Macron says 'no reason' for debate on French Morocco aid

AFP , Wednesday 13 Sep 2023

French President Emmanuel Macron said late Tuesday discussions about the state of French-Moroccan relations over aid for earthquake victims should "cease".

France s President Emmanuel Macron attend the ceremony of signing bilateral agreements with Bangladesh s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina (not pictured) in Dhaka on September 11, 2023. AFP


Morocco has not accepted French offers of help, giving rise to questions about tensions between both governments.

Experts say Morocco is unhappy with French efforts to get closer to its large neighbour Algeria, and longstanding plans for Macron to visit Morocco have not been confirmed.

Algeria broke off diplomatic relations with Morocco in 2021, accusing its neighbour of "hostile acts".

"It is obviously up to His Majesty the King (Mohammed VI) and the government of Morocco to organise international aid in complete sovereignty and we are available to respond to their sovereign choice," Macron said in a video message posted on X, formerly Twitter.

"I would hope that all debate that divides, and that complicates this moment that is already so tragic, will cease as a matter of respect for everyone," he said.

Morocco on Sunday said it had accepted aid from Spain, Britain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, but did not seek help from France, its former colonial power.

Beyond the Algeria question, Morocco is also unhappy with France for not recognising the western Sahara as being Moroccan, unlike the United States and Israel.

In the absence of a direct aid request, France on Monday pledged five million euros ($5.4 million) to aid organisations already operating in Morocco.

Hopes have dimmed in the search for survivors after the earthquake that authorities say has killed more than 2,900 people, most of them in remote villages of the High Atlas Mountains.

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