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France to finance Morocco’s 3GW power link to Western Sahara

France is ready to participate in funding a 3 gigawatt power cable linking the Moroccan city of Casablanca to the town of Dakhla in the Western Sahara, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said on Friday.

Morocco considers the Western Sahara as an integral part of its sovereign territory. It has offered an autonomy plan as a solution to its dispute over the Algeria-backed Polisario front, which calls for an independent state there.

“I confirm to you that we are ready to participate in funding this project,”‌ Le Maire told a Moroccan-French business forum in Rabat.

In February, French foreign minister Stephane Sejourne had said France backs Morocco’s investments in Western Sahara and reaffirmed support for Rabat’s autonomy plan for the territory, signalling a warming up of ties between the two countries after a period of diplomatic frost.

Morocco wants France to recognise its full sovereignty over Western Sahara, following the example of the US and many Arab and African countries.

France is also willing to cooperate with Morocco in developing solar, wind and green hydrogen as well as nuclear power, Le Maire said.

French development agency AFD would offer a loan of 350 million euros to help Morocco phosphates and fertilisers giant OCP with its decarbonisation push, Le Maire said.

France is the largest foreign investor in Morocco with an investment stock amounting to 8.2 billion euros ($8.75 billion) up to 2022.

Morocco is home to industrial facilities of leading French firms such as Renault and Safran.

Source: The Arab Weekly