Relations between Paris and Rabat are at the top of Stéphane Séjourné’s objectives. In an interview published on Saturday, the head of French diplomacy indicated that he would work “personally” for rapprochement between France and Morocco, whose relations have weakened in recent years.
“We have had several contacts since my arrival” in power on January 12 with the Moroccans, indicates the minister to the daily Ouest de la France. “The President of the Republic asked me personally to invest in the Franco-Moroccan relationship and also to write a new chapter in our relationship. I’m going to stick to it,” he emphasizes.
“Now is the time to move forward”
Stéphane Séjourné believes that France has “always been there, even on the most sensitive issues such as that of Western Sahara where France’s clear and constant support for the Moroccan autonomy plan has been a reality since 2007”. “We add that it is now time to move forward.” “I will do everything in the weeks and months to come to bring France and Morocco closer together” and “with respect for Moroccans,” he promises.
The last two years have been punctuated by extremely strong tensions between Morocco and France, a former colonial power where a large Moroccan diaspora lives. At the origin of the tensions: the policy of rapprochement with Algeria desired by Emmanuel Macron, while Algiers broke off diplomatic relations with Rabat in 2021.
Mea culpa from the French ambassador
In September, a new controversy broke out when France offered its aid to Morocco, hit by an earthquake, aid that Rabat had ignored. Relations then seemed to be at an impasse before the French ambassador to Morocco made a public mea culpa in November and a Moroccan ambassador to France was appointed after months of vacation, thus initiating a period of thaw.