National Day Message by H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria

It’s a privilege for me to share with the Bulgarian people the joy of the Moroccan people, who celebrate, on July 30th, 2020, the 21rst Anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the Throne of His Glorious ancestors.

This Royal celebration, which has become a powerful symbol of the emotional ties that unite the King and the Moroccan people, is celebrated soberly and in particular way this year, due to the health crisis generated by COVID-19 pandemic, which developed into a global crisis of systemic scope with multidimensional and unprecedented socioeconomic impacts. The barrier measures implemented by several countries across the world, including Morocco, in order to contain and thwart the spread of this pandemic, led to an increased slow-down of economic activity causing colossal losses in terms of growth, job creation and poverty reduction.

Taking into account this new context, the 21rst Anniversary of the accession of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to the Throne is for me the occasion to share with you the successful experience of my country, the Kingdom of Morocco, infighting against the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I am proud to say that, in this context, Morocco has combined its human, financial, technological and industrial assets in an exemplary manner to manage the COVID-19 pandemic, by taking a series of firm and early preventive measures since March 13th, 2020. This health crisis has mobilized with fervor and generosity the Moroccan human capital and made it possible to integrate new orientations into the reflection launched by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in November, 2019 for the establishment of a new development model, such as underlined by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in his speech on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the Feast of the Throne "It is up to us to seize the opportunity to redefine the order of priorities, to lay the foundations for a strong and competitive economy and to build a more inclusive social model".

As stated on July 1rst, 2020, during the Ministerial Conference on the digital response to COVID-19 , by the Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, Mr. Nasser Bourita, Morocco’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is guided by a Royal vision based on the pillars of anticipation, proactivity, and the primacy of citizens' health, knowing that this Royal vision is implemented through an approach associating all the ministerial departments and segments of society, that was crowned with success in mastering the epidemiological situation.

Moreover, the Kingdom witnessed an exemplary surge of solidarity transcending Moroccan society across all categories. This surge of solidarity resulted, in application of the High Instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, in the creation of a Special Assignment Account entitled "Special Fund for the management of the Coronavirus pandemic "The COVID-19", with more than 3,4 billion Euros.

In this context, Morocco supports for the cost of upgrading the medical device; supports for the national economy, in particular for entrepreneurs and the liberal professions; set up the establishment of financial aid for populations affected by the loss of their economic activities. The Kingdom has also organized humanitarian repatriation for the benefit of Moroccans in vulnerable situation stranded abroad, and established various support crisis cells for their benefit, to care about people in need of accommodation, catering, and medical auscultation and medicine purchases. Morocco has supported for the burial costs of dozens of Moroccan victims of COVID-19 living abroad. Moreover, this COVID-19 pandemic has led to a remarkable sense of inventiveness and creativity demonstrated by Moroccan industries and scientists.

In this sense, His Majesty King Mohammed VI directed the government "…to initiate an ambitious economic recovery plan to allow production sectors to recover, increase their capacity to create jobs and preserve sources of income... to support the resilience of affected sectors", in order to "…preserve jobs and support the purchasing power of households left without means of subsistence", with the aim to "...not only thwart the pandemic, but also to remedy its economic and social repercussions within the framework of a global prospective vision taking advantage of the lessons learned from the current period", such as indicated by His Majesty King Mohammed VI in His aforementioned speech.

This is what motivated the government and employers to draw up sectoral recovery plans with a triple vocation. The aim is to restart the national productive apparatus on a sounder basis, to stimulate local demand by encouraging investment and local consumption and to accelerate the normalization of the economic and social environment in Morocco, because domestic demand is the main engine of growth, in this global context where the outlook for the world economy has deteriorated.

In the wake of His commitment within the framework of South-South solidarity, His Majesty King Mohammed VI ordered the dispatch to 15 sub-Saharan African countries, with massive medical aid at a time when the main international partners are too absorbed in their own challenges. This medical gift consists in 8 million masks, 900,000 visors, 600,000 charlottes, 60,000 gowns, 30,000 liters of hydro alcoholic gel, 75,000 boxes of chloroquine and 15,000 boxes of azithromycin, produced by Moroccan factories in accordance to the standards required by the World Health Organization.

I can't let this opportunity pass without talking about the cooperation between Morocco and Bulgaria that are located in a different continent, Africa and Europe, but which they are interconnected at many different levels, including in the promotion of understanding between the two countries and peoples through political, economic and cultural exchanges.

I am proud to note that relations between Morocco and Bulgaria are marked by cordiality and have evolved in a constant understanding for many years. These bilateral relations exist since September 1rst, 1961. This date corresponds to the accreditation of the 1st Ambassador of His Majesty the King to Bulgaria, with seat in Moscow.

The bonds of trust that Morocco and Bulgaria have forged, are marked by great maturity. We are pleased at this occasion to celebrate 59 years of friendship between Morocco and Bulgaria. Morocco opened an Embassy in Sofia in 1986, as part of a policy of diplomatic redeployment in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

Bulgaria and Morocco have many similarities: they are both major tourist destinations, with a rich culture and traditions that are still very much alive. They have varied cultural infrastructure and numerous monuments due to their great History and civilization. These two politically stable countries have existed for more than 12 centuries which makes of them meeting points where different cultures, cults and traditions have coexisted and live together, until today, in peace and security. Both countries have a remarkable cultural and natural heritage protected by UNESCO.

Besides the cultural aspect, the relationship between Morocco and Bulgaria should underline the economic relationship to support their attractive power in promoting tourism and foreign investment. In this direction, I put a lot of emphasis on these two sectors and on culture too, since it represents the expression of the values ​​of our nations and their collective memory.

Morocco and Bulgaria are well known for their contribution to the stability of international society through the promotion of tolerance and struggle against terrorism, radicalization, racism and all the plagues that affect "living together" in peace, security and mutual respect.

Morocco attaches great importance to the international, regional and bilateral cooperation and partnership, especially with Bulgaria, in all areas of common interest, without losing sight of the inter-civilizational relations, and protection of diverse ethno-cultural values and traditions of multiculturalism and the creation of the environment of mutual trust.

The importance attached in Morocco to inter-civilizational and interfaith dialogue is reflected by the apostolic visit of His Holiness Pope Francis in the Kingdom on March 30th and 3rst, 2019, at the invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the Commander of the Faithful. It is the second visit of a Pope to Morocco since the remarkable visit of John Paul II to the Kingdom in August 1985, following a visit by Late His Majesty King Hassan II to Rome in 1980.

This visit to Morocco, where the Catholic community represents more than 30,000 faithful, focused on interreligious dialogue and the situation of migrants, for which Morocco claims a "humanist" reception policy.

Pope Francis's visit, which was placed under the sign of interreligious dialogue, the rejection of fundamentalism and the solidarity between all believers, was a strong message, both to fight against currents of fanaticism, identity withdrawal, intolerance, but also for the positive interaction between religions, cultures, peoples and civilizations, knowing that according to the Moroccan Constitution, "Islam is the religion of the State, which guarantees the free exercise of worship for all".

It should be recalled that, during His visit to Morocco, Pope Francis said he would have liked to go to Marrakech to assist, to the process concluded on 10th December, 2018, with the adoption of the "Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration", a non-binding text, by the majority of United Nations Member States at an Intergovernmental Conference held in Morocco, followed closely by its formal endorsement by the UN General Assembly on 19th of December.

Finally, I take the opportunity of the celebration of the twenty-one years of reign of our August Sovereign, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, to pay tribute to Bulgaria for the efforts it has made to manage and contain the Coronavirus pandemic and limit its devastating effects on the Bulgarian people and economy.

Long live cooperation and partnership! Long live Morocco! Long live Bulgaria!

The photo was provided by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in Bulgaria.