Le Monde publishes a map of Morocco including Western Sahara region

The French media are well aware of the importance of this gesture for Rabat, as the Sahara question is a priority issue for the Kingdom 
Los medios de comunicación franceses son muy conscientes de la importancia de publicar el mapa completo de Marruecos cuando se cubren los asuntos del Reino de Marruecos - PHOTO/ https://depositphotos.com/es/?/
French media are well aware of the importance of publishing the full map of Morocco when covering the affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco - PHOTO/ https://depositphotos.com/es/?/

The French newspaper Le Monde recently published a complete map of the Kingdom of Morocco, including the disputed region of Western Sahara, to illustrate one of its reports. This has been perceived in the Kingdom as a clear shift in the French media's approach to the Sahara issue, as well as a reflection of the French position on the issue.   

The French media are well aware of the importance of publishing the full map of Morocco when reporting on issues related to the Kingdom. The French press has always played a key role in relations between the two countries, whether for better or worse.  

Analysts consulted by Al-Arab saw this gesture as a change of position on the part of Paris. They also believe it is a sign that French President Emmanuel Macron will soon recognise Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara with the aim of further developing bilateral relations after a period of diplomatic tensions. 

El presidente francés Emmanuel Macron y el rey marroquí Mohamed VI en la estación de tren de Rabat Agdal para la inauguración de una línea ferroviaria de alta velocidad el 15 de noviembre de 2018 - AFP/FADEL SENNA
French President Emmanuel Macron and Moroccan King Mohammed VI at Rabat Agdal train station for the inauguration of a high-speed railway line on November 15, 2018 - AFP/FADEL SENNA

"France is well aware of Morocco's dimension at the African level in the light of its declining influence on the continent," notes the newspaper, which also notes that this change of position could be an attempt by Paris to benefit from the investments of the 2030 World Cup, which Morocco will organise together with Spain and Portugal.  

This is not the first time that the French media have published the complete map of Morocco. In addition to the daily newspaper, the official French television station, TV1, broadcast the entire map of the Kingdom in a news bulletin. 

The Sahara issue is a priority for the Kingdom. The authorities have reiterated this on several occasions, in particular King Mohammed VI. The monarch, on the occasion of the 69th anniversary of the King and the People's Revolution, stressed that "the Sahara issue is the lens through which Morocco looks at the world". "It is the clear and simple standard by which the sincerity of friendships and the effectiveness of partnerships are measured," the King added. 

El rey marroquí Mohamed VI - PHOTO/MAP
Moroccan King Mohamed VI - PHOTO/MAP

Mohammed VI also expressed his hope that the Kingdom's traditional and new partners who adopt unclear positions on their stance towards the Sahara, "will clarify their positions and review their content in a way that does not accept interpretations".   

Rabat would welcome any change of position by France, which would join other countries such as Spain, Germany, the United States and Israel. Such a move would have a positive impact on relations between the two historic allies, especially after months of estrangement. 

Pareja envuelta en las banderas de Marruecos y Francia después del partido de fútbol de semifinales de la Copa del Mundo Qatar 2022 entre Francia y Marruecos el 14 de diciembre de 2022 - AFP/OSCAR DEL POZO
Couple wrapped in the flags of Morocco and France after the Qatar 2022 World Cup semi-final football match between France and Morocco on December 14, 2022 - AFP/OSCAR DEL POZO

For the time being, the relationship between Morocco and the French press has improved markedly after several French media, both public and private, criticised Morocco for the Kingdom's rejection of France's offer to assist in the rescue operations for the victims of the September earthquake.  

After a period of strong criticism of the North African country, the French press has once again sided with French interests, maintaining objectivity in its coverage of Moroccan affairs and after security cooperation between the two countries was significantly strengthened, especially in the areas of the fight against terrorism and organised crime.  

El ministro marroquí de Asuntos Exteriores, Nasser Bourita  y su homólogo francés, Stéphane Sejourne, asisten a una rueda de prensa conjunta al término de una reunión en Rabat el 26 de febrero de 2024 - AFP/FADEL SENNA
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita and his French counterpart Stéphane Sejourne attend a joint press conference at the end of a meeting in Rabat on February 26, 2024 - AFP/FADEL SENNA

The rapprochement between Morocco and France continues to make progress thanks to the impetus given by the authorities of both countries. Bilateral meetings between senior officials, including the two countries' Foreign Ministers, Nasser Bourita and Stéphane Sejourné, have taken place in recent months, demonstrating a common will to strengthen cooperation in various fields.   

France has even declared its readiness to invest alongside Morocco in the Western Sahara region. "We must make sure that we work together, we have common interests", the French Minister Delegate for Foreign Trade, Franck Rieste, told journalists during a visit to Morocco in April.