Netanyahu may visit King Mohammed VI in Morocco - report

Although Israel is not officially recognized by Rabat, reports about clandestine relations, including security services, between the two countries, have circulated for years.

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January 24, 2019 14:00
1 minute read.
King Mohammed VI of Morocco reviews a guard of honour at the National palace during his state visit

King Mohammed VI of Morocco reviews a guard of honour at the National palace during his state visit to Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, November 19, 2016. (photo credit: REUTERS/TIKSA NEGERI)

 
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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may visit King Mohammed VI of Morocco in the country's capital Rabat, Moroccan media reported.

Quoting a "reliable source," the Arabic-language newspaper Al-Ousboue Assahafi reported that Netanyahu's cabinet and several Moroccan officials have been in contact to further plans for Netanyahu's visit to Morocco.

According to the report, the visit will take place following Pope Francis's visit to Morocco on March 30.

Morocco's decision to receive Netanyahu, however, depends on US's willingness to adopt a more favorable stance towards
Morocco in the Western Sahara conflict between the former and the self-proclaimed Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic.

Netanyahu's possible visit to Morocco is part of what seems to be a new chapter in the relationship between Israel and Arab and Muslim states.

Netanyahu made a historical visit to Chad in January to formally establish ties with the Central African country. The prime minister also publicly visited Oman in October.

Although Israel is not officially recognized by Rabat, reports about clandestine relations, including security services, between the two countries have circulated for years. Moroccan officials have publicly expressed their sympathy to Israel and Jews.


Andre Azoulay, King Mohammed VI's personal adviser, who is Jewish, attended the state funeral of former president Shimon Peres in 2016.

Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui sent a letter to the Jewish community in New York on the passing of Rabbi Masoud Abuhatzeira in April 2018.

“Morocco’s Jewish heritage continues to be part and parcel of our lives and who we are," the letter read. "His Majesty King Mohammed VI is committed to follow in the footsteps of his forefathers and spares no effort in the preservation of this shared heritage."

Netanyahu would not be the first Israeli prime minister to visit Morocco either. In 1999, Ehud Barak attended King Hassan II's funeral.

Daniel J. Roth contributed to this report.

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