Towards a thaw of the Rabat-Paris axis?

We expected it from one day to the next, even from one week to the next. When would come the political signal that would put an end to this long diplomatic silence between Rabat and Paris. Silence so thick, so persistent that it questions the evolution of the relationship between Morocco and France, on both sides, with a lot of fears and uncertainties.

Then came this swallow which undoubtedly announces a spring in the Paris-Rabat axis, which has suffered for many months from an absolute freeze in its dynamics. The information therefore had the effect of real ‘breaking news’ in circles following the icy relationship between Rabat and Paris.

This is the phone call between the King of Morocco, Mohammed VI and the French President, Emmanuel Macron, this November first and which would have lasted half an hour. Neither confirmed nor invalidated, the silence of the two capitals is signed with approval.

And for good reason, in recent months the relationship between the two countries has experienced a worrying drought. The political dialogue between the two Moroccan and French authorities has never been so low. A scarcity of official visits which revealed a certain distance, a gigantic sulk without apparent explanation.

Two great allies who no longer speak to each other and no longer communicate officially. Until reaching an unreal, alarming situation, that of not having ambassadors. As if they were two countries in disguised rupture: One, Hélène Le Gal left Morocco due to end of mandate, and the other, Mohamed Benchaaboune, called to chair the Mohammed VI Fund for Investment.

Even if this situation is more of a diplomatic coincidence than a well-considered strategy, it exposes public opinion to the distressing spectacle of a deaf rupture between two countries that a strategic partnership is supposed to bind against winds and tides.

And this anger has been going on for months. It took on aspects of popular indignation when Moroccans demonstrated, at least on social networks, their anger and bitterness at the weapon of visas raised against them as the supreme French sanction. French soft power has taken quite a blow in a country where the French language, the relationship to French culture, is an integral part of Moroccan diversity.

It is the sum of all these fears and other anxieties that the phone call between Mohammed VI and Emmanuel Macron came to positively shake up. Upon his return from Algiers, Emmanuel Macron announced his intention to go to Morocco. The intention was as laudable as the method, in the street answering a question on social networks, was open to criticism.

The visit did not take place at the end of October as wished by Macron, the Moroccans having undoubtedly judged that the stakes are so high that they cannot tolerate improvisation or approximations.

Hence this telephone contact between the two Heads of State whose primary function, one imagines, is to determine the framework and the strategic depth of such a visit. Because it seems clear to everyone that if there should be a visit, it’s not just for a sunny photo under the azure blue sky of Rabat, but to record a new dynamic between France and Morocco.

And in this particular context, Moroccan demands can be summed up today in a single point: That Paris recognize Morocco’s full and entire sovereignty over its Sahara, as the United States of America has done. It is true that contrary to what some hostile circles hoped, France did not give in to Algerian blackmail and voted for resolution 2654 which supports the Moroccan solution of autonomy to put an end to the Sahara conflict between Morocco and Algeria.

Morocco knows that with the official and assumed French recognition of the Moroccanity of the Sahara, the whole European edifice will follow in this logic and thus allow the absolute triumph of Moroccan diplomacy in its attempts to definitively close this conflict. .

Paris still has a capacity to influence and drive that some, blinded by their affect, want to deny it wrongly.

The blowback in relations between France and Morocco, the revival of their partnership that the future visit of Emmanuel Macron can embody is a matter serious enough, and sufficiently structuring to be left to groups or lobbying personalities. . The direct contact between the two heads of state is the only one capable of guaranteeing its credibility, its effectiveness and its revival. They alone are likely to have a language of truth and a capacity to burst the abscesses which paralyze the dynamics of their cooperation.

This explains the wind of optimism currently blowing on the Paris-Rabat axis. The relationship between the two countries has reached a historic turning point where France must move the lines of its diplomacy in order to be able to unlock its ties with Morocco. The time of chiaroscuro, of the gray zone, sometimes of double discourse, is over.

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