Mohammed VI travels to France on a private visit

This is the first time that the Moroccan king has visited a European country since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic
mohamed vi-rey-marruecos

PHOTO/FILE  -   The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI

On his first trip to Europe since the start of the pandemic, King Mohammed VI has chosen to make a private visit to France, as confirmed by Jeune Afrique.

Although it is not a diplomatic trip, it carries with it an important significance, as it is the first destination he has chosen since the COVID-19 pandemic spread, following his visit in December 2021 to Gabon.

Since Emmanuel Macron was first elected president in 2017, relations between Paris and Rabat have been marked by certain ups and downs. The latest incident to date relates to France's reduction of visas granted to Maghrebi countries, including Morocco, in retaliation after the French government accused them of not readmitting their migrants who had been expelled from France.

At the time, French government spokesman Gabriel Attal told Europe 1 that the decision taken was "drastic. It is an unprecedented decision" and "necessary" because "these countries do not accept their citizens whom we do not want and who cannot remain in France", he declared.

PHOTO/ARCHIVO  -  The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, receives French President Emmanuel Macron in Rabat.

In response, the Moroccan Foreign Minister, Naser Burita, clarified that Morocco demanded two conditions for these people to be able to return. Thus, they demanded that migrants in an irregular situation must carry a document accrediting their Moroccan nationality and a negative PCR test. In declarations to EFE, Burita stated that "if French law does not allow the authorities to force a person to undergo a test to detect the virus, then it is not Morocco's problem".

In response to this decision, Morocco strongly denounced the position of the French government, showing its clear dissatisfaction. It is also worth noting that both Macron and Mohamed VI have so far seen each other on more occasions in private or off-agenda meetings compared to official visits. Four years ago, in 2018, the king travelled to France to undergo a heart surgery and, after leaving the hospital, he went to the Elysée to visit the French president, during which time they discussed the situation in the Middle East.

For his part, Macron, a month after being elected president in 2017, travelled to Rabat to celebrate iftar, the moment when the daily fast is broken during the month of Ramadan, as part of a visit that the Elysée described as "personal".

For the moment, no further information has come to light about a possible meeting between Macron and Mohammed VI during this new visit by the Moroccan king.