Akhannouch invites France to "play a more important role"

Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch gave his first interview to foreign media before flying to the Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland. In this interview, he notably invited France to play a more important role in the Sahara issue.

Relations between Morocco and France are still not at their best and the embarrassment is still palpable. The visit to Rabat by the French Minister for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, did not calm the existing tensions on the Sahara file, the “prism through which Morocco looks at the world”, according to the formula used by King Mohammed VI.

This new reality, in which Morocco is assertive and does not compromise its number one national cause, is the one put forward by Moroccan diplomacy, which is rebalancing its relations with its partners on greater clarity.

If the head of Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita, has already spoken about it on several occasions, this was not the case for the head of government, Aziz Akhannouch, who had not taken such an open and frank position to directly name the France.

In his first interview given to a foreign media since his party’s election to the legislative elections in 2021, Aziz Akhannouch chose to answer questions to the French daily, Opinionand to extend an invitation to France.

“There are major developments in the recognition by the great powers of Morocco’s sovereignty in our southern provinces. Paris should not just be an observer,” he estimated, inviting France to play an important role in this dossier in the new geopolitical environment surrounding the Sahara issue.

Aziz Akhannouch also pointed out that relations between Morocco and France are expected to develop further on the economic side.

France, which has so far been the first to support the Moroccan autonomy plan, is now overwhelmed by the developments in the file. Morocco has already reached out to it to once again take the position of first support of the Kingdom in its national cause and confirm its position as a privileged friendly country.

France’s position on the autonomy plan is favorable to Morocco. We don’t change it“said the French Minister of Foreign Affairs during her trip to Rabat, trying to reassure Morocco after a series of frictional issues, fueled by the visa issue and the pro-Algerian position of French President Emmanuel Macron, incomprehensible for Rabat.

Morocco expects more assertive recognition from France over the Moroccan Sahara, exceeding that of Germany or even Spain, which “considers the Moroccan autonomy initiative, presented in 2007, as THE most serious, realistic and credible basis for the resolution of this dispute“, according to the joint Moroccan-Spanish statement following talks between the head of government, Pedro Sanchez, and King Mohammed VI.

The head of Moroccan diplomacy, Nasser Bourita, made this known in half-words during the joint press conference with Colonna, stressing that “Morocco has never considered France’s position to be negative”.

“During the past three years, thanks to the action led by HM the King, there have been fundamental changes in the positions of countries close to France geographically or politically, but France has always been a pioneer and the need for adaptation can be there also on the table and can be examined”did he declare.

An official visit by French President Emmanuel Macron in the first quarter of 2023 – the first since 2017 and in two terms – will undoubtedly, if it takes place, be an opportunity to end this episode of coldness between the two countries and to recalibrate the relationship. between Rabat and Paris.

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