While Israel seeks full diplomatic ties, Morocco prefers a gradual process, David Govrin says

While the Moroccan government prefers a «gradual process», Israel would like to establish full diplomatic ties as soon as possible, Chargé d’Affaires David Govrin said.

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Israeli chargé d’affaires David Govrin, appointed to head the Israeli liaison office in Rabat, said that «Israel would like to establish our full diplomatic relationship as soon as we can», but the Moroccan government prefers a «gradual process».

«We are trying to expand our bilateral ties with the Moroccans in many different fields», he told The Times of Israel this week, adding that «the potential is very high». The same source indicates that «Rabat does not appear to be discussing full ties publicly, though the Kingdom is eager to expand cooperation».

David Govrin, expected to become Israel's ambassador when full diplomatic relations are established, said he believed that «those informal ties would help smooth the resumption of contacts between the countries».

«It is much easier than other Arab countries due to the fact that over the last two decades, we’ve had constant contacts with civil society in Morocco. Many representatives of different Moroccan organizations visited Israel».

David Govrin

The chargé d'affaires of the Israeli liaison office in Morocco highlighted the «important role» that the Jewish community of the Kingdom played in the connection between the two peoples. «So we are not starting from scratch. We are continuing, we are expanding», he said, announcing a trip to Casablanca later this week to meet the Jewish community there.

Good prospects for tourism while waiting for direct flights

Although Israeli diplomats are currently operating from a hotel in Rabat and will soon be moving to rented offices, they are getting ready for a «dramatic increase» in the number of Israeli tourists to Morocco. David Govrin told I24news that flights between Israel and Morocco should start within two months. 

«An agreement has been reached between the two countries and we are currently in consultation on the procedures», he added, suggesting that the number of Israeli tourists visiting Morocco would double. «All Israeli companies have requested to operate flights to Morocco, in addition to Royal Air Maroc, which has also requested flights», he added.

To him, «there is no doubt that direct flights would lead to a tangible increase in tourist trips between the two countries». Moreover, the diplomat clarified, in a report on the Facebook page «Israel in Arabic» that Moroccan nationals he has met in the Kingdom would question him about the procedures for obtaining visas to visit Israel. «I think we will see more and more tourists visiting our country», he said.

On Tuesday, Morocco’s Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita held talks for the first time with his Israeli counterpart Gabi Ashkenazi. The two officials agreed to «work together to quickly implement the agreements between Morocco and Israel».

Nasser Bourita and Israel's national security adviser Meir Ben Shabbat on Friday agreed to create «joint working groups» to promote cooperation between the two countries in various fields.

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