90% of Moroccans think France is inflaming ties with Algeria: Poll
Hespress newspaper conducts a poll in Morocco where only 10% do not believe France is contributing to inflaming the tense relations between Morocco and Algeria.
A majority of respondents surveyed by the online newspaper Hespress believe that France is contributing significantly to strained relations between Morocco and Algeria.
Respondents answered the question: "Do you think France is contributing to inflaming the tense relations between Morocco and Algeria?"
89.64% of respondents answered positively, while 10.36% were negative, 12,800 respondents in total.
The results of the poll indicate the extent to which Moroccans are aware of their country's foreign relations with several countries, on top of which is France which practices passive neutrality on a number of issues, most notably the Western Sahara issue, according to the Moroccan news outlet.
Paris does not take a clear position on supporting the Moroccanness of the Sahara, Hespress reported, making itself an exception among European countries, which have recently openly expressed support for the Moroccanness of the Sahara and the autonomy proposal, including Spain, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Commenting on the poll's results, Nawfal Al-Baamri, a political analyst, lawyer, and expert on the Sahara file said that the outcome of the poll is expected because it reflects the attitude of Hespress's followers among Moroccan readers toward the Moroccan-French diplomatic relationship and its unclear movements in the region as a whole and in the Sahara file in particular.
In recent months, France has stepped up visits to Algeria, which has severed diplomatic ties with Morocco, despite repeated calls by King Mohammed VI for dialogue and overcoming differences.
France is trying to play both sides in its relations with Algeria and Morocco, sending a number of ministers to Algeria to sign agreements, while Rabat decided to escalate the rhetoric against the French, following their decision to reduce the number of visas granted to Moroccans under the pretext that the Moroccan authorities do not accept the return of irregular migrants.
The French foreign minister landed recently in Rabat in an attempt to find a solution to the strained relations with Morocco. The minister said that President Emmanuel Macron would visit Morocco in early 2023.
France's positions have become known to the Moroccan public; indeed, Moroccans clamor for reciprocity with France and urge not to succumb to its pressure.
In his statement to Hespress, Al-Baamri stressed that France must "understand that Morocco's official positions enjoy national and popular consensus, which the French presidency must understand if it wants to maintain its image within Moroccan popular circles and preserve its interests with Morocco."