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Tuesday 17 July 2018

Spain's Relationship with Morocco 'is Strategic because of Our Friendship', King Felipe VI

Vocal synthesis
Spain's Relationship with Morocco 'is Strategic because of Our Friendship', King Felipe VI

Spain's relationship with Morocco is "strategic" because of "our friendship", HM King Felipe VI of Spain said Monday in Seville.

This relationship is strategic “not only because we are neighbours and face many common worries, challenges and threats but also because of our friendship," the Spanish sovereign underlined at the opening ceremony of the 5th World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES 2018).

"Our friendship is built from mutual trust, respect and strong cultural affinity," he added.

"I would also like to thank the Three Cultures Foundation −our hosts during this year’s WOCMES - for their dedication and hard work to make this Congress possible. The Foundation, which was created by the Kingdom of Morocco and the Regional Government of Andalusia, is an outstanding example of what Moroccans and Spaniards can achieve when we join forces to nurture our relationship," the Spanish monarch said.

"This is well reflected in the High Patronage of this Foundation that HM King Mohammed VI and I share, and also in a very visual and artistic way by this magnificent building in which we find ourselves today. It was Morocco's national pavilion at the 1992 Universal Exposition, when Seville once again opened its doors to the world, to welcome all those who came to enjoy our hospitality and diversity and to learn about our culture," he went on.

"I personally remember well how special and impressive Morocco’s contribution was then, and appreciate the efforts both countries have made all these years for it to remain as a Sevillian landmark to honour −and work for− the continuous dialogue and exchange between the diverse and vast cultures we both share, also with so many other countries in the region," the Spanish sovereign said at the ceremony, which was attended by several figures, including HM the King's advisor, André Azoulay, minister of Communication and Culture, Mohamed El Aaraj, and Morocco's ambassador to Spain, Karima Benyaich.

For his part, Azoulay, Deputy Chairman of the Three Cultures of the Mediterranean Foundation, emphasized in his speech the "outstanding Character" of this edition of the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies.

"First of all because we are gathered in the heart of Andalusia, and that the words of dialogue, of otherness and of diversity here have a resonance that brings us back to what Paul Valéry wrote a long time ago, to tell us that, whatever the vagaries of history or the moment might be, the Mediterranean has been and will remain forever the privileged space where civilization is made and built," Azoulay added.

HM the King's advisor called for a dialogue and a conviviality "forged by the knowledge and respect for all our histories and the richness of all their diversity".

For his part, Nassir Abdulaziz Al Nasser, High Representative of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations, lauded Morocco's efforts and the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, "a visionary Head of State who promoted the values of peace and works for dialogue among civilizations".

The 5th World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES 2018), held on July 16-20 in Seville, brings together 3,000 researchers and academics from more than 100 countries.

The World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies (WOCMES) is held every four years and gathers the most distinguished experts in the field to publicise and share their research.

Under the slogan ‘Your roots. Your heritage. Knowledge that unites’, this Congress pays special attention to the common values that transcend different cultures, offering a stimulating space for research, reflection and debate.

MAP 17 July 2018