France to Boost 'Exceptional Partnership' with Morocco

Moroccan Foreign Minister morocco Nasser Bourita during a press conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (MAP)
Moroccan Foreign Minister morocco Nasser Bourita during a press conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (MAP)
TT

France to Boost 'Exceptional Partnership' with Morocco

Moroccan Foreign Minister morocco Nasser Bourita during a press conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (MAP)
Moroccan Foreign Minister morocco Nasser Bourita during a press conference with French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna (MAP)

France denied any crisis with Morocco, stressing that the partnership between the two countries is "exceptional."

The spokesman of the French Foreign Ministry, Anne-Claire Legendre, assured on Thursday that the country is "not in crisis" with Morocco, following criticism in Morocco of the European country's approach towards Rabat.

"On the contrary, we have an exceptional partnership that we intend to nurture," Legendre said, recalling the visit of Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna to Morocco in December, which she described as "very positive."

The spokeswoman confirmed that French President Emmanuel Macron plans to visit Morocco during the first quarter of this year, saying it will be a milestone in the relationship.

The Moroccan political class has been highly critical of France since the European Parliament adopted a resolution a week ago expressing concern over the deterioration of media freedom in the kingdom.

European lawmakers in Strasbourg urged Morocco to "respect freedom of expression and media freedom" and "guarantee imprisoned journalists (...) a fair trial."

Meanwhile, Moroccan MP Ahmed Touizi of the Authenticity and Modernity Party said that the European Parliament's decision stands behind it, calling the EU text a "desperate attempt to influence Morocco's independent judiciary."

"Behind the scenes of this decision hides a country which we had thought of as a friend and a solid partner, but the smell of gas has made it lose it," he said, referring to warming ties between France and Algeria.

The French Foreign Ministry spokeswoman responded to these accusations, saying that the parliament exercises its powers independently, adding that France maintains a deep friendship with Morocco and discusses all issues, including human rights.

However, recent press articles and media reports noted that bilateral relations are deteriorating between the two countries. Observers doubt Macron will soon visit Morocco.

Jeune Afrique magazine reported that a misunderstanding is growing between Paris and Rabat, adding that in the face of what could be considered a manifestation of hostility from France, the Moroccan authorities believe it was difficult to return to normal.



UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
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UN Human Rights Chief: Unconscionable Death and Suffering Happening in Gaza

A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)
A child looks on as Palestinians search for missing people under the rubble of a destroyed house following an Israeli air strike, at al-Nuseirat refugee camp, southern Gaza Strip, 18 June 2024. (EPA)

Palestinians in the Israeli occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem are suffering a drastically worsening human rights environment, alongside "unconscionable death and suffering" in the Gaza Strip, the UN human rights chief said on Tuesday.

"The situation in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, is dramatically deteriorating," Volker Turk, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, told the opening session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The West Bank, where the internationally recognized Palestinian Authority exercises limited self-rule under Israeli occupation, has seen the worst unrest for decades, in parallel with the war in the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas.

Turk said that from the start of the Gaza war in October through mid-June, 528 Palestinians, 133 of them children, had been killed by Israeli security forces or settlers in the West Bank, in some cases raising "serious concerns of unlawful killings".

Twenty-three Israelis have been killed in the West Bank and Israel in clashes with or attacks by Palestinians, he said.

In Gaza, Turk said he was "appalled by the disregard for international human rights and humanitarian law" by parties to the war.

"Israel's relentless strikes in Gaza are causing immense suffering and widespread destruction, and the arbitrary denial and obstruction of humanitarian aid have continued," Turk said.

"Israel continues to detain arbitrarily thousands of Palestinians. This must not continue."

He added that Palestinian armed groups were continuing to hold hostages, including in populated areas, which put both the hostages and civilians at risk.

Israel's permanent mission to the UN in Geneva accused Turk of "completely omitting the cruelty and barbarity of terrorism" in his address to the UN Human Rights Council.

"Hostilities in Gaza are the direct result of Hamas terrorism, decades of rocket-fire and incitement against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, culminating in its brutal attacks against Israel on October 7," the diplomatic mission said in a statement.

Israel's ground and air campaign was triggered when Hamas-led fighters stormed into southern Israel on Oct. 7, killing around 1,200 people and seizing more than 250 hostages, according to Israeli tallies.

Israel's offensive has killed more than 37,400 people in Gaza, according to its health authorities, and left much of the enclave's population homeless.