France is one of multiple countries that describes Morocco’s autonomy initiative as a “serious and credible” political solution for the conflict.
As a Moroccan priority, the Western Sahara was on Morocco’s agenda for the French-Moroccan talks on Thursday.
State-owned news agency Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) shared a joint statement at the end of the meeting, in which France reaffirmed its support for Morocco’s autonomy plansubmitted to the Security Council in 2007 as a proposal to help end the dispute.
Western Sahara and security talks
France reiterated its position on the dispute, describing the initiative as “a serious and credible basis for a negotiated political solution.”
“France commends the serious and credible efforts made by Morocco to move forward towards a settlement of the Sahara issue,” the statement.
France also repeated its traditional position on the UN-led political process, emphasizing its support for a “just, lasting, mutually acceptable and compromise-based political solution, under the aegis of the United Nations and in accordance with Security Council resolutions.”
Both Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani and French Prime Minister Edward Philippe chaired the high-level meeting.
The officials expressed their countries’ determination to boost cooperation in different fields, including security, sustainable development, the rule of law, and cultural diversity.
“This commitment will be reflected in particular on the occasion of the second Ministerial Conference on Peacekeeping in the French-speaking area to be held in Rabat and which the two countries will co-chair on 23-24 April, 2020,” the declaration said.
The French prime minister spoke about the cooperation between Morocco and France in the fight against irregular migration, human trafficking, and terrorism.
He also spoke about Morocco’s efforts to address security challenges throughout the region, including in the Sahel-Saharan zone.
In addition to the Western Sahara conflict, the countries discussed ways to boost trade and cooperation.
In a joint press conference, Philippe said that France is “the first economic partner of Morocco.”
He also remarked that more than 900 subsidiaries of French companies are operating in Morocco, which generate nearly 120,000 jobs.
Trading Economics reported that French exports to Morocco were estimated at $5.2 billion in 2018.
France and Morocco concluded the meeting with the signing of nine bilateral cooperation agreements in different areas to boost collaboration.
El Othmani said that the signing of the agreements “illustrate the promising prospects for cooperation and bilateral relations.”