Paris 2024: France extols Morocco's aid in Anti-terrorism efforts. GETTY IMAGES

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin embarked on an official visit to Morocco on Monday, where he expressed appreciation for the kingdom's invaluable assistance in combatting terrorism within France in the build up to Paris 2024.

With less than 100 days to begin the 2024 Olympics, Darmanin's visit to the capital Rabat holds particular significance against the backdrop of ongoing efforts to strengthen ties between France and Morocco following a period marked by tensions. Amid a noticeable deterioration in France's relations with countries in the Sahel region, this stop by Darmanin underscores the importance of fostering closer cooperation and dialogue between the two nations.

"Without the Moroccan intelligence services, France would be more affected by terrorism. We thank them greatly, particularly in anticipation of the Olympic Games," Darmanin said in a meeting with Moroccan Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit.

During his visit, Darmanin emphasised that France and Morocco are committed to collaborating closely to ensure the safety and security of the upcoming African Cup of Nations football tournament, slated to be hosted by Morocco next year. Both nations are poised to leverage their expertise and resources to implement robust security measures, safeguarding the well-being of players, spectators, and officials alike, while France thinks a plan 'b' to the Olympics Opening Ceremony.

Darmanin's visit to Morocco is part of a broader trend that has seen several French ministers engaging with their counterparts in Morocco over the past three months. This concerted effort reflects a shared commitment to catalysing a significant revitalisation of the longstanding relationship between France and Morocco, by fostering enhanced dialogue and collaboration.

In the words of Minister Darmanin: "A profound renewal and modernisation of the French-Moroccan relationship."

Frictions between Rabat and Paris, historically linked as former colonial partners, surfaced notably in 2021 with France's imposition of visa restrictions on Moroccan citizens. Moreover, Morocco voiced dissatisfaction with French President Emmanuel Macron's pursuit of closer ties with Algeria, its regional competitor.

Amid political upheavals marked by coups, France made the decision to withdraw its troops from Mali in 2022, followed by similar actions in Niger and Burkina Faso the year prior. These developments not only strained diplomatic relations but also created a vacuum, which saw a notable increase in Russian military involvement in the Sahel region.