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France to end visa restrictions for Moroccan nationals: Foreign Minister

PARIS, Dec 16 – France will end visa restrictions on Moroccan nationals, the foreign minister said on Friday, in a sign of warmer relations between the two countries after more than a year of tensions between Paris and Rabat.

“We have taken measures with our Moroccan partners to re-establish consular relations,” Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said Friday after meeting with her Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita in Rabat.

France, under public pressure to crack down on illegal immigrants, announced last year that it would reduce the number of visas granted to nationals of Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia as the North African countries refuse to take back their citizens living illegally in France. .

It was not immediately clear whether France received anything in return from Morocco. Morocco’s Bourita said France had made a unilateral decision to end restrictions after what he said was also a unilateral decision to impose restrictions.

France generally enjoys warmer relations with Morocco than with its eastern neighbor Algeria, also a former colony.

However, ties soured after media reports in the summer of 2021 said President Emmanuel Macron’s phone was on a list of potential targets for surveillance by Morocco using Pegasus software. Morocco denied the allegation and said it did not own the Pegasus.

The improvement in relations comes two days after France and Morocco met in the semi-finals of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. France won the match, allowing greater visibility of the extensive ties between the two countries and their dual nationalities.

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