Moroccan foreign minister makes rare visit to Temple Mount

Bourita is the second foreign dignitary to visit the compound in the last two months.

March 27, 2018 16:01
1 minute read.
Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita visits the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita visits the Al Aqsa mosque on the Temple Mount. (photo credit: STRINGER/ REUTERS)


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Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita toured the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem on Tuesday, becoming the second Arab foreign minister to visit the site in two months.

In February, Omani Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi also toured the mosque. Senior Arab officials rarely visit the site.

Bourita was accompanied by Azzam al-Khatib, director of the Wakf Islamic trust in Jerusalem, Omar al-Kiswani, the director of the mosque, Palestinian Authority Jerusalem Gov. Adnan al-Husseini and PLO Ambassador to Morocco Jamal al-Shobaki.

Pictures and video shared on social media show the Moroccan minister standing and walking around the mosque.

Kiswani said in a phone call that Bourita prayed at the mosque.

Khatib said in a separate phone call that Bourita’s visit reflects “Morocco’s strong support for Jerusalem and its holy sites.”

Morocco is the head of the Al-Quds Committee, which the Organization of Islamic Cooperation established in the 1990s.

The OIC website says the objectives of the Al-Quds Committee are to “salvage” Jerusalem, “extend assistance to [Jerusalem-based] Palestinians” and “safeguard and restore the Aqsa Mosque.”

An Israel Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the Moroccan minister’s visit to the mosque.

Later on Tuesday, Bourita met with PA Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki in Ramallah.

He was scheduled to meet with PA President Mahmoud Abbas on Tuesday evening at the presidential headquarter in Ramallah.

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