Morocco and Israel cooperation extends to aerospace
Morocco and Israel signed Wednesday a memorandum of cooperation in the aerospace industry, as the two countries aspire to strengthen their one-year-old relationship after normalising ties late in 2020.
The signing ceremony took place in Rabat under the presence of Ryad Mezzur, Morocco's Minister of Industry and Trade, and Amir Peretz, the director of the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) Company and former Israeli Defence Minister.
The agreement will provide Morocco with high-tech Israeli security equipment, as Rabat and Tel Aviv aim to cooperate in operational planning, research, and development in the aerospace industry.
"Israel and Morocco are beginning today a new phase of strategic and economic cooperation," said Minister of Industry and Trade Ryad Mezzur.
On the sidelines of the ceremony, Mezzur told the media that this inaugurated partnership is built on "shared values," as he addressed the Moroccan roots of Amir Peretz, the director of IAI.
وقعت اليوم مع السيد عمير بيرتس، رئيس مجلس إدارة شركة الصناعات الفضائية الإسرائيلية (Israel Aerospace Industries)، على مذكرة تفاهم في قطاع صناعة الطيران pic.twitter.com/87NhTQzl31— Ryad Mezzour | رياض مزّور (@MezzourR) March 23, 2022
Amir Peretz, who was Israel's minister of defence from 2006 to 2007, has also expressed his joy to be back in his birth land Morocco.
"The partnership with Morocco will be strengthened in the coming years," added Peretz.
In February, Rabat signed with IAI a purchase deal, worth $US 500 million, to acquire the "Barak-MX," an advanced air & missile defence system.
Last year, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed with his Moroccan counterpart a memorandum of understanding on security and military training during his visit to Rabat. No further details were shared about the agreement.
Meanwhile, Spanish media reported that Israel is planning to build a military base near Melilla, in partnership with Morocco.
Since normalising ties with Israel late in 2020, the North African kingdom is pushing for closer economic, political, and cultural ties with Tel Aviv. "Sky is the limit," asserted Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita during the anniversary of Abraham Accords.
Rabat and Tel Aviv are now connected through direct flights, cultural activities, and student exchanges. In addition to Israel's defence minister, Tel Aviv's foreign and trade ministers both visited Rabat in the past months, as Moroccan officials continue to promise visits to Tel Aviv "soon".