Israel FM in Morocco in August for embassy talks: report

Israel FM to visit Morocco in August to discuss opening embassy, report says, in further normalisation step
2 min read
19 July, 2021
Israel's foreign minister is expected to visit Morocco next month to open an embassy, finalising a normalisation deal signed last year.
Morocco normalised ties with Israel late last year in return for US recognition of Rabat's sovereignty over the Western Sahara [Getty]

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid will visit Morocco in early August and discuss the opening of Israel’s embassy in Rabat, according to the website Axios.

Lapid agreed to the visit with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, during a telephone conversation last Friday, according to the website.

This would be the first visit by an Israeli minister to Morocco since the two countries normalised their ties last year.

Sources said the visit is expected to take place on either 10 or 11 August, depending on the Covid-19 situation.

Rabat neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Axios claimed that the Moroccan government put plans to fully establish diplomatic relations with Israel on hold in case the new US administration reversed a previous decision by Donald Trump to accept Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

After receiving assurances from Washington this won't happen, Morocco accepted plans to convert an existing diplomatic liaison office into an embassy.

Trump in December broke decades of precedent by recognising Morocco's full sovereignty over Western Sahara, with Morocco in turn saying it would normalise relations with Israel.

Lapid opened Israel's embassy in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi last week, as the two countries - along with the island kingdom of Bahrain - also normalised ties in September last year.