Is France’s FM a friend or foe to Morocco’s Sahara bid?

Is France’s FM a friend or foe to Morocco’s Sahara bid?

Foreign minister, Stéphane Séjourné seeks to salvage Franco-Moroccan ties after offending Rabat, according to the Arab Weekly and agencies.

On the 10th February, Mr Séjourné declared that he “will do anything to bring France and Morocco closer together,” in an interview with French newspaper, Ouest-France.

Although, Mr Séjourné may not be as open to “anything” and as Morocco may hope, especially in regards to the country’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

To commence the “new chapter”, Mr Séjourné has “personally” pledged to rekindle relations between France and Morocco, having previously upset Rabat with accusations of human rights abuse and corruption in the European Parliament.

France’s opening of a new Chamber of Commerce and Industry branch in Morocco’s Guelmim-Oued Noun region, regarded as the “gateway to the Western Sahara”, has led observers and experts to expect a policy shift in Morocco’s position in the Western Saharan territory dispute.

Paris’ desire to work in the region allegedly ensures a close proximity to France’s economic associates, which gloat investment opportunities with Morocco as a “strategic partner”.

However, foreign minister Séjourné has not mentioned France’s recognition of Moroccan sovereignty in his aims of “regaining trust between both great nations.”

READ: Israel’s Sahara Recognition Baffles Moroccans

International relations researcher, Mohamed Lakrini, told the Arab Weekly that Séjourné’s statements should be followed by a clear decision in regard to Morocco’s recognition.

In recent years, relations between France and Morocco have deteriorated due to various critical issues – from tendentious tomato trade to drastic declines in visa issuance, as well as the French media’s Morocco-bashing.

Morocco’s signature on the Abraham Accords granted the country sovereign status over the Western Saharan territory by the US in December 2020. Likewise, Spain officiated Morocco’s recognition in a joint declaration after an official visit in April 2022.

France’s failure to follow suit has been linked to Emmanuel Macron’s multiple expressions to amend relations with Algeria instead of Morocco.



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