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The Three Glorious days symbolizing the triumph of the will of the Throne and the people in the national struggle for freedom, independence, unity and territorial integrity

People from towns and villages in Bulgaria call her the "true" Ambassador. Probably because H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui is not only a Head of mission sitting in her office littered with papers, but because she is also a person who does not hesitate to go among our people to present her beautiful, romantic and colorful country - The Kingdom of Morocco. Wherever this extraordinary Moroccan person appears - in Sofia, Plovdiv, Blagoevgrad, Tryavna, Chepelare or in villages such as Momchilovtsi, Borino, Banite... she wins everyone’s heart with her warm smile and sincere cordiality, with her wide erudition and diplomatic competence. And everywhere, people flock around her to talk, take pictures, share impressions of their travels in Morocco. Or just to enjoy the exotic touch of the dream country that came to them, thanks to this "true" ambassador.

E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui was born in 1956 in Tisa, Taounat Province. She graduated Economics and Accounting from the Technical high school for Girls of Oran. She has a Bachelor’s degree in financial and commercial sciences from the Superior School of Commerce of Algiers and a Diploma in marketing, distribution and market studies from the same Superior school.

In terms of administrative career, H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui has achieved it gradually. She began working in 1981 as a member of the cabinet of the Minister of State for Post and Telecommunications, and later served as a cabinet member of the Minister for Cooperation, member of the Office of the Secretary General of the Arab-African Union. Then, she became Counselor to the Human resources Department and the Budget of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation; Officer-in-charge of Social issues with global nature to UNO Directorate and the International Organizations; Counselor to the Permanent Mission of Morocco in Geneva. From 2000 to 2002, she was Chargé d’affaires and Deputy Head of Mission of the Kingdom of Morocco in Geneva and others.

From 2009 to 2016, she was Director of the Multilateral Cooperation and the International Economic Affairs to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation and Minister Plenipotentiary.

On November 24, 2016, she presented her credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria. We met with her just before the Moroccan three glorious days celebrated in November to learn more about them, as well as about her accomplishments as an ambassador to our country.

- Your Excellency, in November the Kingdom of Morocco will celebrate for the 64th time the Three Glorious - the Return of King Mohammed V from exile, the Feast of the Renaissance and of the Feast of Independence. What do they mean to His Majesty the King Mohammed VI and to the Moroccan people?

- His Majesty the King Mohammed VI, the Moroccan people and the family of the Resistance and the Liberation Army commemorate for three days, from November 16 to 18, 2019, with pride the 64th anniversary of the Three Glorious, namely the feast of the Return of His Majesty the King Mohammed V from Exile, the feast of the Renaissance and the Independence Day, symbolizing the triumph of the will of the Throne and the people in the national struggle for freedom, independence, unity and territorial integrity.

November 18 is the Independence Day. Moroccans commemorate the end of the French Protectorate and the advent of "modern" Morocco. Our late Sultan, His Majesty Mohammed V, forced into exile, returned to Morocco on November 16, 1955 where he was greeted triumphantly by His people. November 18, 1955, he pronounced the Speech from the Throne, which sealed the entry of Morocco in its modern era, under the seal of independence and democracy.

November 18 is also the day when the Throne Day was officially celebrated for the first time on November 18, 1934, on the occasion of the 7th anniversary of His Majesty King Mohammed V. Today, the Throne Day is celebrated on July 30, when His Majesty King Mohammed VI was inducted 20 years ago.

- How will you celebrate them in Bulgaria?

- The Embassy will commemorate the Three Glorious days in two parts. On November 14, in collaboration with the Kazanlak Ombudsman, Mrs. Ginka Shtereva, and the Spectrum 21st Century Association, the Moroccan Embassy in Bulgaria will organize the Moroccan cultural days at Kazanlak.

The wonders of Morocco will be presented at an exhibition of photos and posters in Kazanlak. From the desert to the ocean, from sand to snow, from mountains to plains, from camel camps to crowded megacities, from the 9th to the 21st century, that's Morocco, or as it's still called the "Pearl of Africa".

A Kingdom that has preserved an authentic and varied craftsmanship, some of which will be presented at Kazanlak’s exhibition of leather goods, wood, pottery, copper, wax, textile, etc... This will be accompanied by a tea ceremony with mint and Moroccan typical pastry.

The Moroccan cultural days will also be an opportunity for the inhabitants of Kazanlak and its surrounding regions to taste Moroccan cuisine, full of intriguing combinations of aromas. All the splendor of Morocco will be presented by young high school girls from Kazanlak, during a parade of kaftans; a traditional Moroccan dress, which has always fascinated the West.

The second part of the celebration of the Three Glorious will be held in Sofia. On the 18th of November, which coincides with our Independence Day, the Moroccan Embassy will organize a concert at Bulgaria Hall, with the famous "New Symphony Orchestra", because as Ambassador of Morocco, I am the Patron of Honor of this Orchestra for the musical season 2019-2020.

- As Ambassador, you do highlight cultural diplomacy. Do you believe that the exchange of cultural values does bring people closer?

- I am convinced that where politics divides people culture could bring them together. That why as part of its cultural policy and thanks to the dynamic impetus given by His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Morocco is a leader in communication, cultural and intellectual interaction between nations and communities. The aim is to strengthen understanding between different cultures, regardless of race, color, ethnicity and religion. It is also an effective means of bridging the gap between cultures and peoples and an important factor in establishing peace, security and stability.

Since every nation is proud of its past and its unique cultural heritage, I believe that cultural exchanges enrich the social and cultural life of nations and strengthen mutual respect and friendship between peoples.

As Ambassador of His Majesty the King Mohammed VI to the Republic of Bulgaria, I am convinced that dialogue among civilizations is the most effective means of preventing wars, conflicts, radicalism, extremism and terrorism away from false pretexts and unjust prejudices. Intercultural dialogue is the correct approach that must prevail between civilizations in a climate of mutual understanding, coexistence, tolerance, justice and equality.

- During the past years, many attempts were made to strengthen the trade and economic relations between our countries - many sessions of the Bulgarian-Moroccan Joint Intergovernmental Commission for Economic, Industrial, Trade and Cultural Cooperation were held, relying on the Bulgarian-Moroccan Joint Business Council, and despite of all this, they are still not at the right level. What about their situation today?

- Beyond the excellent political and friendly relations between our two countries, we must recognize that the volume of bilateral trade exchange, indeed growing every year, remains below the expectations of both countries.

As you already know, after the visit of the Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs to Sofia and that of the Bulgarian Prime Minister to Morocco at the head of a large delegation of businessmen, as well as the signing last March of a Memorandum of Understanding on the creation of a mixed chamber of commerce and industry, Bulgaria and Morocco now wish to reinvigorate their cooperation through concrete initiatives. In this sense, preparations for an economic and investment mission to Morocco are being finalized both in Rabat and Sofia. This economic mission initiated by this Embassy and by the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, is scheduled for the second half of January 2020 and will be composed of a large number of Bulgarian businessman and investors representing several sectors including the banking sector, tourism, fishing, agriculture and many others. A Moroccan economic mission to Sofia will certainly follow.

- Do you expect that the new attempt in this direction - the newly established Bulgarian-Moroccan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry will intensify trade between Bulgaria and Morocco?

- Indeed, an agreement to establish the Morocco-Bulgaria Joint Chamber of Commerce was recently signed in Sofia at the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The agreement was initialed by the Vice President of the Association of Moroccan Exporters (ASMEX), Mohammed H'midouche, and the chairman of the Bulgarian Committee of the Morocco-Bulgaria Mixed Chamber of Commerce, Asparuh Karastoyanov. The signing ceremony took place in my presence and the presence of the President of the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Tsvetan Simeonov, as well as the Bulgarian business men representing different sectors of activity.

I am convinced that the Morocco-Bulgaria Mixed Chamber of Commerce will contribute to develop and strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations, between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Republic of Bulgaria. The Bulgarian private sector can benefit from the Moroccan strategy of diversification of economic partners and from the various economic reforms and especially the sectoral strategies, launched under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, which have allowed Morocco to position itself as a platform for investors in Africa and in the Arab world.

- Our diplomatic relations were established in 1961 when the first Moroccan ambassador to Sofia was accredited, with residence in Moscow. The first Moroccan Ambassador accredited with residence in Sofia was in April 10, 1986. In 1962 Bulgaria opened an embassy in Rabat. What are they at the present time the high level visits?

- Indeed, the excellent bilateral relationship between our already friendly countries, will celebrate in 2021 the 50th anniversary.

Economic and trade relations were, by the way, the main subject of discussions between the Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Cooperation and Moroccans Residing Abroad, H. E. Mr. Nasser Bourita, and the Bulgarians officials he met during his visit to Sofia in September 2018.

If there were one issue both sides agreed upon during this visit, it would be the necessity to enhance economic ties between our two countries in all fields such as trade, investment or triangular cooperation. Morocco as an important regional hub being today the right partner for Bulgaria to reach African markets, using the excellent position of the Kingdom in Africa, and Bulgaria being for Morocco a cornerstone to access the Balkan markets. 

And here, we cannot only highly appreciate the reactiveness and the sincere willingness of the Bulgarian government to develop its bilateral relations with Morocco, through the decision of H. E. the Prime Minister, Boyko Borissov, to carry out an official visit to Morocco on November 2018. He discussed with his Moroccan counterpart all issues that would promote bilateral partnership, in general, and economic relations, in particular. Furthermore, H. E. the Prime Minister Boyko Borissov was accompanied during his visit to Rabat, by an important business delegation, which took part in the Morocco-Bulgaria economic Forum, that was organized on this occasion. The Prime Minister was also accompanied by Mrs. Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy prime minister for judicial reform and minister of foreign affairs, the Minister of economy and the Minister of Labor and Social Policy. The latter has signed with his Moroccan counterpart a bilateral convention to protect the social rights of Bulgarian and Moroccan working in both countries.

- What are the priorities of the Moroccan diplomacy at the international and regional levels?

- During the 20 years since his reign, His Majesty King Mohammed VI, who   has a leading responsibility in the defense and consolidation of the Kingdom's higher interests (including territorial integrity) at the regional and international levels, has set up a new diplomacy that is focused on balance and on the principle of an irreversible commitment for major causes, global issues, solidarity and South-South cooperation for mentioning only these aspects. Moroccan diplomacy, which sins with a concern for constructive wisdom, is inspired by pragmatism and common sense. It is diplomacy of challenges constantly seeking innovation and creativity, with the ultimate goal of contributing to peace, security, stability and to sustainable development at the national, regional and international levels.

The fundamentals have not changed, they are based on the principles of the United Nations Charter of 1945 as well as the strategic axes for the insertion of Morocco in the international community: peace, stability, cooperation. Since its independence, Morocco has not departed from this corpus: it has not attacked anyone; he respected the independence and sovereignty of other States, did not interfere in their internal affairs; he actively participated in all peacekeeping operations under the aegis of the Helmets UN blueprints.

- What are the recent developments of the Sahara issue, which is so important to Moroccans?

- Regarding the territorial integrity of Morocco, the autonomy plan presented by the kingdom concerning the Moroccan Sahara has scored points within the African Union, as well as on the international scene.

On February 12, 2019, the European Parliament voted by a large majority on the fisheries agreement between the European Union and Morocco. A month before, it was the agricultural agreement that was signed on January 14th. These two votes sanction all the maneuvers carried out by the separatists in an attempt to block both agreements and thus undermine the full sovereignty of Morocco on its recovered Saharan provinces. These agreements also consolidate the logical and natural continuity of the Morocco-EU partnership. Thus, sovereignty of Morocco on its natural resources is again validated and legitimized by the European Union and its Member States. Formally and explicitly, these two agreements consider the Sahara as a region under Moroccan sovereignty.

On the historical level and concerning the Moroccan Sahara, I would like to remind that the Green March, which mobilized 350,000 Moroccans, armed with their faith and the righteousness of their just cause, is an event of great historical significance, having given rise to an unparalleled patriotic impetus for the completion of the territorial unit of the Kingdom and the recovery of its Saharan provinces in November 6, 1975. This great event that is celebrated every year, will commemorate in November 2019 its 44th anniversary.

- Recently, you’ve become the chairman of the Group of Francophone Ambassadors in Bulgaria. What do you plan to do in this regard with your francophone colleagues?

- As President of the Francophone Ambassadors Group in Bulgaria, I took on October 28, 2019 part in a round table on "Academic Francophonie: Bulgarian, regional and international perspectives". This round table was organized by the Francophonie High School for Administration and Management (ESFAM) at the New Bulgarian University.

Just recently, at the Residence of Morocco, I hosted a luncheon in honor of the new Ambassador of France, H. E. Mrs. Florence Robine, during which the Group had the opportunity to discuss about the preparatory process for the month and the international Francophonie day, especially since 2020 will coincide with the 50th anniversary of the creation of the International Organization of La Francophonie.

Besides, a meeting is also planned on 18th of this month, at the Residence of Switzerland to continue our discussions in this area; specially to identify the activities that the Group should organize to commemorate these two events, knowing that the 50th anniversary mentioned above will be a key event for the Group in Bulgaria!

Photos provided by the Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco in the Republic of Bulgaria and "Diplomatic Spectrum".

First line:
1. H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco to the Republic of Bulgaria, at the cultural event "Show the tradition! Give a celebration!", implemented in collaboration with the Spectrum 21st Century Association and the Union of Bulgarian Journalists, and featuring the national women's costumes of Morocco and Bulgaria. Residence of the Kingdom of Morocco in Sofia, November 16, 2017
2. "Meeting with the beauty of Morocco" in Tryavna, under the honorary patronage of His Majesty Tsar Simeon II, May 5, 2018.
3. Moroccan Culture Day in Madan, April 29, 2018
4. The Soleil Festival in Sozopol. Her Excellency Receives Best Participation Trophy and Diplome, June 2018

Second line:
5. The eleventh edition of the biggest wedding exhibition in Bulgaria - Balkanica Wedding & Honeymoon Expo 2019, for the first time passed with a foreign accent. The Embassy of the Kingdom of Morocco presented wedding customs in their country and the bride's clothing, January 19-20, 2019, Sofia Hotel Balkan
6. Todorov day in Momchilovtsi held under the honorable patronage of H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, March 16, 2019
7. At the Regional Ethnographic Museum - Plovdiv, residents and guests of the city - European Capital of Culture 2019, had the opportunity to experience the rich and diverse culture of the Kingdom of Morocco, April 16, 2019.
8. H. E. Mrs. Zakia El Midaoui, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Kingdom of Morocco, and her spouse Mr. Chaib Lalouh at a reception on the occasion of the National Day of the Kingdom of Morocco, July 30, 2019