Morocco’s Foreign minister says Israel deal negotiations began in 2018

The resumption of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel is the result of long and discreet negotiations between the two parties, Nasser Bourita revealed.

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According to Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Minister, rapprochement between Rabat and Tel Aviv started in May 2018. Interviewed by Israeli news and current affairs TV channel i24 News, Nasser Bourita revealed that since then, contacts have been resumed with Israel based on the instructions of King Mohammed VI.

«His Majesty spoke with President Donald Trump and sent delegations to the United States to meet Americans, but also Israelis», Bourita recalled.

The Minister unveiled that he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in 2018, as reported back then. «Moroccan diplomacy prefers to work in discretion and avoids doing a show and if the Israeli side confirms the meeting, we can’t deny it», he hinted.

Moreover, Bourita insisted that King Mohammed VI «closely followed» this file during the last two years, «which resulted into what we have today».

As for the United States’ recognition of Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara, the minister indicated that it «gives meaning to the efforts of the international community». Calling the decision a «turning point», in the territorial conflict, the Minister said that it «emanates from the world’s greatest power, a permanent member of the UN Security Council and the most influential actor» of the body. «It is an important diplomatic breakthrough», he celebrated.

A message to Joe Biden

To back his words, the Minister referred to the statement of the former UN personal envoy to Western Sahara Peter van Walsum. In 2008, the latter ruled out the option of the territory’s independence. This position had cost him his position at the time.

He also recalled that for 13 years, the United States and France have called the Moroccan autonomy plan «serious, realistic and credible».

«Today, the American administration pushed this logic to the end : Since we believe that the autonomy plan is the solution, let’s go», he explained.

In another interview, Bourita urged the future Biden administration to preserve the deal sealed by President Trump earlier this month. «We realistically think the administration will find a good rationale to preserve this», Bourita told American news website Axios on the sidelines of the trilateral U.S.-Israel-Morocco summit held Tuesday in Rabat.

«We hope the next administration will continue this positive dynamic and nourish what we have built because it was done for peace. What we have here is a package which was signed and the first commitment that everyone made was to defend, promote and upgrade this package», he concluded.

For the record, a US-Israeli delegation, headed by US President Trump’s Senior Advisor Jared Kushner and Israeli National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat, visited Morocco earlier this week and were received by King Mohammed VI. During this visit, the three countries signed a joint declaration to cement their agreements.

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