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Saturday, July 31, 1999 Published at 04:31 GMT 05:31 UK


Excerpts from King Mohammed VI's address

Morocco's new king, Mohammed VI, has made his first national address since the death of his father, King Hassan.

The king pledged to continue Morocco's development, especially with regard to the deprived sectors of society.

He reiterated his commitment to Morocco's territorial integrity, and looked forward to a UN referendum on Western Sahara.

He stressed Morocco's membership of the Arab and Islamic worlds, and expressed hopes for a secure Middle East peace settlement.

The following are excerpts from the king's speech, broadcast by Moroccan TV on Friday.

"My dear people, at this historic moment there are mixed feelings at this first speech, with the pain of losing our inspired father when we were in desperate need of more of his giving.

"Our blessed father struggled to make you happy. He made the greatest efforts, faced the greatest difficulties and achieved great gains for you.

"We praise God that the foundations of our internal policy are clear and the only thing needed is to entrench and support them.

"Thus, we strongly adhere to the system of constitutional monarchy, political pluralism, economic liberalism, regional and decentralised policy, the establishment of the state of rights and law, preserving human rights and individual and collective liberties, protecting security and stability for everyone.

"We reiterated our commitment to complete our territorial integrity, in which the issue of our Saharan provinces is central. We look forward to the completion of the referendum of confirmation [that Western Sahara belongs to Morocco], sponsored and implemented by the United Nations.

"It is a referendum which the enemies of our national integrity have never stopped trying to foil.

"We all aim to achieve reconciliation and co-operation by overcoming the negative aspects of the present and looking forward to the future, on the basis of our rich common history, our civilisation and culture and our true religion.

"Our religion is one of moderation, openness and clemency. It calls for peace, co-existence, friendship and the protection of human rights bestowed on humans by God, human rights which have been approved by international conventions, and which Morocco was in the forefront of signing.

"We give special attention to the setting up of the Arab Maghreb Union and we are proud to belong to it and work hard to establish it on the firm pillars of brotherhood and co-operation and undertake efforts to clear the air and eliminate the causes of friction.

"Our meeting with our great friend His Excellency President Abdelaziz Bouteflika [ of Algeria] was a source of satisfaction for us and filled us with optimism and hope for the achievement of this goal in a way which will strengthen solidarity and promote stability and prosperity.

"We also hope to achieve a similar goal in the Middle East, on the basis of international legitimacy and according to the approved agreements, to allow our Palestinian brothers to live in peace and in good neighbourliness within their stable and secure state.

"If Morocco belongs the Arab and Islamic worlds, its geographical position at the top of the continent of Africa, overlooking Europe from the north and America from the west, obliges us to pursue the policy of our blessed father - characterised by openness and dialogue - by strengthening relations with our African brothers and links with our European and American friends for the benefit of our region and the whole world, within the framework of compromise, respect and the endeavour to establish security and peace.

BBC Monitoring (http://www.monitor.bbc.co.uk), based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.



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