Moroccan Ambassador Televises Diplomatic Dinner for Chinese Viewers

Rabat – The Moroccan ambassador to China, Aziz Mekouar, organized a diplomatic dinner with traditional Moroccan food at his residence in Beijing, where he invited Chinese television channel CGTN for an interview. The interview is part of CGTN’s French talk show “Un diner chez l’Ambassadeur” (A dinner at the ambassador’s), which allows viewers to meet […] The post Moroccan Ambassador Televises Diplomatic Dinner for Chinese Viewers appeared first on Morocco World News.

Moroccan Ambassador Televises Diplomatic Dinner for Chinese Viewers
Rabat – The Moroccan ambassador to China, Aziz Mekouar, organized a diplomatic dinner with traditional Moroccan food at his residence in Beijing, where he invited Chinese television channel CGTN for an interview. The interview is part of CGTN’s French talk show “Un diner chez l’Ambassadeur” (A dinner at the ambassador’s), which allows viewers to meet ambassadors of different countries in China. Next to his wife Maria Felice Mekouar, the dinner table also hosted the special Chinese representative on African affairs, Xu Jinghu, her husband who is Chinese diplomat Gao Yuchen, and Moroccan pianist Marouan Benabdellah. The meeting included discussions on several topics including relations between the two countries and Moroccan culture. The overlap of Moroccan and Chinese culture After introducing the table laden with Moroccan food, presenter Olivier Grandjean asked about the ambassador’s favorite Moroccan city, which Mekouar responded to by saying, “It can only be Fez.” “I am from Fez, I really love Fez. It is the oldest city in Morocco and you can feel it [when you visit],” said the Moroccan diplomat, adding that “I have a special attachment to this city.” Mekouar commented on the history of the Moroccan-Chinese relations, emphasizing that they date back significantly. He recalled the Moroccan traveller Ibn Battouta who came to China in the 14th century and the memories he shared in writing about the Asian country. These included the invention of bank notes and the Chinese governance system at the time. Mekouar went on to explore the significant Chinese influence on Moroccan culture that followed Ibn Battouta’s era. He said the influence is visible in the red color of the two countries’ flags, and the parasol as a symbol of power in China as well as Morocco. This referred to the parasol that covers the head of King Mohammed VI in the loyalty ceremony on July 30 of each year. Kin Mohammed VI during the Loyalty Ceremony on July 30 or every yearMekouar also cited the tea culture in Morocco and China, indicating that Morocco is China’s first tea importer. Showing the buttons on the Moroccan caftan she was wearing, Mrs. Mekouar said, “people ask me if this is Chinese. I tell them no, it’s Moroccan.” Women in Morocco After the cohort finished appetizers, servers positioned couscous on the table. Grandjean then raised the question of the role of women in Morocco. The Moroccan ambassador replied that the evolution and modernity of a country often come from women,” and went on to praise the action and potential of Moroccan women. Mekouar indicated that Morocco has made many legal advances in favor of Moroccan women, in terms of gender equality and divorce rights, thanks to King Mohammed VI. “When society evolves, things should evolve with society. Women had to have a more modern, more egalitarian status, but they found to support them, King Mohammed VI who has always estimated that the woman, who represents 50% of society, should be equal to 50% of men who occupy the other half,” he said. Religious tolerance in Morocco Further following the history of Morocco, the show’s host then spoke about the Jewish diaspora in Morocco in the times of the second world war. He recalled King Mohammed V and his unmatched protection of Jews from the anti-Semitism that ravaged Europe during World War II, from 1939 to 1945. When the Nazi-controlled Vichy government in France demanded that Mohammed V impose anti-Jewish legislation upon his people and deport the country’s 250,000 Jews to extermination camps in Europe, he famously responded, “There are no Jewish citizens, there are no Muslim citizens. They are all Moroccans.” King Mohammed V on his return to Morocco from exile in Madagascar in November 1955, with the three Rabbis of Meknes“It’s an old tradition in Morocco that you are free to practice any religion you want,” Mekouar pointed out. “The only thing that we do not accept in Morocco is proselytism.” Mekouar said a Muslim should not try to convert a Christian or a Jew and vice-versa, and said that is what allowed diverse populations to coexist in Morocco for centuries. Speaking about the Jews that King Mohammed V protected, Mekouar said that although many left Morocco for financial reasons, they also remained “extremely patriotic” and very close to Morocco in their hearts. Moroccan pianist Benabdellah intervened to confirm the ambassador’s declaration by telling a story of a 60-year-old Israeli taxi driver he met in Jerusalem. The man spoke fluent Darija although he had never been to Morocco. He knew the local dialect simply because he was born to a Moroccan-Jewish family in Israel that had maintained its Moroccan identity. Morocco and ecology Speaking about Morocco’s leading role in environmental conservation, the Moroccan diplomat stressed that King Mohammed VI has always had a sense for environmental issues. He mentioned that Morocco hosted the 2016 Conference of Parties (COP) 22, which was an opportunity to assess global measures required to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Mekouar was the chief negotiator for COP 22, which took place in Marrakech. He stressed at the occasion that Morocco is first of all African, and “we are committed to using our experience wisely–for example, in the construction of the largest solar power plant in the world … to help our neighbors to defend themselves against climatic disasters.” The ambassador highlighted sub-Saharan Africans’ main motive for immigration, which he said is climate change. He gave the example of Lake Chad, which dwindled into a “pocket-handkerchief” after it had been an “ocean.” The lake of Chad and the visible change throughout the yearsThe regions surrounding the lake had long benefited from water to irrigate their agricultural fields, as well as fishing. Now they have nothing, said Mekouar. “Regions surrounding the lake of Chad had herds that drank from the lake, while today people don’t have water to drink.” Ambassador Mekouar also highlighted Morocco’s move to ban plastic bags in 2016 under law 77-15. Cooperation amid the pandemic On April 14, Mekouar emphasized on the importance of the continuous cooperation between Rabat and Beijing in the fight against COVID-19. Mekouar remarked on Moroccan-Chinese cooperation by sharing that the Chinese government sent large shipments of medical equipment to help Morocco combat COVID-19 via four separate flights. The ambassador also highlighted the importance of the Chinese experience in the fight against the viral epidemic, emphasizing the effectiveness of Chinese authorities’ actions, particularly in sanitary isolation and social distancing.  “Chinese citizens have complied with measures taken by the authorities to preserve public health,” he said. The post Moroccan Ambassador Televises Diplomatic Dinner for Chinese Viewers appeared first on Morocco World News.