“Warm” Visit by Macron to Rabat Reflects Strength of Bilateral Ties, French Press

French press showed vivid interest in the friendship and working trip by President Emmanuel Macron to Morocco on June 14-15 upon an invitation from King Mohammed VI, saying the “warm” visit reflects the strength of bilateral relations.

Strengthening a special partnership bond, showing convergence of ideas on multiple international issues and ushering a new era of bilateral cooperation were all conclusions drawn by the French Press from the visit to Rabat by Macron and his spouse Brigitte.

“I would like to thank the King for his warm welcome. I am so touched by his mark of friendship and the personal character of the relation that has been established between us,” Macron was quoted by the AFP as saying.

“I reaffirmed France’s wish to support the reforms led by the King in the fields of modernizing institutions, social and territorial development, the fight against territorial disparities and Morocco’s integration in globalization,” he said.

French Le Monde daily for its part shed light on the press conference given by Macron following talks with King Mohammed VI. The paper highlighted that the protests in northern Morocco were discussed by the two leaders and that the King considers as legitimate the protests that are guaranteed by the constitution.

Le Parisien, for its part, was more interested in the “personal character” of the visit. The paper gave details of the Iftar ceremony hosted by King Mohammed VI in honor of his French guests.

In the same vein, Le Figaro discussed the significance of the trip to Morocco, the first country in the Maghreb Macron visits after taking office. In doing so, Macron breaks with a tradition installed by previous French Presidents who used to dedicate the first trip in the southern Mediterranean to Algeria, the paper noted.

Le Figaro added that the visit puts French-Moroccan relations on the right track of further cooperation. The paper highlighted the importance of cooperation with Morocco in the security arena noting that Morocco “plays a key role” in counterterrorism.

The same paper wrote that Macron represents a new generation of French leaders and that he appreciates Morocco’s contributions to counterterrorism efforts. “Morocco is well-informed on Jihadists in the Sahel and extremist groups that operate in the Maghreb and Europe,” said Le Figaro.

During the press briefing in Rabat, Macron said the talks with King Mohammed VI mirrored a convergence of views concerning the Gulf crisis. He voiced hope to see the crisis resolved and said that he will receive the Emir of Qatar next week in Paris.

On Africa, Macron lauded Morocco’s efforts in favour of development in the continent and congratulated Morocco for returning to the African Union. He commended Morocco’s “increasing role” and “active diplomacy in Africa,” noting that Morocco and France are both concerned with maintaining stability in the Sahel and addressing development challenges on the continent.

Since resolving the diplomatic crisis that had shaken diplomatic ties between the two countries in 2014, Morocco and France have strengthened their cooperation notably in fields relating to security, economy, education, culture and climate change.

On the sidelines of the visit, Princess Lalla Salma and Brigitte Macron visited the Picasso exhibition at the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Arts in Rabat. The exhibition displays more than a hundred works (paintings, sculptures, ceramics, photographs, drawings and prints) from the collections of the National Picasso Museum -Paris.

 

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