced that the government will move to add 170,000 social housing units a year, in an attempt to reduce the housing deficit by half in the next four years. According to a story in Morocco World News, “This program will allow for the processing of applications of half of the 120,000 families set to receive improved housing under the national program ‘Cities without Slums’ by 2021. The program will also provide for the urban regeneration of informal settlements to improve the housing conditions of more than 200,000 households and the renovation of 37,000 buildings.”

The new program will also reinvigorate the National Agency for Urban Renewal and expand the range of housing available for needy families. The middle-class housing support program will also undergo revision to encourage greater community participation in local housing affairs.

Despite long-standing incentives to provide adequate social housing, Morocco has fallen behind previous goals as demand increases and land costs soar. Most of the units are provided under a government scheme of public-private partnerships, in which the government sets the prices for housing based on size; subsidizes purchases on behalf of the consumer; and then permits private companies to sell and manage the projects. The system has long been a lucrative sector since it guarantees the outcome for development firms if they fulfill government guidelines.

Fez ready to rock Amazigh Festival. From July 14-16, the city will host the 13th annual Festival of Amazigh Culture under the theme “Amazigh and Cultural Diversity Confronting Extremism.” The Festival has both regional and international followers, and this year’s program will focus on the importance of multiculturalism and Amazigh culture in Morocco’s development. Last year, more than 30 speakers, 100 artists and performers, and 60,000 visitors attended the Festival. This year, the program will have  panels on Amazigh culture and the Moroccan identity, historical and cultural insights, and, of course, “a variety of Moroccan music styles, including Chaabi, Rai, Amazigh, flamenco dance, Mediterranean and Italian music.”

Industrial production continues monthly climb. The Central Bank, Bank al Maghrib, released its monthly analysis of industrial growth, and everything looks positive in the immediate future, with room to grow in all sectors. The bank uses the Capacity Utilization Rate (UCA), which measures the percentage of industrial capacity in use over a certain period, in this case the month of April, which can then be plotted to describe trends by sector. The report also indicates movement in exports and local sales by sector to provide a composite view of the economy in the medium term.

Growth was uneven in April. While most of the industrial manufacturing sectors — such as chemicals, mechanical equipment, electrical components, and downstream chemicals improved — the textile and leather sectors declined slightly. According to figures reported by Morocco World News, “The Capacity Utilization Rate reached 72 percent in the agri-food sector, 71 percent in textiles and leather, 57 percent in chemistry and para-chemistry, 67 percent in mechanics and metallurgy, and 83 percent in the electrical and electronic sector.” The report concluded on an optimistic note, in that in the next 90 days, manufacturers are projecting an overall increase in sales and production, pointing to continued positive results.

Recycling the old-fashioned way. Over the years, many bio-mass projects converting waste into energy have been proposed for Morocco. The country certainly has enough trash to make these ventures profitable. It is estimated that landfills in Casablanca alone could provide eight years of energy for its four million inhabitants… but the catch is that the garbage must be dug up, sorted, and sent to recycling centers for processing. Fortunately, advances in bio-mass technology are bringing down the costs of the gas-powered units, and some even use solar power. In the meantime, here’s what’s going on in the informal sector of recycling Morocco, from a great piece called “The Small Hands of Moroccan Recycling.”

The story begins in Casablanca, where an army of largely unskilled people scour through landfills to pull out refuse that can be recycled profitably, ranging from plastic containers to metal and electronics. Anthropologist Delphine Corteel coined the phrase “waste workers” to identify these people, in many ways similar to their counterparts in Cairo and other large cities. Despite the important services they perform, they are often excluded from society due to “the uncleanliness of their work, and the nature of their living spaces. They live on the margins of legal urban areas, in slums and makeshift houses, which are regularly demolished or threatened by real estate and urban projects. While working in the streets, they are often victims of violence either committed by the authorities or other inhabitants.”

The waste workers gather cardboard, plastics, metals, glass, fabrics, and vegetable waste for selling by the pound to recyclers. Anything of value usually ends up “in one of the city’s flea markets (joutiya). Nothing that can be used is left behind. After collection and sorting, some materials have to be compacted and crushed to take up less space, which adds value. The materials will then be sold to informal sector wholesalers or to the formal sector through pick-ups or trucks sent to carry the waste.”

At the Mediouna landfill some 18 miles east of the city, “some 600 illegal waste collectors extract about 1000 tons of materials daily that will be re-injected into the informal and formal recycling circuit.” The article notes that many recycling factories and export wholesalers rely on these people for the bulk of their business; for example­­, the plastics collected by the waste collectors is compressed and sold to exporters who then sell it to China.

As one waste worker said, “We contribute to the economy of Morocco. It is thanks to us that this waste is recycled instead of being simply buried or burned. This is our livelihood, it’s our survival and it makes our community live.” Although marginalized in Morocco, it is noteworthy that “Yet, elsewhere in the world, innovative experiments, mobilisation of reclaiming communities and associations are signs that integration, access to social rights and, more broadly, recognition or informal waste collectors are possible.”

Moroccan entrepreneur makes select international list. The Endeavor organization is an international group that supports entrepreneurs by providing gateways to financing, consulting, and other key services. It has helped scale more than 800 companies in 26 countries.

This year’s London program recognized Hammad Benjelloun as an Endeavor Entrepreneur for his company Adlive, which “is a technology workplace that provides media agencies, advertisers and digital publishers with an automated way to plan, execute and optimize their digital media campaigns.” He joins a select group identified by Endeavor’s International Selection Panel (ISP).

The next ISP selection meeting of Endeavor will be held in Miami December 11-13, 2017, and will be hosted by the first U.S. affiliate of Endeavor, which “now supports 1,461 entrepreneurs leading 915 companies in 30 growth markets around the world. Panelists at the event include top global business leaders and investors who are drawn from Endeavor’s extensive network of mentors and supporters.”

The post Business Brief: Morocco Sets Social Housing Goals, and Fez Prepares for the Annual Amazigh Festival – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Chairs Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of UNESCO Convention on Protection of Underwater Cultural Heritage

The moroccan press - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 13:50

Following its election two days ago to the Scientific and Technical Advisory Body of UNESCO 2001 Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage, Morocco has assumed the chairmanship of the same body.

In a statement to MAP, Morocco’s Ambassador to UNESCO Zohour Alaoui, said that, ahead of the Ocean Conference scheduled in New York next week, this event is doubly important "given that our country was not only elected to this prestigious council but also became its president."

Categories: The moroccan press

US Withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement : President of COP 22 Expresses 'Deep Disappointment'

The moroccan press - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 13:40

President of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Salaheddine Mezouar, expressed "deep disappointment" following the US withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement.

Despite the US decision, the dynamics of climate action remain undeniable and irreversible, he pointed out in a statement, adding that collective efforts to combat climate change will not stop.

Categories: The moroccan press

Huffington Post: Morocco is Emerging, Stable Nation That Could be Important Ally for USA

The moroccan press - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 13:36

Morocco is an emerging, stable nation, and one that could be an important ally for the United States in that area of the world, wrote Thursday US paper Huffington Post.

Morocco's government functions in a manner much closer to what you might find in England and the United States than most people probably realize. It is a country that deserves our support, said the articled entitled "What I Learned During My Trip To Morocco" and authored by Munr Kazmir.

Categories: The moroccan press

U.N. Chief To Name Ex-German President As Western Sahara Envoy

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 07:10

US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
Reuters

FILE PHOTO: Former German President Horst Koehler arrives for the state funeral of late German President Roman Herzog in Berlin, Germany, January 24, 2017. REUTERS/Steffie Loos/POOL/File Photo Reuters

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The head of the United Nations will name former German president Horst Koehler as his new envoy for Western Sahara, in charge of restarting talks between Morocco and the Polisario independence movement over the disputed territory.

The United Nations Security Council in April backed attempts to re-enter negotiations over Western Sahara, which has been contested since 1975 and where Morocco and Polisario fought a war until a 1991 ceasefire.

“Following the usual consultations, I intend to appoint Horst Koehler of Germany as my personal envoy for Western Sahara,” U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said in a letter to the Security Council released by the U.N. on Friday.

Tensions increased in Western Sahara last year when Moroccan forces faced off with a brigade of Polisario forces in the remote Guerguerat area near the Mauritania border. Both sides withdrew their forces this year.

Before serving as Germany’s president from 2004 to 2010, Koehler was managing director of the International Monetary Fund. He also has worked for the U.N. in development programs and on a panel for the African Development Bank.

Morocco claimed Western Sahara after former colonial power Spain left, but Polisario fought a guerrilla war for independence for the Sahrawi people there until the U.N.-backed ceasefire.

U.N. talks have failed to broker an agreement on how to decide on self-determination. Morocco wants an autonomy plan under Moroccan sovereignty. But the Polisario wants a U.N.-backed referendum that would include the question of independence.

Relations between Morocco and the U.N. hit a low last year after then-U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon used the word “occupation” to describe Morocco’s annexation of Western Sahara. Morocco expelled dozens of U.N. staff working for the mission there known as MINURSO.

Guterres on Friday expressed concern over the plight of tens of thousands of Sahrawi refugees in Algeria who will see their food rations cut due to lack of funding, his spokesman, Farhan Haq, told reporters.

“Humanitarian aid, including food aid, is a lifeline for these refugees from Western Sahara,” Haq said. “The secretary-general calls on donors to urgently increase their assistance to this often overlooked and vulnerable population.”

Haq said the World Food Programme needs $7.9 million to continue providing food assistance over the next six months.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; Writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Jeremy Gaunt and Paul Simao)

Migrants’ New Route To Europe: Number Of Refugees Using Perilous Crossing From Morocco To Spain

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 06/02/2017 - 00:42

Daily Mail
By Julian Robinson for MailOnline

Migrants’ new route to Europe: Number of refugees using perilous crossing from Morocco to Spain TRIPLES in a year as other routes are shut down.

The number of migrants using a perilous new sea route across the Mediterranean from Morocco to Spain has more than tripled in a year, it has emerged.

  • Number of migrants crossing from Morocco to Spain has tripled in the last year
  • More than 3,300 refugees made perilous journey in first four months of 2017
  • It comes after EU and Turkey struck a deal to curb flow of migrants into Greece
  • Tens of thousands still use another crossing between Libya and southern Italy

More than 3,300 refugees crossed to Europe from the North African country in the first four months of this year – compared to just over a thousand in the same period in 2016.

The surge in boat arrivals on the so-called Western Mediterranean route has prompted a series of rescue missions in recent weeks, including 34 refugees saved from a burning dinghy near an island between the two countries.

It comes amid a dramatic reduction in refugees crossing between Turkey and Greece in the wake of a deal struck between the EU and Ankara last year.

The number of migrants using a perilous new sea route across the Mediterranean from Morocco to Spain has more than tripled in a year, it has emerged. Just days ago dozens were rescued from a burning dinghy near the Spanish island of Alboran, between the two countries.

More than 3,300 refugees crossed to Europe from the North African country in the first four months of this year – compared to just over a thousand in the same period in 2016. Migrants are pictured after being rescued near Libya last week.

However, an established route between war-torn Libya and southern Italy still accounts for the majority of sea crossings with more than 58,000 making the dangerous journey in the first five months of this year.

There have been more than 69,000 arrivals by sea so far this year with nearly 1,700 deaths. In the same period last year, 198,346 had arrived while 2,267 had been killed making the journey.

The crossing to Spain has accounted for 51 deaths so far this year – more than the Eastern Mediterranean Route from Turkey to Greece which, in the same period in 2016, saw 376 deaths.

The increase in numbers on the Spain to Morocco route comes after the European Union struck a deal with Ankara to stem the flow of migrants crossing from Turkey to Greece.

Following the agreement, just 7,043 made that crossing in the first five months of 2017 – compared to 156,267 in the same period last year.

While the figures, from the UN’s International Organisation for Migration, relate to sea crossings, many more refugees last year crossed into Europe by land from Turkey.

An established route between war-torn Libya and southern Italy still accounts for the majority of sea crossings with more than 58,000 making the dangerous journey in the first five months of this year. Refugees are pictured after being rescued by the Libyan coastguard last week.

There have been more than 69,000 arrivals by sea so far this year with nearly 1,700 deaths. In the same period last year, 198,346 had arrived while 2,267 had been killed making the journey
On Sunday, more than 30 migrants were rescued off the coast of Spain after their rubber speed boat caught fire, forcing them into the water in a dramatic moment caught on camera.

The video tweeted by EU border agency Frontex shows the 34 migrants travelling on board a black boat Sunday when flames suddenly erupted at the back near the engine, and rapidly spread through the small vessel.

The migrants, most of whom appeared to be wearing life jackets, jumped into the water according to images caught on camera by a Portuguese air force plane helping Frontex with maritime surveillance, which threw them a small lifeboat and notified Spanish coastguards.

Some were able to scramble onto the lifeboat while others held onto their sinking vessel, the coastguards said in a statement.

A helicopter and several boats were dispatched to the area southwest of Alboran Island between Morocco and Spain.

Tomas Garcia, a manager at the coastguard centre in Spain’s southeastern Almeria province who has 24 years experience coordinating rescues was quoted as saying in the statement that this ‘was one of the most complex’ his centre had seen.

A fisherman sailing in the area also helped in rescue efforts.

Earlier this month, about 100 African migrants stormed over a high double fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in a violent assault that left three police officers injured, officials said. Refugees are pictured attempting to cross the fence in 2014.

The migrants, whose nationalities were not disclosed, were finally taken safe and sound to the port of Motril in southern Spain.

Last week, Spain’s maritime rescue service saved 157 migrants from five small boats attempting to cross the Mediterranean.

The service completed five different rescue missions in waters east of the Strait of Gibraltar to reach the small craft from late Friday through until Saturday evening.

The service said that it reached the first boat carrying 27 men and six women late on Friday after it was sighted by a Spanish military plane. Another rescue boat intervened early Saturday to pull five men from a second boat.

A third craft in danger of sinking with 35 men aboard was then spotted by a Spanish navy outpost on the Alboran Island between Spain and Morocco. The Spanish military helped the boat dock on the island, where the migrants were picked up by the rescue service.

A fourth boat with 30 men and two women was located after the service received an alert from Moroccan authorities. The fifth boat bearing 42 men and 10 women was spotted by a Spanish navy vessel, which guided the rescue service to its whereabouts.

Earlier this month, about 100 African migrants stormed over a high double fence between Morocco and the Spanish enclave of Melilla in a violent assault that left three police officers injured, officials said.

A man swims from a life raft to a rescue vessel after a wooden boat bound for Italy carrying more than 500 people capsized on May 24 off Lampedusa, Italy.

Around 300 sub-Saharan African migrants attempted to force their way across the fence at about 7am in a coordinated operation, a Spanish police spokesman said.

‘Around 100 managed to enter Melilla,’ he told AFP.

The barrier is composed of two 20ft-high fences, with criss-crossing steel cables in between. In order to get across, migrants often use hooks and shoes studded with nails.

Three policemen were injured in clashes with the migrants, who kicked and threw rocks at the officers, Spain’s interior ministry said in a statement. One of the officers was injured in the hand by one of the hooks used by migrants and several police vehicles were damaged, it added.

Three migrants suffered bruises and small cuts in the attempt to cross the border, said a Red cross spokesman in Melilla.

Melilla and Ceuta, another Spanish enclave nearly 250 miles away on the north coast of Africa, are often used as entry points into Europe for African migrants.

They have the only two land borders between Africa and the European Union.

Thousands of migrants have attempted to cross the 7.5 mile frontier between Melilla and Morocco, or the five-mile border at Ceuta, by climbing the border fences, swimming along the coast or hiding in vehicles.

In February around 850 migrants managed to storm across the border into Ceuta over four days.

Spain announced in March that it would nearly double the capacity of its migrant reception centres in the two territories to 8,500 places from 4,500.

Spain has drawn criticism from human rights groups for allowing some migrants to be immediately turned back to Morocco in such incidents.

They argue that skipping the lengthier deportation procedures deprives people of the opportunity to claim asylum.

Morocco Elected Vice-President of UN General Assembly

The moroccan press - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 16:30

Morocco was unanimously elected on Wednesday as Vice-President of the 72nd session of the UN General Assembly, which will be held on September 2017 through September 2018.

 Morocco was appointed on behalf of the African group, along with Gabon, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe.

The election of the vice-presidents was preceded by the election of the president of the General Assembly, in the person of Miroslav Lajcak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Slovakia.

Categories: The moroccan press

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