Paris continues to play the balancing act

We remember that the head of government, Aziz Akhannouch, had called on France, at the beginning of the week in an interview with the French daily L’Opinion, “to play a more important role in the Sahara issue”.

“There are major developments in the recognition by the great powers of Morocco’s sovereignty in our southern provinces. Paris shouldn’t just be an observer“, underlined Akhannouch, inviting France to position itself more clearly in the new geopolitical environment which surrounds the question of the Sahara.

The response from Paris was not long in coming, and it came through the ambassador, Francis Pauly, in charge of communication in Arabic at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who was speaking on the set of France 24.

The diplomat first wanted to recall France’s position on the autonomy plan for the southern provinces of Morocco, put on the table by the Kingdom, and deemed “serious and credible”, both by the UN and the international community.

Morocco is fully aware of our position. A position reiterated by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, during a press briefing held jointly with her Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita” in Rabat on December 16, he pointed out.

For France, continued Francis Pauly, “The Moroccan autonomy initiative constitutes a serious and credible basis for reaching a negotiated solution. That is the most important “.

Remaining in the gray zone which precisely marks France’s position in this dossier, the diplomat rounded the corners by affirming that Paris wants a “return to the negotiation table between the parties concerned in order to reach a fair and realistic solution”.

Pressed by the journalist who asked clearly if France plans to recognize the Moroccanity of the Sahara, the ambassador had these words: I have just expressed France’s position on the Sahara issue.

If by this exit, Paris intended to calm the spirits to continue its game (dangerous) of tightrope walker between Rabat and Algiers, it is missed, because the position of Morocco on this question is clear and known to all. The Moroccan Sahara file is the “prism through which Morocco looks at the world”, according to the formula used by King Mohammed VI.

The same embarrassment over this situation was felt (and felt) during the visit of the head of French diplomacy, Catherine Colonna, to Morocco in mid-December.

Playing the same card, recalling that Paris has always adopted a favorable position in Morocco. Moreover, she insisted, since 2007, when Morocco offered the option of autonomy, France was one of the first countries to praise its seriousness and credibility in the main international forums.

If this is a diplomatic reality that no one denies, the fact remains that French diplomacy has remained behind in relation to the international dynamic and all the developments that this file has known.

France is simply being asked to renovate and adapt its vision to these new conditions, especially since the historical and economic quality of the relationship between Paris and Rabat naturally required France to be at the forefront of the countries which first recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over its Sahara.

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