France greenlights public funding for private projects in Morocco’s Sahara

France greenlights public funding for private projects in Morocco’s Sahara

France has allowed its development agencies to fund projects in the Moroccan Sahara, a move that implies a recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, Moroccan media reported.

The decision was reported by LeDesk and confirmed by Medias24 which reported that it will be officially announced during the visit of the French foreign trade minister to Rabat this month.

While French private businesses have been operating in the Sahara, this decision would mark the first time France allows its publicly funded agencies to finance private projects in the area.

As ties warm up after a long frost between Paris and Rabat, French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne has hinted at upcoming change in his country’s policy towards the territory where Algeria has been pursuing a separatist chimera by backing financially, militarily and diplomatically for five decades a separatist militia, known as the Polisario.

Sejourne told reporters, after talks in Rabat with his Moroccan peer in February, that France had a “clear and steady” position on the Sahara in support of a “realistic, lasting and mutually accepted solution” in conformity with UN Security council resolutions.

France is aware that the “Sahara issue is an existential matter for Morocco and Moroccans,” he said, urging progress on the basis of round tables with the participation of all parties.

Sejourne announced that France will open two schools in Dakhla and Laayoune in addition to an itinerant cultural center in the Sahara territory.

He also lauded Morocco’s social development achievements in the Sahara, highlighting in particular efforts in terms of training, renewable energies, and the blue economy.

“France will support development of the region by supporting Morocco’s efforts there,” he said

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