In a significant diplomatic move, His Majesty King Mohammed VI has named Samira Sitail as Morocco’s new ambassador to France, as formally announced by the royal palace.
Samira Sitail brings with her a wealth of experience, notably as a former journalist and the former director of information at Morocco’s esteemed broadcasting channel, 2M. Her appointment comes in the wake of notable developments that have cast a spotlight on Morocco’s response to a devastating earthquake that occurred on September 8.
In the aftermath of the earthquake, certain French media outlets had raised questions about Morocco’s efforts in addressing the tragedy, even going as far as accusing the kingdom of declining France’s offer of assistance in the rescue and relief operations.
This appointment of a new ambassador to France takes place within the broader context of simmering diplomatic tensions between Rabat and Paris. Earlier this year, Morocco terminated the duties of its ambassador to France, Mohamed Benchaaboun.
These tensions had been brewing over various strategic issues, with one of the most recent points of contention being a resolution in the European Parliament that accused Morocco of intimidating and harassing journalists and activists.
Many observers had suspected French MEPs with close ties to President Emmanuel Macron as key proponents of this contentious resolution. Furthermore, France’s decision to cut the number of visas granted to Moroccans in 2022 by half has added to the strains in bilateral relations. Despite France’s assurances of full consular services, many Moroccans continued to express dissatisfaction with delays in appointment scheduling and what they perceived as unjustified rejections of visa applications.
With the appointment of a new Moroccan ambassador to France, the question that arises is whether these two historically significant allies can rebuild confidence and work towards strengthening their diplomatic ties in the coming months and years.