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Morocco-USA-Israel agreement : Tel Aviv wants to reassure Rabat

Two days after the US decision to temporarily suspend arms sales to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Meir Ben Shabbat phoned Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita.

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Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita phoned Israel's national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat on Friday. «The two officials agreed to set up working groups that will work on the conclusion of cooperation agreements in many areas, including investment, agriculture, water, environment, tourism, science, innovation and energy», MAP wrote.

«Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these working groups will meet online. However, a Moroccan high-level delegation will visit Israel as soon as possible, probably in February, to finalize the terms of these agreements», the same source added. This visit will most likely coincide with the official opening of the liaison office in Rabat.

Rabat and Tel Aviv resumed their diplomatic ties on December 10, 2020. Since then, exchanges between the ministers of the two governments have been frequent. King Mohammed VI also spoke by telephone on December 25 with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Tel Aviv wants to reassure Rabat

As for the timing, the phone call between Nasser Bourita and Meir Ben Shabbat comes in a political context marked by two key events on the Abraham Accords. On Saturday January 23, there was a phone call between Ben Shabbat and the new US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. «The two sides discussed the possibilities of strengthening the partnership in the coming months, in particular building on the success of the normalization agreements concluded by Israel with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco», underlined the White House in a press release.

However, on January 27, the United States suspended arms sales to Saudi Arabia and in the United Arab Emirates, referring to «war in Yemen».

For now, the Biden administration has carefully avoided addressing Donald Trump's recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara. On Wednesday, Antony Blinken «welcomed the Abraham Accords which were signed in recent months between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco».

In the aftermath of the «temporary suspension» of arms sales to Riyadh and Abu Dhabi, the Israeli prime minister and his defense minister have played down the impact of the measure taken by Washington. «It will not affect them (the agreements), we have passed the point of no return (…) Everyone understood that this was a historic step and that there are enormous advantages (…) I think that it will go forward», Benyamin Netanyahu assured.

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