King Mohammed VI health to blame for cancelled Senegal trip

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has been advised by his doctor to rest for several days after catching a cold, according to a report by the state news agency Maghreb Arab Press. As a result, the King has been advised to avoid travelling for the time being to protect King Mohammed VI health.

The 59-year-old monarch was set to travel to Senegal on Wednesday, according to reports by Senegalese state media. However, the visit had not been announced by the palace. King Mohammed has the final say on all major decisions in Morocco, a North African kingdom that he has ruled since 1999, following the death of his father, Hassan II.

History of King Mohammed VI health

The Moroccan palace has released several statements in recent years about the King’s health, including when he underwent heart surgery in 2018, suffered a lung infection in 2019, and contracted Covid-19 in June last year when the King’s doctor announced that the monarch exhibited no symptoms despite testing positive for Covid-19.

During his absence, Crown Prince Moulay El Hassan has stepped in to represent his father on various occasions, including during trips abroad.

When was King Mohammed VI’s last public appearance?

The King’s most recent public appearance was last week when he travelled to Gabon, where he held talks with the country’s President Ali Bongo Ondimba at the presidential palace in Libreville, the Gabonese capital. According to an official statement, the meeting was an opportunity to highlight the importance of the “deep, rich, and solidly rooted relations between Morocco and Gabon,” as well as the “strong bonds of brotherhood and solidarity between the two nations.” During the meeting, King Mohammed VI and the Gabonese president reviewed the state of the bilateral partnership between their two countries in all fields. In particular, King Mohammed VI made a donation of 2,000 tons of fertilizers to Gabonese farmers.

Morocco and Gabon share long-standing diplomatic relations that span over 50 years. In 2020, Gabon cemented its support of Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara region by opening a general consulate in the southern Moroccan city of Laayoune. Gabon and Morocco are also large trade partners. Moroccan exports to Gabon amounted to over MAD 537 million ($52 million) in 2020, according to data from Trading Economics. In 2018, Gabonese President Ali Bongo, at the invitation of King Mohammed VI, received medical treatment in Morocco.

Morocco has made significant efforts in recent years to build closer ties with West African countries, as part of its wider strategy to bolster support for its stance on the disputed territory of Western Sahara in the continent.

Image Credit: Moroccan Royal Palace via AP

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