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Morocco to upgrade its Israel liaison office to embassy status

July 17, 2023

This follows King Mohammed VI announcing that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu officially recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara

A senior Moroccan government official told the Spanish EFE news agency that Morocco was "in the process" of raising the diplomatic status of its office in Tel Aviv to the category of embassy, after Israel's recognition.

Morocco had reportedly conditioned the establishment of an embassy in Tel Aviv on a formal recognition by Israel of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara, which Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had done earlier on Monday.

Israeli officials directly involved in the case told Axios in January that Rabat repeatedly raised the issue in meetings with Jerusalem. Over six months later, Netanyahu sent a letter with the State of Israel's decision to "recognize the sovereignty of Morocco over the territory of Western Sahara."

According to a statement by the Kingdom of Morocco, the Israeli prime minister also informed the Moroccan king that Israel was positively considering "the opening of a consulate in the town of Dakhla," as part of the important decision.

"I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu's announcement on the recognition of Morocco's sovereignty over the Western Sahara," Israel's Foreign Minister Eli Cohen confirmed, adding "this step will strengthen the relations between the countries and between the peoples and the continuation of cooperation to deepen regional peace and stability.”

Meir Ben Shabbat, a former Israeli national security head, told i24NEWS that it was "important" for Israel to recognize Western Sahara as part of Morocco, saying “the decision made by Prime Minister Netanyahu was needed to strengthen the relations between the countries.”

“[It] was important for Israel to recognize that sovereignty, between friendly countries, [and it] will halt Iran and its allies' influence in the region, and will push forward all the strategic relations between the two countries,” Ben Shabbat added.

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