I hope that this virus changes the world for the better.
Rabat – Just one short month ago I was happily planning a whole range of commercial and cultural activities including a Fin Tech business delegation visit to Morocco, a food and agricultural produce export delegation to the UK, a British Army Veterans endurance horse race in Essaouira, and international beach volleyball tournament and, of course, preparation for the British participation as the guest of honour at SIAM.
And now, one month later, the whole Embassy works from home. I have not seen any of my colleagues face-to-face for nearly 3 weeks. We speak every day on the phone, of course and we send each other WhatsApp messages and emails. But that is not quite the same as being able to nip into each other’s offices, to say hello, exchange news and to hear how each other’s families are getting on.
And it is very odd trying to run an Embassy virtually and from home.
Because that is what we are doing. The importance of maintaining and enhancing the bilateral relationship between the UK and Morocco has never been clearer to me. This virus respects no frontiers. It does not respect nationality. It treats rich and poor, men and women the same. The only way we will defeat this virus is by creating and maintaining strong relations with our partners and through intensive international cooperation to research and develop a vaccine and a cure.
I hope that this virus changes the world for the better. When we come out of this, we will need to rebuild. Economies will have been flattened. Countries will need help. We will need to revitalise international institutions from the UN to the World Bank.
But the virus will also have taught us to place a real value on those things society most needs: investment in our health and education systems. And we will have learnt again the importance of the values that have so impressed me amongst the Moroccan community here: solidarity, a real sense of togetherness in the face of an implacable foe. Solidarity and quiet, determined courage.
So while the British Embassy is #stayingathome and working remotely and observing the Moroccan Government’s very sensible lockdown regulations, we continue the vital and important work of building the bridges between the UK and Morocco and strengthening our bilateral relationship, so that when we emerge from this crisis we emerge stronger together.”
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