By Munir K. Nasser
King Mohammed VI of Morocco urged President Clinton to help resume negotiations between Israel and Syria and assured Israel that it has “no reason to fear for its national security.”
The Moroccan monarch, speaking at a White House dinner on Tuesday, said though “there is today every reason for us to rejoice at the recent Israeli withdrawal from south Lebanon, the Kingdom of Morocco expresses the most fervent desire to see negotiations resume with Syria for the retrocession of the occupied Golan.”
He also urged Clinton to continue working on the Palestinian-Israeli track to achieve a “fair implementation of commitments made regarding the national and territorial rights for the Palestinian people, which make up the Gordian Knot of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” he stated.
The monarch called on Israel to have “no reason to fear for its national security,” and “should, with warranty from its partners, accept the idea that the peoples of the region may exist and live together in peace and dignity on the land of their common ancestors,” he added.
King Mohammed VI alluded to the extreme threats to security in the region. He said the Middle East region holds an extremely sensitive strategic position where security issues are the first priority. He particularly referred to the current situation that is “exacerbated by religious fanaticism and extremist acts of violence brought about by the retrocession of occupied Territories, the return of refugees, and the protection of the holy places,” he pointed out. “To all of these threats to security, we have to add those pertaining to water supplies and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.”
The Moroccan king, in his capacity as Chairman of the Al Quds Committee, a task he is assuming on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, stressed to his White House audience that he “will insist particularly on the status of [Jerusalem], holy for the three monotheistic religions, so that all believers can pray together full of hope to one God.”
In his welcoming remarks, President Clinton praised King Mohammed for his leadership of Morocco, and recalled the courage of his late father, King Hassan II, who "bravely opened a dialogue with Israel, paved the way for the Camp David Accords, and proved it is possible to be commander of the faithful and a bridge between faiths."
Clinton complemented the king for “showing the courage and vision to elevate Morocco as a model of openness, prosperity and inclusion.” He added “This is vital not only for Morocco, but also for people far beyond your borders. Friends of peace and tolerance are needed now, perhaps more than ever, as we approach the moment of truth in the Middle East peace process.”
Clinton announced that the United States is establishing, in honor of the late King, the King Hassan II Memorial Scholarship Program to enable students from Morocco to study in America, "and to study subjects close to the King's heart: international affairs and conflict resolution." – Albawaba.com
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)