LONDON – French President Emmanuel Macron downplayed on Monday his country’s crisis with Morocco, saying he wanted to “really move forward” with the North African kingdom despite the ups and downs that stain ties between the two countries.
“We must move forward despite these controversies but finally without adding to them,” said Macron at a press conference on France’s African policy.
He highlighted the many controversies and the series of French media attacks against Morocco in recent months.
The French president said his desire was to “really move forward with Morocco”, saying that King Mohammed VI “knows this” and that they had “several discussions” on this subject. Emmanuel Macron added, to reassure French public opinion that “personal relations (with King Mohammed VI, editor’s note) are friendly, they will remain so”.
“My desire is really to move forward with Morocco. The king knows it, we have had several discussions…there are personal relations which are friendly and will remain so,” said Macron
However, a close friend of the French presidency”, Stéphane Séjourné, leader of the centrist group Renaissance in Brussels, was one of the architects of the European Parliament’s resolution condemning last month Morocco’s alleged human rights abuses which Rabat described as hostile.
On January 23, Morocco’s parliament unanimously condemned the European Parliament’s resolution and decided to reconsider its ties with Strasbourg and subject them to a comprehensive evaluation.
Morocco officially ended the duties of Mohamed Benchaaboun as ambassador in France on King Mohammed VI’s instructions.
The French leader denied that the French government was involved in the media campaign against Morocco.
“The scandals in the European Parliament, the wiretapping issues that have been revealed by the press… Is it the fact of the government of France? No. Did France pour oil on fire? No,” he said, denouncing the people who “blow it all out of proportion.”
Macron said that the two countries must move forward despite these controversies,
“I think that our youth need us to build projects and move forward,” he added.
Regarding the question of the crisis between Morocco and Algeria Macron expressed his desire to show more sincerity and to deal with things in a pragmatic way through dialogue.