AFP usually uses ‘Sahrawi’ or Polisario “independentists” to refer to individuals affiliated with the separatist group.
Rabat – Agence France Press (AFP), the French cooperative news agency, has identified Polisario members as separatists, leaning toward France’s position regarding Western Sahara.
AFP’s Arabic version published a tweet today, describing Polisario as a separatist group.
“Some experts believe that the separatist Sahrawis’ announcement on Morocco’s drone attack that killed one of its military leaders will be if confirmed, a turning point in the decades-long conflict in Western Sahara,” AFP said.
The tweet came after political analysts and experts have been debating over what to expect next in the Sahara conflict after reports that a Moroccan counterattack killed two senior Polisario military members.
The counterattack took place last week when Polisario separatists attempted to carry out a raid against Moroccan armed forces.
According to converging reports, Morocco carried out the counterattack through a military drone.
Traditionally, AFP uses “Sahrawis,” Polisario members, or Western Sahara “independentists” when covering the separatist Polisario Front.
The tweet mentioning Polisario members as separatists is another sign that France is further leaning toward Morocco’s position in Western Sahara.
France has been publicly supportive of Morocco’s efforts; the European country has described Rabat’s Autonomy Plan as a “credible” and “serious” solution to end the conflict over Western Sahara.
However, Paris has often embraced diplomatic neutrality as a way of showing its commitment to supporting the UN-led political process to find a solution to the conflict.
Recently, several French politicians have called on Emmanuel Macron to support Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.
The calls intensified after former US President Donald Trump signed a proclamation, announcing Washington’s full support for Morocco’s territorial integrity.
A recent development from France also made international headlines with regards to the country’s position on Western Sahara.
La Republique En Marche (LREM), France’s ruling party, announced on April 8 that it will open an office in Morocco’s southern city of Dakhla.
“We are particularly pleased with the creation of the LREM committee in Dakhla, located in the provinces of southern Morocco, which strengthens our presence with the French in this area,” the press release announcing the new offices stated.
The statement received support from Morocco, with the Moroccan media describing the move as a step towards French recognition of Morocco’s position in Western Sahara.
It remains to be seen whether Morocco will secure genuine support from France, one of Rabat’s main allies.
Morocco and France share strong relations in different fields, including in security.
Recently, the North African country provided France with essential data that helped Paris identify and arrest a French woman planning a terrorist attack against a church.