France’s interior minister is on a working visit to Morocco to discuss cooperation, diplomacy, and recent developments at home.
Rabat – French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and his Moroccan counterpart Abdelouafi Laftit discussed Friday the importance of security cooperation between Morocco and France.
As part of his official working visit to Morocco — his first outside of the EU — Darmanin met with Laftit in Rabat to strengthen French-Moroccan coordination.
The officials examined means to improve the exchange of information and expertise and consolidate the legal framework governing bilateral security cooperation. Morocco’s Minister Delegate to the Minister of the Interior, Noureddine Boutayeb, also attended the talks.
During a press conference after the meeting, Darmanin described the relationship between Morocco and France as “excellent.” He highlighted, in particular, the two countries’ strides in fighting irregular migration, drug trafficking, and terrorism.
The success of Morocco and France in working together to address security concerns in the Mediterranean should encourage the two countries to further improve cooperation, the French minister said.
Darmanin said he and Laftit agreed to work closely to strengthen security cooperation between Morocco and France—bilaterally, regionally, and multilaterally.
“Cooperation and partnership between Morocco and France, two more than friendly countries, is necessary,” he stressed.
Morocco and France enjoy strong ties in several fields, with a regular exchange of visits by officials from both nations.
Darmanin framed his two-day visit to Rabat and meeting with Laftit as an opportunity to “improve the common work carried out by the two countries.”
He added that the countries’ goal “is to guarantee Moroccans and the French a better world, despite the context of the health crisis and diplomatic crises outside our borders.”
The French official thanked the Moroccan government for its efforts in the fight against drug trafficking and the protection this provides to Europe. He added that France, too, aims to protect Morocco from European trafficking to North Africa.
Darmanin’s Rabat agenda
Darmanin is also set to meet with Morocco’s Minister of Religious Endowments and Islamic Affairs, Ahmed Taoufiq.
He said he is looking forward to discussing “what the French government wants to do, in accordance with the bill [on Islamic separatism]” with Morocco, a country “with whom we have secular, friendly relations and which are based on respect and trust.”
Earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron announced a controversial law against religious “separatism” to free Islam in France from “foreign influences” and combat “radical Islam.”
“I will have the opportunity to discuss these topics with Mr. Taoufiq and see how we can improve things and understand the constraints of all parties,” the French interior minister said confidently.
As part of his visit to Rabat, Darmanin met with the president of Morocco’s National Foundation of Museums and toured the Mohammed VI Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Friday morning. He expressed appreciation for Morocco’s “cultural openness.”
After meeting with Laftit, Darmanin held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita, who welcomed the official upon his arrival at the Rabat-Sale airport.
The visit comes one month after that of the Chief of Staff of the French Armies, General Francois Lecointre. He met with several Moroccan officials to discuss current and future Morocco-France military cooperation.