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Lapid leads first ministerial delegation to Morocco since ties revived

CM 10/08/2021 1

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Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will head to Morocco on Wednesday, making him the first Israeli minister to do so since ties between Israel and the North African country were re-established in December.

Lapid will be the first Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco since Silvan Shalom, who tried to bring about normalization in 2003.
“I am going to Morocco to represent Israel and dedicate the Israeli mission in Rabat, the capital,” Lapid said on Tuesday. “The historic trip is a continuation of a years-long friendship and a deep connection to the roots and traditions of the Jewish community in Morocco and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco.”
Israel and Morocco reopened economic liaison offices in each other’s countries since partial diplomatic relations were renewed last year, but Rabat has yet to agree to full normalization. The countries previously had low-level ties after the Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, which were suspended after the Second Intifada began in 2000. However, relations grew closer in recent years, especially in countering threats from Iran.

In addition, there are about one million Israelis descending from the Moroccan Jewish community, tens of thousands of whom would visit each year.
Lapid will be joined on the trip to Rabat by Welfare Minister Meir Cohen, who was born in Morocco, Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee chairman Ram Ben-Barak and Foreign Ministry Director-General Alon Ushpiz, as well as Dr. Inbar Zucker, a senior Health Ministry official.
Nimrod Goren, president of the foreign policy think tank Mitvim, suggested that Lapid emphasize “the regional and multi-regional opportunities offered by improved Israel-Morocco relations [that] could help upgrade ties into full, ambassadorial-level diplomatic relations and inject new substance into the developing ties.”
Goren pointed out that Morocco was instrumental in Israel recently rejoining the African Union as an observer. Other opportunities from relations between the country include “joint Israel-Morocco participation in heavily-funded EU programs, support high-level Israeli-Palestinian policy dialogue channels, and [enabling] Israeli companies to be part of Moroccan-Emirati business cooperation.
“Morocco views itself as a country that strives to advance stability and security in the regions around it, and adding a regional framing to its bilateral ties with Israel could yield substantive benefits for both Israeli and Moroccan foreign policy,” Goren stated.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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