After the earthquake that shook the central area of ​​Morocco late on Friday, King Mohamed VI has maintained the secrecy that he had already maintained in recent years, in which he has reduced his public appearances to a minimum and has instead increased his private stays. in other countries such as France, where he was surprised by the worst natural disaster suffered by the Maghreb country in decades.

Although there has been no official confirmation from the Royal Family, no one doubts at this point that the monarch was in Paris last Friday, where he has a luxurious property. His escapes to Gabon have also been frequent in recent years, a country that has now been involved in a coup d’état that has overthrown the regime of Ali Bongo, a close ally of Mohamed VI.

In Morocco, the king enjoys broad political powers – he has the final say in foreign policy – and the Government must be accountable to him, which led in the first hours after the tragedy to a silence that was not broken until after 18 hours. when Mohamed VI reappeared at a work meeting in Rabat.

It was not until then when, through a statement from the Royal House, Rabat reported the “emergency measures” that the authorities were taking to care for the victims. Also in this note, three days of mourning throughout the country were announced, along with an image in which the monarch appears accompanied by other high authorities.

At his side, and also at the head of the table, his son and heir, Prince Mulay Hasan, a constant presence in the few public appearances of Mohamed VI, of which there is only evidence through official means and through carefully studied images. to avoid any hint of weakness. Not in vain, in recent months there has been constant speculation about the state of health of the 60-year-old king.

Furthermore, the monarch, who usually gives four major speeches a year, canceled this summer the one that usually takes place in August to commemorate the exile of his grandfather Mohamed V, according to the Royal House because this “memorable” event “cannot be measured solely by speeches and celebrations”.

In his statement on Saturday, the king thanked the “brother and friendly countries” that had expressed their solidarity with Morocco after the earthquake, also emphasizing that several of them had shown their willingness to provide assistance.

However, Rabat has authorized only four countries –Spain, the United Kingdom, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates– to send teams to the areas affected by the earthquake, appealing to logistical issues that, however, have raised doubts as to a possible political background.

The Moroccan authorities have pointed out the need to carry out a “precise evolution” of the needs after the earthquake, “taking into account that the lack of coordination in such situations could be counterproductive.” In practice, this suspicion has meant ignoring specific offers from France, Germany, Turkey, Italy and Portugal, among other countries.

Foreign governments have avoided criticizing Rabat for this rejection or even linking it to a political decision, since, for example, relations with Paris are not going through their best moment. The French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, has said to “respect” this decision of “a sovereign country”, which has chosen to “prioritize the arrival of aid, going to available countries on a case-by-case basis and not receiving aid that does not correspond to their needs”.

For its part, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry has confirmed that Morocco has not accepted Berlin’s offer either, which includes the sending of emergency troops with canine support or a water treatment plant, according to the DPA agency. However, he has avoided attributing it to political issues – “it can be ruled out in our case,” he said – as he considers that bilateral relations are now good after disagreements over Western Sahara led to tensions in 2021.