Humiliated France tries to save face, claims Morocco did not reject offer

France on Monday dismissed reports that Morocco has rejected Paris’ offer of financial assistance to help people affected by the massive earthquake, saying the North African country is sovereign and can choose which peer’s assistance to accept.

“Morocco, which is a sovereign country… chose to prioritize the arrival of support, regarding the countries who are available, including France,” French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna told RMC, rejecting media reports that Rabat refused Paris assistance due to a long-standing diplomatic row.

“This is really a bad quarrel, a quarrel totally inappropriate,” Colonna stressed, rejecting claims that Morocco’s silence to France’s offer is because of tensions in their relations.

“No one said ‘no’. Morocco has not refused any support or offer. It requests support from this or that (country) according to the situation.”

She recalled President Emmanuel Macron contacting Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

“Let us set those things aside. People are suffering and need help,” the minister said, adding that France will provide €5 million ($5.36 million) in humanitarian assistance to its organizations in Morocco.

In 2021, France accused Morocco of spying on its officials using the Israeli software Pegasus. Morocco, however, denied the accusations.

Relations deteriorated further when France decided to impose visa restrictions on Moroccan nationals and reduce admissions by 50% because Morocco refused to repatriate its nationals who were in an irregular situation in France.

At least 2,122 people were killed and 2,421 others were injured when a magnitude 7 earthquake struck Morocco late Friday, according to the Interior Ministry.

The quake was the strongest to hit the North African country in the last century, according to Morocco’s National Geophysical Institute.

Morocco has announced its acceptance of offers of assistance from Spain, the UK, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

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