Rabat evades questions over Israeli diplomat's absence from official ceremony

Rabat evades questions over Israeli diplomat's absence from official ceremony
2 min read
21 January, 2022
David Govrin failed to attend a ceremony for diplomats to present their credentials to Moroccan head of state King Mohammed VI on Tuesday.
David Govrin (right) was appointed director of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat last August [Getty]

A top Israeli diplomat's failure to attend an official ceremony for ambassadors in Morocco has raised fresh questions about the state of Israel-Morocco relations since the two countries normalised ties at the end of 2020.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Tuesday invited several international ambassadors to the Royal Palace in the Moroccan capital Rabat to present their credentials. David Govrin, appointed as director of the Israeli liaison office in Rabat last August, failed to attend the ceremony.

At a press conference on Thursday, a reporter asked government spokesperson Mustapha Baitass why Govrin had missed the event.

"Regarding the question of ambassadors, our country respects the Vienna Convention, which controls all the protocols related to this area," Baitass told reporters, offering no further comment on the matter.

The Vienna Convention requires the head of a country's diplomatic mission to submit his credentials to the foreign ministry or the head of state for approval, a task Govrin has reportedly yet to complete.

Govrin's official title and role in Morocco remains unclear. He changed his status on Twitter to Tel Aviv official ambassador to Rabat last October, but the Moroccan foreign ministry has refused to comment on the matter.

Rabat's reticence over Govrin's status is likely due to the Biden administration’s indecision on US recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara, a political scientist who asked to be kept anonymous told The New Arab.

Morocco signed the Abraham Accords to normalise ties with Israel in December 2020, the last month of Donald Trump's US presidency, in exchange for American recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the former Spanish colony.

“As the Biden administration continues to shy away from voicing the recognition [of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara] and building the promised embassy in Dakhla, Morocco will not go further with normalisation or say more about what Govrin's position actually is," the political scientist said.