Clinton voices confidence in Morocco's new king
Morocco-USA, Politics, 7/27/1999
US President Bill Clinton on Sunday voiced confidence in King Mohammed Ibn Al-Hassan and the will to consolidate partnership with Morocco.
"I have confidence in King Mohammed Ibn Al-Hassan," Clinton said at a meeting with the staff of the American embassy in Rabat.
Clinton was among the world leaders who attended Sunday in Rabat the funerals of the late King Hassan II, who passed away last Friday at the age of 70.
"I met with the new king and we spoke of challenges ahead," said Clinton, adding, "I told him that the late King Hassan II was part of the family and that he is now part of our family."
"The people of Morocco should know that the thoughts and prayers of the American people are with them and that our partnership can only grow stronger," he said.
The US president also paid a moving tribute to the late King Hassan II. "Today we pay tribute to the life of a wise king and a friend."
He recalled that King Hassan II has always offered wise advice to all US Presidents since John F. Kennedy.
He further stressed the unanimous tribute of all the world leaders, who flocked to Rabat united in their backing and support for Morocco.
The late King Hassan II devoted all his life to expand possibilities for the Moroccan people and for all the peoples of the region, Clinton said, adding that the late king was a "champion of tolerance."
"He showed that it is possible to promote stability and build a society open to all and to different ideas."
"The late King Hassan II was a leader of the Arab World," and "worked with a generation of great leaders, like King Hussein of Jordan, a generation that brought this region to the turning point that we now face," Clinton added.
"The opportunity for a lasting peace is now at hand," he said.
For his part, the US ambassador to Morocco, Edward Gabriel, said President Clinton's presence in Morocco, the first since President Eisenhower's visit in 1959, is an evidence of the American government's will to intensify and consolidate cooperation relations with Morocco.
"I can tell now something that I was told last month in secret and that was that the president indicated he was determined to be the first American president since President Dwight Eisenhower to visit this country," Gabriel said.
"I will also tell you a quick story, when I met with his majesty the king just Tuesday, when he was walking me out to the door, I said, 'your majesty, my country told me not to say something to you, but I cannot help myself: I am working very hard to see if we can get the president to make a visit here.' He said that it would be a good idea, and he will be the first American President to visit Morocco since President Eisenhower," the US diplomat said.
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