Israel and Morocco to Open Embassies

YERUSHALAYIM -
Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid (left) and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita meet in Rabat, on Wednesday. (REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal)

Normalization of ties between Israel and Morocco took another major step on Thursday as the two countries moved toward the opening of embassies, The Times of Israel of Israel reported.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that he and his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita, agreed this morning to each open full embassies in each other’s countries within two months.

Lapid, heading the first high-level Israeli delegation there since the two countries reestablished diplomatic ties last year, met for an extended conversation with Bourita that preceded the announcement.

Earlier in the day, Lapid dedicated the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat.

Together with Moroccan Deputy Foreign Minister Mohcine Jazouli, Lapid cut the ribbon to the office, reopened after more than two decades.

Ambassador David Govrin, head of the Liaison Office, affixed a mezuzah to the door post.

Lapid’s visit to Morocco was the first by a senior Israeli official since the countries renewed ties in December 2020. Israel and Morocco opened liaison offices, but the latter has yet to agree to the establishment of full diplomatic relations.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised Lapid’s visit and the reopening of the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat, calling it “significant for Israel, Morocco, and the broader region.”

“The United States will continue to work with Israel and Morocco to strengthen all aspects of our partnerships and create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for all the people of the Middle East,” Blinken stated.

Lapid is the first Israeli foreign minister to visit Morocco since Silvan Shalom, who tried to bring about normalization in 2003.

Israel and Morocco had low-level diplomatic relations in the 1990s, but Morocco cut them off after the second Palestinian Intifada erupted in 2000. The two countries maintained informal ties, with thousands of Israelis traveling to Morocco each year. The Abraham Accords were struck last year with four Arab states: the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco.