Morocco a "strategic partner for France", says President
Morocco – Bilateral relations/fight against terrorism – Press conference given by M. Emmanuel Macron, President of the Republic (excerpts)
Rabat, 14 June 2017
Morocco is indeed a friendly country and a strategic partner for France, and that’s what explains this visit, which I wanted, on the personal invitation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI. This special visit is, I believe – like our France-Morocco relations – based on a common vision and a desire to pursue our joint interests, not only in Morocco but also in the region and, more broadly, in Africa.
First of all I want to thank His Majesty the King for his invitation and the warm welcome given to me and the whole delegation accompanying me. (…)
This evening we discussed, firstly, the many bilateral issues that form the agenda of our relations, and I reaffirmed France’s wish to support, as far as it can, the ambitious reforms currently being conducted by the King: the modernization of the institutions, with the implementation of the institutional reform decided on in 2011; economic emergence, with Morocco’s integration into [trade] networks and globalization; and finally social and regional development, with programmes to combat inequality, and the advanced regionalization initiative.
We discussed the economic projects under way, particularly the opening of a factory tomorrow, but also all the many cultural and educational projects marking the relations between our countries now and in the coming months, and the determination – mine at any rate – to develop Francophony even further. Morocco is an important country in this regard, and in Morocco and more broadly throughout Africa I’d like our educational, cultural and linguistic policy to be revisited and more prominent once again.
I then discussed with His Majesty the King several subjects we share: clearly our visions on the Libya conflict and, I believe, our shared determination to find ways and means to stabilize that country, which is a concern in terms of the region’s security and migration routes; and secondly today’s tense situation in the Gulf, where we also reaffirmed, I think, a broadly shared vision consisting in giving priority to stabilizing the region, on the one hand, and combating terrorism and all forms of terrorism financing on the other.
Finally, we discussed Africa policy, in which Morocco is playing a growing role, and we can only welcome Morocco’s incorporation into the African Union and, soon, ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] and the stated desire to cooperate with France in its strategy, which is also one of regional stabilization. I saw a concerned partner determined to join in our efforts to stabilize the Sahel – and I think this is an important factor – and also determined to be very vigilant on all the potential sources of destabilization in Africa.
More broadly, I for one am convinced that France and Morocco today have a common policy to conduct together in Africa, one which will consist in developing, with private entrepreneurs, artists and the worlds of education and culture, a sort of liberation of societies wherever they are flourishing, and rethinking a balanced relationship in Africa drawing strength from civil society.
This is central to the policy of partnership in Africa I’d like to conduct where – alongside the need sometimes to step up security, and the action we’ve got to carry out – there must be a desire for development, a much stronger education policy and also work done with entrepreneurs, civil society and the academic world to enable the very changes under way in Africa today. The King of Morocco and I talked about this too, and I think he shares this vision today.
Finally, we each reaffirmed our commitment to fighting climate change. And so, beyond the diplomatic initiatives which have been taken and which we reconfirmed – i.e. adherence, obviously, to the Paris Agreement –, we clearly want to continue diplomatic initiatives and joint concrete initiatives in Africa which will make it possible to deliver on COP21 and future COPs.
That, in a few words, was the bulk of what we discussed during this first exchange, obviously before we continue in the evening./.