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In a first, Moroccan king invites Netanyahu to visit

The invitation came after Israel officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, celebrate Mimouna, a Jewish-Moroccan celebration marking the end of Passover. Credit: GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife, Sara, celebrate Mimouna, a Jewish-Moroccan celebration marking the end of Passover. Credit: GPO.

King Mohammed VI of Morocco has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the North African country, the Prime Minister’s Office announced on Wednesday evening.

“The invitation was issued in a warm personal letter in which the king thanked the State of Israel for its willingness to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty in Western Sahara,” the prime minister stated.

A visit by Netanyahu would “open up new possibilities for strengthening relations between our countries,” wrote the Moroccan king, according to the PMO.

Israeli National Security Advisor Tzachi Hanegbi and Moroccan Foreign Affairs Minister Nasser Bourita will coordinate a date for Netanyahu’s first-ever visit to the kingdom.

Wednesday’s invitation came after Israel officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region earlier in the week.

The king received a missive from Netanyahu on Monday in which the prime minister pledged to share his updated position with “the United Nations, to regional and international organizations of which Israel is a member and to all countries with which Israel maintains diplomatic relations.”

Netanyahu also informed the king that his government is mulling opening a consulate in the coastal city of Dakhla as part of the move, according to news reports.

“I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s announcement on the recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara,” said Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, adding that the step would “strengthen the relations between the countries.”

In response, Morocco announced that it would elevate its Tel Aviv mission to an embassy. A senior Moroccan government official told the Spanish EFE news agency that Rabat is “in the process” of establishing an official embassy in Israel following recognition of the disputed region, i24NEWS reported on Tuesday.

Israel’s recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty came nearly three years after the countries partially renewed diplomatic relations as part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords. Rabat agreed to join the normalization pact in return for the Trump administration recognizing Moroccan rule over the territory.

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