RABAT- Morocco’s King Mohammed VI is set to celebrate his 60th birthday today (Monday) away from the public eye, as challenges abound almost a quarter century after he ascended the throne. The monarch is credited with effectively maintaining stability in a volatile region -- in part through suppressing criticism as well as modernising the economy and pursuing assertive diplomacy. But his efforts have fallen short in addressing the profound inequalities that continue to plague Moroccan society. In his latest speech on July 30, the king called for “achieving new milestones on the path of progress and creating projects of greater scope, worthy of the Moroccan people”. Since his coronation on July 23, 1999 following the death of his father Hassan II, the monarch has retained a firm grip on economic policy, foreign affairs, and defence and security in his North African nation.