RABAT, Morocco – Madeleine McCann's parents took their search for the missing 4-year-old British girl to Morocco on Monday, pleading for the public's help and handing out photos of their daughter.
Kate and Gerry McCann said they met with Moroccan child-welfare groups and with Interior Minister Mohamed Benaissa, who assured them police would swiftly investigate any alleged sightings of the girl, who disappeared last month while on vacation with her family in Portugal.
"We've come to ask the Moroccan public for help," Gerry McCann said. The couple was distributing full-page photos of Madeleine with information in Arabic on how to contact authorities.
Her parents' trip to Morocco followed several visits to other countries where they believe their daughter may have been taken.
"The main reason we've come to Morocco is because of its proximity to Portugal," Gerry McCann said.
Twelve hours elapsed following the girl's disappearance before Portuguese border guards were put on alert, leaving open a window of time in which she could have been spirited abroad.
The couple played down speculation they were looking into reports that a Norwegian tourist in Morocco had spotted a man and a girl matching Madeleine's description in Marrakech six days after she disappeared.
British media reported the alleged sighting in Marrakech, one of Morocco's biggest tourist hotspots. Moroccan police say they have not been asked to join international police investigations into Madeleine's disappearance.
The McCanns planned to continue their search in Portugal.
Madeleine disappeared on May 3 from a hotel in Praia da Luz, a resort town in Portugal's Algarve region. Her parents left her and her 2-year-old twin siblings alone in their hotel room while they dined at a nearby restaurant.
Since then, the couple has launched an international campaign to find the girl, enlisting the aid of celebrities including soccer star David Beckham and J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series.