Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid traveled to Morocco on Wednesday to inaugurate the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat. His two-day visit to the country is the first by an Israeli foreign minister since 2003.

The inauguration of the office, which has been operating since the arrival in January of Israel’s new envoy to the country, David Govrin, will take place on Thursday, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

On Wednesday, Lapid paid his respects at the mausoleum of King Mohammad V. He then met with his counterpart Nasser Bourita, the Foreign Minister of Morocco.

Morocco, Israel and the United States signed a trilateral declaration on December 22, 2020, which included an obligation to “resume full official contacts between Israeli and Moroccan counterparts.”

It was part of the U.S.-brokered Abraham Accords, in which Israel signed agreements with four Muslim countries.

Before embarking on his trip, Lapid said, “This historic visit is a continuation of the long-standing friendship and deep roots and traditions that the Jewish community in Morocco, and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco.”

Relations between Israel and Morocco advanced in the 1970s and 1980s, culminating in the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1994. Those were severed with the start of the Second Intifada in 2000,  according to the ministry, though “civil and cultural ties between the peoples continued to deepen.”

Those accompanying Lapid on his visit include Israeli Minister of Welfare Meir Cohen, a native of Morocco; Ram Ben Barak, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee; and Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz.

JNS

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