Rabat- Mustapha El Kahlfi, Morocco’s Minister of Communication and spokesperson of the government gave a media performance that's raising eyebrows when he was invited to speak on Europe 1 Radio on Thursday.
Rabat- Mustapha El Kahlfi, Morocco’s Minister of Communication and spokesperson of the government gave a media performance that’s raising eyebrows when he was invited to speak on Europe 1 Radio on Thursday.
Throughout the interview, the Minister seemed unable or unwilling to give any clear answers to the questions he was asked.
For example, when asked by the journalist whether or not the Moroccan government should negotiate with Syrian President Bashar Assad, the Minister gave an answer that did not correspond to the question asked by the journalist.
“First we have to insist on a question of principle. Morocco can’t make comment on actions undertaken by other countries, such as France.”
When asked once again to answer the question clearly, he insisted: “It’s difficult to comment on actions undertaken by France.”
The Minister seemed uncomfortable throughout the interview.
When asked by the journalist why Moroccan and French relations had deteriorated in an unprecedented manner over the past year, the Minister once again avoided giving an explanation to what prompted Morocco to express its discontent with France in February 2014, when Abdellatif Hammouchi, the head of Moroccan intelligence, was summoned to appear in French court while he was in an official visit to France.
“The most important thing is that we have turned the page, there is a dynamic to boost the relations between both countries under the leadership of His Majesty King Mohammed and French President Francois Hollande.”
The journalist was not convinced by the answer, and he insisted, saying explain to me “why tension that lasted for a year between two countries that consider themselves to have close, friendly relations and have a common history?”
After hesitating for few seconds, the Minister said: “we have decided to turn the page. We have to focus on the future.”
Turning once again to the cause of the tensions between the two countries last year, the journalist asked the Minister why the Moroccan government expressed its discontent when the head of Morocco’s intelligence was summoned by the French police.
Again, the Minister was off the mark, and looked unwilling to answer the journalist’s question.
“The essential thing for Morocco is… we have never asked for impunity for our officials. But at the same time we demanded the respect of our justice. Currently there is an agreement to reflect mutual respect based on the strategic partnership between both countries. That is why we decided to revitalize bilateral cooperation,” he said.
To make things more complicated for the Minister, the journalist asked him about the second diplomatic incident between Morocco and France, when Paris’s border police searched Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar, while he was in stopover in Paris Charles De Gaulle airport in March 2014.
“This proves that there was a serious dispute between both countries,” said the journalist.
In spite of all the efforts made by journalist to push the Minister to give him a clear answer, the Minister once again said that what matters for his government is the future.
“What matters to us is the future. This is the work of historians, what matters for us is the future based on mutual respect, on the strengthening of the strategic partnership between Morocco and France, and working together in order to reinforce our common interests,” he noted.
The remainder of the interview, which lasted 11 minutes and 48 seconds, followed the same pattern, with the journalist trying to get clear answer from the Minister and the Moroccan official being unwilling to give convincing or well-articulated answers.
Edited by Timothy Filla
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