Morocco. According to CountryAAH, major public holidays in Morocco include Independence Day (November 18) and New Year (January 1). Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero visited Spanish enclaves Melilla and Ceuta on Morocco’s north coast on January 31. It was the first official visit of a Spanish leader in 25 years. The enclaves came into focus in the fall of 2005 when hundreds of African refugees tried to storm the security fences built against Morocco.
In May, the EU and Morocco signed a four-year fisheries agreement, including extensive waters belonging to Western Sahara that Morocco annexed in 1975. As the only EU country, Sweden voted against the agreement with reference to the occupation of Western Sahara.
Morocco hosted a conference on July 7-8 on how to reduce the flow of African refugees to Europe. Many die during the flight. Some 60 African and European countries and organizations participated, but not Morocco’s regional rival Algeria. A few days before the conference was inaugurated, three people were reported to have died trying to cross the six-meter-high barbed wire fence to Melilla.
King Muhammad VI appointed Chakib Benmoussa as new Minister of the Interior in February. Mustafa Sahel, who has held the post since November 2002, was appointed UN ambassador.
Chinese President Hu Jintao visited Morocco in April and signed agreements on, among other things. trade, tourism and culture.
In May and June, attacks against Islamist opposition in different cities were reported. Hundreds were arrested but released after some time. The majority were said to belong to al-Adl was al-Ihsan, who wants to introduce Sharia law but abstains from violence. The group is not recognized as a political party.
Several serious bus accidents occurred during the year. Three Swedish tourists were seriously injured in February when a tourist bus on the road to Marrakech drove off a road and overturned about 16 miles outside Agadir. In December, twelve tourists, including a Swedish man living in France, were killed when a tourist bus collided with a truck on the main road between Casablanca and Marrakech. In September, twelve people were killed when a bus crashed into a ravine near Tiznit, 70 miles southwest of Rabat. In January, 23 people were killed and around 60 injured when two buses collided near Marrakech.