Former French President Francois Hollande called on Wednesday for the relaunch of the partnership between his country and the Maghreb states, especially Morocco, Anadolu has reported. Hollande made his comment during a speech at the international conference on good governance in Africa, organised by Morocco's National Authority for Integrity and the Prevention and Fight against Corruption.
The former president referred to "the ties that unite France and the Maghreb countries", describing them as "deep and historical, united by geography and common humanity." The Maghreb region includes Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania. He added that all have mutual interests at the strategic level to face external threats, including climate change.
Without giving details, Hollande also expressed his regret for the "misunderstanding and incomprehensible decisions" of France's relationship with North Africa. "All common issues must be put on the table, issues that may divide must be removed and we should start a new stage of relations," he explained. "This is why I am here in Rabat."
The French government announced on 28 September that it was tightening the visa requirements for citizens of Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. The pretext given was that the three countries "refused to issue the necessary consular permits to receive immigrants [heading for Europe] from among their own citizens."
Later, according to media reports, Paris cancelled the visa requirements for Algerian and Tunisian citizens, but kept them in place for Moroccans. The government in Rabat described this as an "unjustified" measure.
OPINION: Where are the Maghreb countries headed?