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Morocco: Silence Over Purported New 'Condition' Set By King Mohammed VI to Visit Israel

Morocco: Silence Over Purported New 'Condition' Set By King Mohammed VI to Visit Israel

Tuesday, 19 January, 2021 - 11:15
\ Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat (front R) and US White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner are seen during a visit to Rabat, Morocco, December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Shereen Talaat/File Photo

Rabat remained silent about reports by some Israeli and international media regarding a condition set by Moroccan King Mohammed VI for accepting the invitation of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit Israel.

However, a well-informed Moroccan diplomatic source told Asharq Al-Awsat that when King Mohammed VI spoke with US President Donald Trump on Dec. 10 about the situation in the Middle East, he emphasized his country’s firm stance on the Palestinian issue and its support for a solution based on two states coexisting in security and peace; therefore, negotiations between the Palestinians and Israelis remain the only way to reach a final, lasting and comprehensive solution to the conflict.

“The King of Morocco cannot go to Israel unless he is certain that his visit will achieve a diplomatic breakthrough that will consolidate the foundations of peace in the Middle East region and preserve the rights of the Palestinians,” the sources said.

They also emphasized the Moroccan monarch’s keenness to preserve the special status of the city of Jerusalem, to respect the freedom to practice religious rites for the followers of the three monotheistic religions, and to protect the Islamic character of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in line with Al-Quds Call that was signed during the historic visit of Pope Francis to Rabat on March 30, 2019.

Israeli Maariv newspaper reported on Monday that the King of Morocco stipulated, in exchange for accepting to visit Israel, the renewal of negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The newspaper noted that the Moroccan monarch was seeking to emphasize his stance in front of the new US administration and ensure that it would not back down from the recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara, which was announced by the outgoing US President on Dec. 10.

In a related context, sources close to the Democratic Party in Washington told Asharq Al-Awsat that President-elect Joe Biden warmly welcomed Morocco’s restoration of its diplomatic relationship with Israel and Washington’s recognition of the full sovereignty of the country over the Sahara.

The sources added that the prospective Biden administration considers Morocco a reliable ally in the North African region, and therefore they excluded any retreat in Washington’s positions regarding the recognition of the Moroccan sovereignty over the Sahara.

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