Ex-envoy to Egypt to lead Israel mission in Morocco

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The head of Israel’s diplomatic mission in Morocco arrived in Rabat yesterday to expand bilateral political, tourism, economic and cultural ties, the Israeli Foreign Ministry announced in a statement.

David Goffrin, who served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt from 2016 to 2020, is temporarily running the mission in the Moroccan capital until Israel formally appoints an ambassador.

The Foreign Ministry stated that the resumption of full diplomatic relations between Tel Aviv and Rabat is an important step for Israel.

The announcement comes after Israel reopened its liaison office yesterday in Rabat more than 20 years after shuttering it.

“The arrival of the heads of missions to Morocco and Dubai completes the first, important phase of opening new Israeli missions in the region as part of the Abraham Accords,” said Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi.

Under US auspices, Morocco became the fourth Arab country to agree to normalise relations with Israel in 2020, after the UAE, Bahrain, and Sudan.

“This is living proof of the changes in the region and the warm peace between us and countries in the region,” Ashkenazi added. “This is an important day for peace and an exciting day in the framework of implementing agreements with the UAE and Morocco.”

Former US President Donald Trump has been criticised particularly over the terms of the Morocco agreement because to seal the deal he agreed that Washington will recognise Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Morocco has been in conflict with the Algeria-backed separatist Polisario group over the Western Sahara since 1975, after the Spanish occupation ended. It turned into an armed confrontation that lasted until 1991 and ended with the signing of a ceasefire agreement. Rabat insists on its right to govern the region, but proposed autonomous rule in the Western Sahara under its sovereignty, but the Polisario Front wants a referendum to let the people determine the future of the region. Algeria has been supporting the Front’s proposal and hosts refugees from the region.

US President Joe Biden has said he wants to build on Israel’s deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco that were part of a final foreign policy push by the former Trump administration.

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