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Pompeo to «push» for normalized ties with Israel while in Morocco, State Department official says

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to visit Morocco in December. While in the Kingdom, the American official is expected to «push» for normalized ties with Israel, a State Department official revealed.

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. / DR

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that he is visiting Morocco in December to «review the two countries’ strong economic, security, partnership and discuss future areas of cooperation».

However, Pompeo’s upcoming visit to the Kingdom is expected to cover other regional issues, according to State department officials quoted by French news agency AFP. On Wednesday, the latter revealed that the US Secretary of State would reportedly discuss «normalizing relations with Israel» once in the North African country.

«Morocco plays a great role across the region as an important partner in promoting tolerance (and) has these quiet ties and relationship with Israel as well», a State Department official told AFP.

Describing Morocco as «a critical partner for (the United States) across the range of issues», the State Department stated that Pompeo will arrive in Rabat on December 4 and will meet with King Mohammed VI.

The same State Department official stressed that Morocco is a «great counterterrorism partner» for the United States, citing the country’s efforts to bring back nationals who joined the «Islamic State» group in Syria.

The «Deal of the Century», Israel and Morocco

Pompeo’s visit, the first of its kind since the election of President Donald Trump, comes as the United States is trying to help relax the Arab world’s decades-old boycott of the Jewish state, through its Israeli–Palestinian peace plan, also known as the «Deal of the Century».

In June, President Donald Trump’s senior advisor Jared Kushner unveiled in a conference, held in Bahrain and attended by Morocco and several other Arab countries, the economic portion of the peace plan. Kushner’s Bahrain conference was proceeded by a trip to Morocco.

In the Kingdom, Kushner held talks with King Mohammed VI in Rabat, as part of a tour that was meant to drum up support for the Manama conference.

For the record, Morocco first established diplomatic ties with Israel in 1993, following the signing of the Oslo agreement between the Jewish state and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).

But with the start of the second Palestinian Intifada in 2000, Morocco decided to cut ties with the Jewish state. Three years later, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom visited Rabat and met with King Mohammed VI in Tetouan.

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