Moroccan officials to fly to Israel next week to discuss opening of embassy

Moroccan officials to fly to Israel next week to discuss opening of embassy
Israel is expecting to host a Moroccan delegation for talks on opening embassies early next week, reports said.
2 min read
27 December, 2020
Netanyahu spoke about the Moroccan delegation visit in a Facebook video [Getty]
Moroccan officials are due to embark on an official visit to Israel as early as Sunday, Israeli media reported, to discuss the opening of an embassy after the two countries normalised relations.

Morocco and Israel will also discuss launching direct commercial flights.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Moroccan King Mohammed VI to extend an invitation to visit the Jewish state.

"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," Netanyahu told the king, according to reports. The quote is an apparent reference to a line in the 1942 movie Casablanca.

"We agreed a Moroccan delegation would arrive in Israel at the start of the week to advance everything, the opening of liaison offices, the advancement [opening] of embassies, direct flights to Morocco and back," Netanyahu said in a Facebook video on Saturday, according a translation published by Israeli outlets.

"The conversation was very warm, very emotional," he said.

Morocco formally signed a normalisation agreement with Israel on Tuesday, resuming relations after nearly 20 years.

US President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior White House adviser, Jared Kushner attended the signing ceremony of the controversial US-brokered agreement signed by Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani in the presence of King Mohammed VI.

Read also: Morocco's normalisation trade-off: Western Sahara for Palestine

Morocco closed its liaison office in Tel Aviv in 2000, at the start of the second Palestinian uprising. Despite this, Moroccon newspapers have reported trade amounting over $149 million between 2014 and 2017.

This year, the north African country became the third Arab state – after the UAE and Bahrain – to normalise ties with Israel under controversial US-brokered deals. Sudan has pledged to follow suit, despite opposition from Palestinians, who consider the deals a betrayal to their cause.

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