Here follows the official translation of the King’s speech on the occasion of the 48th anniversary of the Green March.
“Praise be to God,May peace and blessings be upon the Prophet, His Kith and Kin
The Green March, of which we are celebrating the treasured anniversary today, enabled us to complete our territorial integrity.
In keeping with the everlasting oath of that glorious event, we have continued to press ahead with our development and modernization policies, in order to serve our citizens and make the best use of the assets abounding in the country, especially in the Moroccan Sahara.
The recovery of our southern provinces allowed us to underscore more effectively the importance of the Kingdom’s Atlantic dimension.
Thanks to the dedication of our diplomatic service, we have managed to strengthen Morocco’s position, increase international support for our territorial integrity, and face up to the maneuvers of our adversaries – the obvious as well as the concealed ones.
Just as the Mediterranean links Morocco to Europe, the Atlantic coast is our gateway to Africa and the Americas.
Hence my keen desire to rehabilitate our national coastline, including the part in the Moroccan Sahara region bordering the Atlantic, and re-engineer this geopolitical space at the African level.
My goal is to transform the Atlantic region into a space for human interaction and economic integration, and to make sure it plays a key role at continental and international levels.
For this reason, I seek to make sure that the major projects launched in our southern provinces are completed, and that the services and infrastructure relating to human and economic development are in place.
Another goal is to facilitate connectivity between the different countries bordering the Atlantic, provide for means of transportation, build logistics platforms and consider the development of a strong, competitive national commercial marine fleet.
To keep pace with the economic progress and urban expansion witnessed in Moroccan Saharan cities, we need to pursue our efforts to develop a maritime economy that contributes to prosperity in the region and serves its inhabitants.
It should be an integrated economy based on the development of exploration for offshore natural resources and the promotion of investment in marine fishing, in addition to seawater desalination to encourage agricultural activities, promote the blue economy and support the renewable energy agenda.
I am also calling for the adoption of a strategy for the promotion of tourism in the Atlantic region, making good use of the many assets available there to turn it into a prime destination for beach and Saharan tourism.
A stable and credible country, Morocco is keenly aware of the stakes and challenges for African countries in general, and those bordering the Atlantic in particular.
The region along the Atlantic coast suffers from a significant deficit in infrastructure and investment, despite skilled human capital and abundant natural resources.
With that in mind, we have been working with African sister nations and with our partners to come up with practical and effective answers to this situation within the framework of international cooperation.
The Morocco-Nigeria gas pipeline strategic project is part of that endeavor.
This project is designed to promote regional integration, boost joint economic growth and serve development objectives in the countries bordering the Atlantic. It will also guarantee energy supplies for European countries.
It was that same policy which prompted Morocco to launch an initiative for the creation of an institutional framework that brings together the twenty-three African countries bordering the Atlantic. The aim is to promote security, stability and shared prosperity.
The problems and difficulties facing African sister countries in the Sahel region will not be solved by security and military measures alone, but rather by an approach based on cooperation and shared development.
I therefore suggest that we launch an international initiative to enable the Sahel countries to have access to the Atlantic Ocean.
The success of such an initiative, however, hinges on upgrading infrastructure in the Sahel countries and seeking to connect it to transport and communication networks existing in the region.
Morocco is willing to put its road, port and rail infrastructure at the disposal of these sister countries, since we believe that such an initiative will bring about a fundamental transformation not only in the economies of these countries, but also in the entire region.
On a previous occasion, I referred to seriousness and to the spiritual, national and social values characterizing the Moroccan nation in a world affected by countless fluctuations and disruptions.
The Green March was an embodiment of these time-honored values, namely those of sacrifice, loyalty and patriotism. They enabled our country to liberate its land and achieve full sovereignty over it.
When I mentioned seriousness, it was to be perceived not so much as a reproach but as an encouragement to press ahead with our action, to complete the implementation of the projects and reforms started, and to rise to the challenges facing our nation. This is how everyone understood that message. It was also widely embraced by all segments of society.
Ours is an integrated value system, which has enabled us to consolidate our accomplishments in various sectors, particularly with respect to promoting development in our southern provinces and consecrating the Moroccanness of those territories within the international community.
By the grace of the Almighty, many countries have recognized that the Sahara is Moroccan, and many other influential nations have said that the Autonomy Initiative is the only solution for the settlement of this artificial regional dispute.
The values of solidarity, cooperation and openness, which characterize Morocco, have also contributed to strengthening our country’s role as well its status as a key player and as a reliable, credible economic and political partner at the regional and international levels, particularly with Arab and African sister nations.
I should like to take the opportunity of commemorating the anniversary of this glorious event to reiterate our commitment to the values of the Green March as well as our pledge to remain faithful to its everlasting oath.
I also wish to commend the Royal Armed Forces, the security forces, the local governments and all the stakeholders concerned – inside and outside the country – for defending the legitimate rights of the homeland.
It is also with deep appreciation and reverence that I would like to honor the memory of the architect of the Green March, my venerable father, His late Majesty King Hassan II – may God bless his soul – as well as all the righteous martyrs of our homeland.
Wassalamu alaikum warahmatullah wabarakatuh.”