Morocco-France: Paris is "aware" of the importance of the Sahara issue in its relations with Rabat

Aware of the issues related to the Sahara issue, dependent on its future relationship with the Kingdom, France has sought to reassure on its position, while taking care of its tumultuous relations with the Algerian neighbor. Paris, whose popularity is flagging in Africa, is seeking to reposition itself again in the Maghreb, by renewing its ties with the Kingdom, a traditional partner it does not wish to lose.

The two-day visit of the French Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, to Morocco, brought fruitful exchanges and talks in a context which was marked by a cold crisis between the two countries. The head of French diplomacy, as well as her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita, announced important progress putting an end to the tension relating to the visa crisis.

The two ministers notably mentioned the Sahara issue, and on this occasion the French minister affirmed that Morocco could count on France, especially in critical periods.

For Karima Rhanem, President of the International Center for Diplomacy, “ France is aware that the Sahara is the prism through which Morocco evolves its diplomatic relations”, and to wonder if France is ready to take the step of more assertive recognition.

She points out that afterthe geopolitical changes experienced by the world, and Africa in particular, France is seeking a new repositioning in the Maghreb, especially with the trend of diversification of the multilateral partners of North African countries, mainly Morocco, and the investment of world forces in the African continent, the rise of Pan-Africanism and the redefinition of national priorities, especially after the Covid19 crisis, the issue of energy and food security“.

This repositioning sought by France, she continues, is well illustrated with the visit of the Minister of Foreign Affairs to Morocco and the Minister of the Interior to Algeria in terms of time. “Two visits which explain that France wants to play a key role in Moroccan-Algerian relations while seeking a balance in its relationship with the two countries“, she added.

Rhanem recalls that Emmanuel Macron’s visit will include economic, political and security topics and that, after the official appointment of the ambassadors of the two countries, they are expected to return to their posts before the French President’s visit.

These positions were vacant after the recall of the two ex-ambassadors due to appointment to other high-level positions, thus reinforcing a silent crisis between Rabat and Paris before the resumption of dialogue on the subjects of disagreement between the two countries.“, she says.

The president of the CID thus explains that the diversification of Morocco’s partnerships does not mean a handicap in terms of Morocco’s bilateral relations with France, noting that bilateral cooperation is predefined by a specific partnership framework.

The diversification of partnerships and the vision of investment in the African continent is as sovereign a decision of Morocco as France or another country must respect, she continues.

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