In Pictures Moroccos Askaoun Under Snow

Taroudant – Light to heavy rain hit several parts of Morocco this week but Askaoun, a small mountainous village at the foot of the Atlas Mountain chain, was hit by heavy snowfall leaving the village, with its typical picturesque winter image, under a blanket of snow.Perched on the low range of the High Atlas Mountain in Morocco, the village of Askaoun, more than 2,000 meters above sea level, and about 280 kilometers far from Marrakech, was cut off the rest of the world after about 25 to 30 cm snowfall.The beauty of the snow, which covered trees, mountains and houses, stunned the villagers, who rushed to snap a couple of picturesque shots of the snowed village. Photo credit: Rachid El Hiyani and Hassan Erraji read more

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Moroccan Critic Said Yaktin Wins Sheikh Zayed Award in Arts

Abu Dhabi – Moroccan critic Said Yaktin has won the Sheikh Zayed Award in the category of “arts and critical studies”‘, the Sheikh Zayed Book Award Foundation announced Wednesday in a statement.The award, which celebrates this year its tenth anniversary, was awarded to the Moroccan intellectual for his book “the Arab literary thought: structures and formats”, published in 2014 by Difaf in Beirut, Dar Al Amane in Rabat and Al Ikhtilaf in Algeria.According to the Foundation, this book analyzes the concept of the Arabic literary thought within an approach involving arthroscopy and application. This literary work is characterized by the precision and commitment of the author in the treatment and analysis of the subject, in addition to the academic rigor and diversity of references in Arabic, French and English, and the excellence of their exploitation on many levels, as well as the richness of the approach used by the author for the critical treatment of his subject. OR.With MAP read more

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World Cup Qualifiers Morocco Settle for 00 draw in Gabon

Franceville (Gabon) – Morocco on Saturday picked up a point as they started their 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign with a null draw away to Gabon.In their first appearance in the qualifiers, Hervé Renard’s men managed a good game and should have taken the lead at the 30th minute, but Oussama Tannane’s shot went wide.Gabon replied through their forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang whose far-post header cross was brilliantly saved by Morocco’s keeper Mounir eight minutes past the hour mark. In the other Group C game, Côte d’Ivoire will take Mali late on Saturday.Morocco reached the final phase of the qualifiers after beating Equatorial Guinea 2-1 on aggregate in the preliminary round, while Gabon advanced after beating Mozambique 4-3 on penalties.The Atlas Lions will host Côte d’Ivoire in the second match day of Group C on 7 November, while Gabon will visit Mali. read more

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Burkina Faso President Hails Bilateral Relations with Morocco

Casablanca – President of Burkina Faso Roch Marc Christian Kaboré highlighted his country’s “exemplary” relations with Morocco on Wednesday at the 5th International Africa Development Forum in Casablanca.In a statement to the press upon his arrival at the Mohammed V airport in Casablanca, the President of Burkina Faso praised Morocco’s action, under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, “who decided to ensure direct investment in Africa, to provide the Kingdom’s contribution to the continent’s development in all sectors.”He also welcomed his country’s choice as the guest of honor of the 5th International Africa Development Forum, noting that Africa must take charge of its future through the development of economic activities and the sharing of experience among the countries of the continent. The Burkinabe president emphasized the importance of South-South partnerships in the continent and shared development projects, welcoming the choice of Burkino Faso as the guest of honor at the forumAccompanied by a large delegation of economic operators, Burkina Faso’s president will chair the opening of the International Africa Development Forum, to be held on March 16-17 in Casablanca.Morocco has recently enjoyed strong economic ties with Burkina Faso. Between 2003 and 2013, 8 percent of all Moroccan foreign investments were in Burkina Faso, according to the Moroccan Foreign Exchange Office, with various Moroccan banks, insurance companies, and real estate developers establishing themselves their West African neighbor.Burkina Faso has also backed Morocco’s claim to the Western Sahara. In April 2016, the Burkinabe Minister of Territorial Administration and Internal Security, Simon Compaore, told reporters, “Our stance has not changed. Everybody knows it. [The Sahara] an integral part of Morocco.” read more

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RedOne Produces Album for Rai Star Faudel

Rabat – After producing an album for Khaled, the King of Rai, Moroccan producer, RedOne, is collaborating with “the Prince of Rai,” Faudel, on his latest album.Faudel, who has been absent from the musical scene for a while, will release a new album produced by RedOne. The two artists made the announcement at a press conference on Tuesday in Casablanca.The new album, representing the fruit of two years of work, will contain more than 20 titles. Faudel promises to unveil the album’s first single to the public at the beginning of Ramadan. “All day, all Night” will be sung in Arabic, said Faudel, explaining that he is “very happy” to collaborate with a producer as “wonderful” as RedOne.Originally from Tetouan, RedOne is a producer and arranger as well as a composer. To date, he is considered to be one of music’s most popular producers.RedOne has won two Grammy Awards and three Brit Awards. His repertoire includes work with the likes of Michael Jackson, Lady Gaga, Khaled, Pitbull, Shakira, Usher, Jennifer Lopez, Enrique Iglesias, Mika and Christina Aguilera.Faudel first captured public attention with his hit song, “Tellement je t’aime,” almost 20 years ago. It continued with the collaborative project “1, 2, 3 Soleils,” with Khaled and Rachid Taha. He ended up pursuing his solo career, and released four albums in the 2000s.He suffered criticism for supporting Nicolas Sarkozy’s campaign in 2007, which lead to a dip in his fame. This collaboration with RedOne could give his career a new lease on life. read more

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Airbus to stop making struggling A380 superjumbo in 2021

TOULOUSE, France — European aviation giant Airbus says it will stop making its superjumbo A380 in 2021 after struggling to sell the world’s biggest passenger jet.Airbus said in a statement Thursday that Emirates is cutting back its orders for the plane and as a result “we have no substantial A380 backlog and hence no basis to sustain production.”The decision is a boon for rival Boeing and a blow for Airbus. Airbus had hoped the A380 would squeeze out Boeing’s 747 and revolutionize air travel as more people take to the skies.Instead, airlines have been cautious about committing to the costly plane, so huge that airports had to build new runways and modify terminals to accommodate it. The double-decker planes started flying in 2008 and seat more than 500 passengers.The Associated Press read more

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Moroccan Woman Wins Best Model of The World 2018 Title

Rabat – Iman Casablanca, 22, won the 31st Best Model of the World contest on December 7 in Istanbul, Turkey.Iman, from Mohammedia near Casablanca, had previously won the titles of “Miss FashionTV World 2015” and “Best Model of Morocco 2018.”The model, who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics, discovered her passion for modeling at a young age. Iman attracted the attention of international fashion and lifestyle experts and became the first Arab woman to win the title of Miss FashionTV World 2015 organized by the international broadcasting channel, FashionTV.Read Also: Iman Oubou Becomes First Moroccan Member of Miss Universe JuryToday, Iman is a professional model in Europe and Turkey.Other winners in the competition, held since 1987, are: Best Model of the World (man), Marco Sarra from Italy; First Runner-Up Woman, Turkan Geyik from Turkey; and First Runner-Up Man, Shakir Ahmedzade from Azerbaijan.Second Runner-up Woman and Man, Anjali Vinodya from Sri Lanka, and Ulas Ozgur Aslan from Turkey, also toook home prizes.Read Also:Ihsane Elhassani: The Moroccan Shortlisted for England Woman Lawyer of the Year read more

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Western Sahara to Be Included in EUMorocco Fisheries Deal

Rabat – Morocco and the EU issued a joint statement Friday at the end of their negotiations saying they had agreed on the content of the fisheries agreement.A diplomatic source told news outlet Yabiladi Friday morning that “a joint communiqué will be released today by the EU and the Ministry in charge to confirm the decision, which includes Morocco’s southern provinces.”The two parties agreed “to maximize the benefits for local populations in the areas concerned, while respecting the principles of sustainable management of fisheries resources and equity.” Morocco and EU committed “to take the necessary measures for the entry into force of the Fisheries Agreement and its Protocol as soon as possible, taking into account their respective procedures.”The two parties agreed to “remain in close contact… during the transition period until this enters into force.”Spain’s Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Food Luis Planas had said earlier Friday that the fisheries agreement between the EU and Morocco “has been settled on the basic aspects.”In an interview with Spanish Radio Nacional, Planas said European fishing boats would not be able to fish in Moroccan waters for “a few weeks or who knows if a few months.” The agreement could be ratified and entered into force as of September in the European Parliament, he said.Planas said he already gave instructions to compensate Spanish ship-owners and crew members during the time they cannot work, following the expiration of the previous EU-Morocco fisheries agreement on July 14.On February 27,  the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) excluded the Western Sahara territorial waters from the fisheries agreement. The ruling complicated the renegotiation of the deal, causing the previous deal, agreed in 2014, to expire before a new deal was reached.The expiration of the fisheries agreement forced EU ship-owners to leave Moroccan waters. Negotiations to renew the agreement started in April.The Moroccan government did not reveal the details of the fisheries agreement with the EU. Government Spokesperson Mustapha El Khalfi said Thursday the government would announce the agreement immediately after signing it. read more

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Extelecom execs acquitted of corruption by Swedish court

COPENHAGEN — A Sweden court has acquitted three former executives of telecoms company Telia of corruption charges involving contracts in Uzbekistan, citing lack of evidence.The charges related to alleged bribery during 2007-2010 in connection with an Uzbek partner when Telia, then known as TeliaSonera, set up business in the country. Telia Company AB also faced a forfeiture claim worth $208.5 million.Judge Tomas Zander of the Stockholm District Court said Friday said “it has not been proven that (former Uzbek president Islam Karimov’s daughter) Gulnara Karimova held any such position with connection to the telecom sector, which has been the prosecutor’s main argument.”The defendants included Lars Nyberg, CEO of the company at the time.The Associated Press read more

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South American Cartels Choose Morocco for its Proximity to Europe

Rabat – Moroccan law enforcement has confiscated thousands of kilograms of cocaine this year from South American cartels.Contacted by Spanish outlet El Pais, a specialist close to the unit combating drug trafficking in Morocco, who requested anonymity, explained that the increase in drug trafficking from South America to Morocco in 2018 is due to intensified security at the US-Mexico border since the election of Donald Trump.The specialist added that the US and European countries have sent increasing numbers of anti-narcotics specialists to Morocco. Another European researcher speaking anonymously stated that South American cartels have been using Africa as a transport point for many years to send drugs to Europe.Read Also: Casablanca Police Arrest African with 2 Kilograms of Cocaine in StomachHe said the cartels have increased their activity in recent years, and Moroccan police have been specializing in fighting cocaine.To better manage distribution, the cartels have sought to facilitate the shipping of cocaine. Drug dealers have used various methods in Morocco ranging from ingesting cocaine in capsules to using a farm for storage. Cartels also planned to build a secret runway on the outskirts of Dakhla for airplanes, but Moroccan law enforcement intervened and arrested the individuals involved in the making of the runway.The cartels use “mules” to transport cocaine. Often, mules are economically disadvantaged people from developing nations in Africa, making it hard for investigators to eliminate the top figures in drug operations.The traffickers view Morocco’s proximity to Spain as a safe route to transport their drugs.The short trip across the Strait of Gibraltar to Spain allows drug dealers to quickly access European markets and is less watched than the US-Mexico border.In the past 12 months, Moroccan police arrested 15 cocaine dealers in Temara and seized 2.5 tons, and seven individuals with a truck loaded with 1 ton of cocaine, among others.In 2017, authorities seized a total of 2,588 kilograms of cocaine. read more

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US construction spending up strong 1 per cent in January

WASHINGTON — U.S. construction spending rose a solid 1 per cent in February, led by a strong gain in spending on government projects, which hit an all-time high.The Commerce Department says the February increase followed an even larger 2.5 per cent gain in January and a slight 0.2 per cent rise in December. The gains pushed total construction to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of $1.32 trillion, the highest level since May.Residential construction was up 0.7 per cent. Government construction jumped 3.8 per cent to $303 billion, the highest level on record.Weakness in home building has been a drag on overall growth, but analysts believe housing construction should rebound this year, helped by lower mortgage rates following the signal by the Federal Reserve that it plans to hold rates steady this year.Martin Crutsinger, The Associated Press read more

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Trump threatens tariffs on Mexican cars in border fight

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is threatening to slap tariffs on cars produced in Mexico unless the country does more to stop migrants trying to enter the U.S.Trump told reporters at the White House on Thursday that if that “powerful incentive” but “less drastic measure” doesn’t work, he’ll go through with his standing threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border.The Republican president had threatened last week to close the border this week unless Mexico immediately halted “ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States.” He has since praised the country for doing more.Trump also is threatening tariffs if Mexico doesn’t halt the flow of illegal drugs across the border. And he says he’s giving Mexico “a one year warning” to comply.He says: “I’ll do it. I don’t play games”The Associated Press read more

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Brexhaustion Long grinding Brexit is stressing people out

LONDON — Job uncertainty. Visa worries. Confrontational conversations between family members or friends with opposing views on Brexit. The fatigue and stress caused by three years of heated debate over Brexit has spawned new terms: Brexhaustion or Strexit.The acrimony over Brexit, which has reached fever pitch as deadlines come and go while politicians squabble, is affecting the mental wellbeing of people across Britain.Just when some thought a conclusion could be drawn, Britain’s departure was delayed by six months at an emergency EU summit this week. Whether in favour of exit or hoping to stay, the long argument just got longer, and, for many more stressful.Danica Kirka, The Associated Press read more

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Markets Right Now Stocks fall as weak earnings offset GDP

NEW YORK — The latest on developments in financial markets (all times local):9:35 a.m.Stocks are opening lower Friday after weak earnings reports offset a report showing solid growth in the U.S. economy.The economy grew at a solid 3.2%, the Commerce Department said, compared with 2.2% in the fourth quarter.Some earnings news disappointed investors. Intel gave a cautious outlook for the full year. Its stock fell 9.3% and dragged down other chipmaker stocks.Exxon Mobil fell 2.2% after both profit and revenue came up short of Wall Street expectations.The S&P 500 index fell 4 points, or 0.2%, to 2,921.The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 44 points, or 0.2%, to 26,417. The Nasdaq fell 40 points, or 0.5%, to 8,077.Bond prices rose after the economic report. The yield on the 10 year Treasury fell to 2.49%.The Associated Press read more

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OK to smoke not to grow States wrestle with homegrown pot

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Illinois lawmakers working to legalize recreational marijuana have hit a potential snag that other states have wrestled with: whether to allow people to grow a few pot plants for personal use.The 10 states that have legalized recreational marijuana have different “home grow” rules, with Michigan allowing individuals to grow as many as 12 plants and Washington state not allowing them to grow any.The differences reflect how states view the competing arguments about home cultivation. Opponents say it fuels the black market sale of the drug. Proponents, though, argue that if businesses can sell it, they should be able to grow it. They also say people can brew beer at home and say marijuana should be no different.Michael Hill And John O’Connor, The Associated Press read more

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Barbados advocate New Yorkbased NGO win 2008 UN population award

A gender advocate and former foreign minister of Barbados and a New York-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps to save the lives of women in developing countries are the recipients of this year’s United Nations Population Award. Dame Billie Antoinette Miller and Family Care International (FCI) were chosen from among 11 individual and seven institutional nominees from around the world.The Award is given each year to individuals and institutions for their “outstanding work in population and in improving the health and welfare of individuals,” according to the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). Dame Miller, an attorney by profession, was elected Member of Parliament in 1976 and was the first woman to be named minister in Barbados, according to a news release from UNFPA. In addition to holding a numerous ministerial portfolios, including health and education, she has been promoting population and gender issues in several capacities. In 2004, she was honoured by International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region for her lifelong contributions to sexual and reproductive health. Established in New York in 1986, Family Care International has been helping to make pregnancy and childbirth safer for women in the developing world by promoting sexual and reproductive health for adolescents and by supporting safe motherhood. The organization also works to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Family Care International was a co-organizer of last October’s Women Deliver conference in London, which drew some 2,000 participants, including cabinet ministers and lawmakers from 110 countries, and produced new global commitments to maternal health. The winners were selected by the Population Award Committee, administered by UNFPA and comprising 10 Member States, elected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UNFPA’s Executive Director Thoraya Ahmed Obaid are ex-officio members of the Committee. The awards will be presented at UN Headquarters in New York on 22 May. 5 March 2008The Foreign Minister of Barbados and a New York-based non-governmental organization (NGO) that helps to save the lives of women in developing countries are the recipients of this year’s United Nations Population Award. read more

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TimorLeste Ban encouraged by progress since 2006 crisis

In late April 2006, fighting – attributed to differences between eastern and western regions – erupted when 600 striking soldiers, or one-third of the armed forces, were fired. Ensuing violence claimed dozens of lives and drove 155,000 people, 15 per cent of the total population, from their homes.In the more than two years since that crisis, Timor-Leste, which the UN shepherded to independence in 2002, has “made remarkable progress in overcoming the most visible reminders of that year,” Mr. Ban writes in his latest report on the UN mission in the country (UNMIT).Last February, President José Ramos-Horta sustained serious injuries, while Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão escaped unscathed in two separate attacks.Since those incidents, the pace of closures of camps for internally displaced persons (IDPs) has picked up and the uprooted are being reintegrated into civilian life, according to the new publication.The Secretary-General also says he is encouraged that the issues relating to rebel commander Alfredo Reinado, who was target of investigations by the UN Independent Special Commission of Inquiry for Timor-Leste regarding the 2006 violence, have been overcome.The fugitive leader was killed during the attack on Mr. Ramos-Horta last February.But Mr. Ban cautions that the stability in Timor-Leste “remains fragile,” and the underlying reasons behind the 2006 violence – poverty, urban areas with an influx of migrants, a weak judicial system and nascent security institutions – still need to be tackled.“The Government has made efforts to address these issues, but until these efforts bear fruit there is an ever-present danger that Timor-Leste’s progress towards self-sufficiency could be derailed,” he writes.Local elections scheduled to be held this year will be a test for the country, the report notes.Bolstering security institutions, shifting policing responsibilities to the Timorese Government and building up the judiciary, among other tasks, are “not necessarily about solving particular issues, but about strengthening the institutions of State and improving policy and decision-making processes marked by transparency, accountability and consultation, so that Timor-Leste can continue along the path towards self-sufficiency,” the Secretary-General says.Meanwhile, Mr. Ban’s top envoy to the country is on a two-day visit to Japan, where yesterday he met with Foreign Minister Hirofumi Nakasone.Special Representative Atul Khare and Mr. Nakasone discussed Japan’s contribution to peacekeeping and peacebuilding in Timor-Leste.The envoy will be in New York to attend the Security Council meeting on Timor-Leste, slated to take place on 19 February. 10 February 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says he is encouraged by the strides made by the leaders and people of Timor-Leste since violence shook the small Asian nation in 2006, but warned that the root causes of that crisis, including poverty and unemployment, still linger. read more

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Membership to UN ethical business initiative swells but much work still to

8 April 2009A record number of companies joined the United Nations alliance for responsible business last year, and while participants are making progress towards adopting ethical practices, the head of the UN Global Compact today stressed that significant room for improvement remains. Nearly 1,500 new businesses joined the Global Compact in 2008, a 30 per cent increase on the previous year, “reinforcing the notion that in times of economic downturn and crisis there is an increased search for ethics and sustainability,” Georg Kell, Executive Director of the Global Compact, told journalists at UN Headquarters in New York.“We also saw last year an enormous growth in emerging markets, particular in China and India. Both countries now constitute some of our largest networks,” Mr. Kell noted, as he presented the results of the initiative’s annual review.The growing number of businesses signing up to the Global Compact, which have now topped 5,000 from over 130 countries since its creation in 2000, pledge to align their practices to 10 universally accepted principles concerning human rights, labour, environmental sustainability and the fight against corruption. A key finding of the review was that the corporate world is taking non-financial matters – such as the environment, and social and governance issues – seriously and “participants don’t engage [with the Global Compact] for brand differentiation or public relations purposes,” said Mr. Kell.“Business today increasingly understands that unless you address these issues, there are very high costs and you miss out on opportunities,” he added.Mr. Kell stressed that although the annual review underscored the Compact’s positive contribution in spreading responsible business practices around the world, companies must do more to ensure that environmental, social and governance challenges are understood and properly addressed.The UN Global Compact Annual Review 2008, based on survey responses from more than 700 participating businesses in 90 countries, noted that only 30 per cent of companies with subsidiaries required their regional branches and suppliers to implement the scheme’s principles, and only nine per cent of companies with subsidiaries even considered spreading their Compact commitments beyond headquarters.“For corporate responsibility to deliver tangible results, suppliers and subsidiaries must be made part of the equation,” according to a news release issued by the Global Compact office. read more

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Georgia UN calls for probe into use of force against antiGovernment protesters

Anti-Government protests turned violent last Thursday, when police reportedly used tear gas, water cannons and rubber bullets to disperse a rally in the Georgian capital. “We fully support the call by the Georgian Public Defender (the Ombudsman) for a comprehensive, effective and impartial investigation into the actions of the police,” Rupert Colville, the spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), told reporters in Geneva.“We stress that according to international law, the use of force shall be exercised to the minimum necessary and in line with the principles of necessity and proportionality. Attacks on physical integrity involving all sides should be promptly and duly investigated,” he stated.OHCHR also called on all sides to refrain from violence and to act in line with national laws and international standards on freedom of assembly.Mr. Colville noted that the Ombudsman has compiled a list of 162 people detained in the aftermath of the protests and that many of them have injuries of various sorts sustained in the dispersal of the demonstrations. He stressed that individuals who have been arrested and detained should be afforded their rights in accordance with international human rights standards. “In particular they must receive adequate medical treatment, be free from torture and ill-treatment, know the reasons for their arrests, be able to exercise fully their right to legal counsel and the right to challenge the lawfulness of the arrest and detention,” he stated. 31 May 2011The United Nations human rights office today voiced concern about the disproportionate use of force against anti-Government protesters in Tbilisi, Georgia, last week and called for a probe into the actions of the police. read more

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Visiting UN cemetery Ban honours soldiers that fell in line of duty

30 November 2011Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today became the first United Nations chief to visit the UN Memorial Cemetery in the Republic of Korea (ROK) and pay respect to the 2,300 soldiers that died in the line of duty during the Korean War in the early 1950s. “Today we remember those who fell in freedom’s name, and we remember the families and communities that still suffer from the war’s grim legacy,” Mr. Ban said at the cemetery in Busan, which he visited during an official trip to the ROK. “More than half a century ago, they stood against communist aggression. They fought and died so that we could be here today, living in larger freedom. We shall never forget them,” he added.The UN Memorial Cemetery is the only UN cemetery in the world. In his remarks during his visit to the site Mr. Ban said it is proof that “countries and peoples of all cultures, faiths, and geographies can unite to fight for universal principles.”He called the site “a beautiful monument to the brave UN soldiers” who lost their lives, and thanked local residents who visit the cemetery each day to lay wreaths of remembrance.“As a young boy, I watched the UN blue flag fly. I knew many of the soldiers who defended my country. They were brave and they were kind,” he said. “It was the courage of soldiers from 16 peace-loving nations and the support of five others who saved Korea from tyranny and helped to bring us where we are today.”He called for renewed commitment to reuniting the Korean Peninsula “so that all Koreans can live in peace and prosperity for generations to come.” read more

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