WASHINGTON – King Muhammad VI of Morocco has invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to meet with him in Rabat.
The invitation in a personal letter came on Wednesday, two days after Israel recognized Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara and said it may open a consulate in the city of Dakhla.
“The visit will open new opportunities to strengthen the relations between our countries,” the king wrote.
Netanyahu’s office said he would like the visit to take place “soon.”
The Algerian-backed Polisario Front demands an independent state in Western Sahara.
The US recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory, in conjunction with Rabat’s establishment of ties with Jerusalem. Only 28 countries have consulates in Western Sahara.
Israel-Morocco ties have lagged behind those of other Abraham Accord signatories the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. Neither Morocco nor Israel has opened a full-fledged embassy and has instead relied on liaison offices. Knesset Speaker Amir Ohana said on a visit to Morocco last month that embassies may come after Israel recognizes Moroccan sovereignty in Western Sahara.
President Herzog meets with Congressional Abraham Accords caucus
The invitation from King Muhammad VI came just as President Isaac Herzog met with the Congressional Abraham Accords caucus immediately after his address to both houses of Congress.
Herzog met with senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), James Lankford (R-OK), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Joni Ernst (R-IA), and Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA-5), Brad Schneider (D-IL-10), Ann Wagner (D-MO-2), and David Trone (D-MD-6).
Rosen, a founding member of the caucus, noted that she led a bipartisan delegation this year to the Arab countries that normalized relations with Israel in 2020 – the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco.
The countries cooperate “on tourism, trade, education, health care, energy, regional security. These are the kinds of people-to-people things that make a difference,” Rosen said.
That cooperation is meaningful to help the countries grow and thrive, she added.
“That’s how normalization works to ensure peace in the Middle East, and, of course, make us a more secure world,” Rosen said.
Rosen spoke of “the desire to have Saudi Arabia join the Abraham Accords and become more part of a coalition in the Middle East. I think the president, the State Department are working on that... and whatever we can do here in the Senate to help move that forward, we’ll be glad to work on that.”
The senator said Herzog’s speech before Congress was “beautiful.”
“I think he addressed all the issues and thinking about where we’re going to go in the future,” she said. “I think it was inspiring and hopeful, and I feel very good about what he said.
“I think it was very well received in the room and I hope around the world as people watched,“ she added.
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.