France envoy to Rabat to quit role amid icy ties: report

France envoy to Rabat to quit role amid icy ties: report
Reports say France's ambassador to Morocco will take on a new role amid icy ties between the two nations for years over various issues

2 min read
13 September, 2022
Le Gal has been France's ambassador to Morocco since 2019 [Getty]

France’s ambassador to Rabat will end her mission at the end of this month, Moroccan newspaper Hespress reported.

Helene Le Gal will step down as ambassador to the North African kingdom and take on a new role in the European Department of Foreign Affairs in the EU, Hespress quoted an “informed source” as saying.

She has been ambassador to Morocco since September 2019. 

Hespress gave no further information.

The decision comes amid icy ties between Rabat and Paris over a French decision last year to slash the number of visas granted to people from Morocco and neighbouring Algeria and Tunisia - countries which have a massive diaspora community in France - as well as the Western Sahara dispute.

France's parliament hosted over the weekend key activists from the separatist Polisario movement, a move that strengthened Paris' ambiguous position regarding the Western Sahara dispute.

France's official position on Western Sahara is supporting a just, lasting, mutually acceptable political solution per UN Security Council resolutions.

Paris also considers the Moroccan autonomy plan for the territory "a serious and credible basis" for discussions. The Polisario want full independence.

However, the Moroccan king announced in August that the sincerity of friendship with Rabat will only be measured with support for Morocco in the Western Sahara dispute.