Rabat - Moroccan foreign ministry sources said on Monday that Morocco wants immunity from prosecution in France for its officials as a condition of resuming judicial and security cooperation agreements with Paris.
Rabat – Moroccan foreign ministry sources said on Monday that Morocco wants immunity from prosecution in France for its officials as a condition of resuming judicial and security cooperation agreements with Paris.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Salaheddine Mezouar, is expected to travel to France this week in what appears to be an attempt by Moroccan and French officials to ease the year-old tension between Rabat and Paris.
The visit of Morocco’s chief diplomat to France comes at a time the relations between the two countries are strained.
Morocco suspended cooperation agreements when half a dozen agents of the French judicial police went to the residence of the Ambassador of Morocco driven by three complaints raised against Abdellatif Hammouchi, head of the Moroccan secret services (DGST), accusing him of torture.
The judicial move had been prompted by lawsuits filed against the Moroccan official in France by Moroccan activists.
“Moroccan officials should have immunity on French soil. And we can always work out our differences through the diplomatic process,” a Moroccan source was quoted by Reuters as saying.
France wants intelligence from Morocco and other North African countries on terrorism suspects, an interest that has become more urgent after this month’s killings at the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish store in Paris.
Amedy Coulibaly, killed by French police after taking hostages at the store, made several trips to Morocco in recent years, French media reported. Investigators want to know if those trips were linked to the Paris attacks.
Following the terrorist attacks in France, a number of French influential figures called for strengthening security cooperation with Morocco.
Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy called for the restoration of relations between Morocco and France in the wake of the march held on January 11, which brought together more than 3.7 million people across France to denounce terrorism.
The former tenant of the Elysee said that France must work on strengthening ties with foreign intelligence services, including the reinforcement of relations with Morocco.
“Judicial and police cooperation is not an option, but an absolute obligation. To find a solution to restore ties that should never have been cut with Morocco, I will go to Morocco soon,” France’s Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius told the Senate, the upper house of the French parliament, this week.