King Mohammed, President Chirac dedicate Mohammed V Square in Paris
Morocco-France, Politics, 12/21/2002
Morocco's King Mohammed VI and President Jacques Chirac of France officially dedicated this Friday in Paris the Mohammed V Square in memory of the Late King Mohammed V, Grand-Father of King Mohammed VI.
Upon arrival to the venue of the ceremony, the king was greeted by President Chirac, his wife Mrs. Bernadette Chirac, Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe and President of the Arab World Institute, Denis Bauchard.
The "solemn homage of Paris to H.M Mohammed V helps France as a whole to celebrate the memory as well as the political and religious action of this enlightened king," said the Paris Mayor.
"It is in the very heart of Paris that the Mohammed V Square is located, near the Arab World Institute, a space of life and openness, dedicated to exchange and to the meeting of cultures," he said, adding that the dedication of the square is "a tangible testimony to the role and influence of Moroccan men and women living in Paris."
"On behalf of the population of Paris, I laud, with a real gratitude and an immense respect, the memory and destiny of an exceptional king," he said.
King Mohammed VI and President Chirac then unveiled the plate commemorating the memory of the great King Mohammed V.
After the national anthems were heard, President Chirac made a speech wherein he said "on August 20, 1953, the French Government divided and abused, let depose the legitimate King of a friendly country."
"Several voices were raised against this coup de force, among which, that of a minister, namely my predecessor, President Francois Mitterand," said Chirac for whom the late King Mohammed V, by going to exile in Madagascar (É) gained an immense stature, both moral and political. No matter how far from his country he was, the Late King Mohammed V was present in the hearts of all Moroccans. He became the symbol of a nation."
"On many an occasion, the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of France have marked their recent history with the stamp of uniqueness," said King Mohammed VI in a speech on the occasion of the dedication in Paris of the Mohammed V Square.
"This uniqueness of which we are so proud, has always characterised our attitude in all instances where liberties and rights were at risk or in jeopardy. whether on the battle fields during World War One, or during the fight to repel the onslaught of Nazism and Fascism on the world, or more recently, when it was necessary to take action in Africa, Bosnia and elsewhere to protect people from the scourges of oppression and discrimination," he said.
The king paid tribute to his Grandfather, the late King Mohammed V, that France today honours with the dedication of a Square carrying his name in the very heart of Paris.
"As I stand beside you this morning to inaugurate the Mohammed V Square, which is so close to Notre Dame Cathedral, to the Arab World Institute and barely a few hundred yards from the Paris Mosque, my primary wish at this very moment is for my late Grandfather, His Majesty King Mohammed V, may God bless his soul, to be remembered for his commitment to the universal ideals of human rights that I have just mentioned, and to the struggle to uphold justice and to protect human dignity," said King Mohammed VI.
The exceptional feature of Moroccan-French relations "reflects an intellectual and human closeness, so strong, so deep that it shows what "the art of the possible" is," said the king, adding this feature further illustrates what "the art of the best" means, especially in a period marked by the resurgence and the exacerbation of old fears which are reminiscent of an epoch long since gone and which belong to a world so alien to the cultural and spiritual ground upon which the Moroccans and the French have elected to build together their respective destiny.
King Mohammed VI recalled General de Gaulle's decision to make of the late King Mohammed V, along with Churchill, Eisenhower and few other foreigners, a full-fledged member of the Order of the Liberation Companions.
"By inaugurating the Mohammed V Square in Paris, we are not merely paying a debt of duty to his (King Mohammed V's) memory," he said, adding "our duty is also to remember the liberator of the Moroccan nation, the pioneer of African independence movements and the architect of modern Morocco which stands united, free and independent."
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