As Morocco grapples with the devastation of Friday night's earthquake, French President Emmanuel Macron has reiterated his support for the country and its people while brushing aside strained relations between Paris and Rabat. This comes after Morocco rejected offers of aid from France.
“We are at your side today and tomorrow,” Macron said in a video post published on X, formerly Twitter. “France was shocked by what happened ... we are here and we are able to provide direct humanitarian aid.”
Paris had released aid of 5 million euros for Moroccan NGOs contributing to relief efforts. Despite declining to take up offer, Morocco has accepted aid from Spain, the UK, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.
"We will be there in the long term on a humanitarian level and medical level for reconstruction, for cultural and heritage aid, iand n all areas where the Moroccan people and the government consider that we will be useful," Macron added.
He denounced what he called “controversies that have no reason to be".
- Hopes fade in Morocco as search for quake survivors continues
- NGOs say French aid for quake victims blocked by Morocco
Relations with France, a former colonial power where a large number of Moroccans live, have been strained since Macron moved to get closer to Algeria, which broke off diplomatic relations with Rabat in 2021, accused of "hostile acts”.
Morocco has also been critical of France for not following the United States and Israel in recognising the "Moroccan nature" of Western Sahara, a disputed region almost 80 percent controlled by Morocco.
The latest figures on Tuesday evening showed more than 2,900 people had died in the earthquake, with the number of injured doubling to over 5,500.
Many more are still missing.