WORLD Foreign ministers agree on aviation, consultations and culture


Foreign ministers agree on aviation, consultations and culture

Global Times

20:57, August 12, 2021

Israeli tourists arrive at the Marrakech-Menara International Airport on the first direct commercial flight between Israel and Morocco on Sunday. Morocco and Israel signed agreements on direct flights in December 2020. (Photo: VCG)

The foreign ministers of Morocco and Israel signed three accords on Wednesday during the first visit by a top official from the Jewish state since ties were normalized in 2020.

Nasser Bourita and his Israeli counterpart Yair Lapid signed agreements on political consultations, aviation and culture. Lapid told reporters the accords would "bring our countries innovation and opportunities for the benefit of our children -- and their children -- for years to come."

Israel and Morocco struck a deal in 2020 after then US president Donald Trump recognized Morocco's contested sovereignty in Western Sahara.

"Today, we are restoring peace, restoring friendship," Lapid said.

Morocco was the fourth Arab state to establish ties with Israel in 2020 after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan.

The move infuriated the Palestinians, as it shattered the longstanding Arab consensus that there should be no normalization until Israel agrees to a comprehensive and lasting peace.

Bourita said that during his talks with Lapid, the situation in Israel and the Palestinian territories was raised.

"King Mohammed VI insists on the need to break the current impasse and resume negotiations, as the only means of reaching a solution based on two states living side by side on the 1967 borders," Bourita said.

The monarch had reassured Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas after the normalization of ties that Morocco would continue to support the Palestinian cause.

"It is urgent that measures be taken today to restore confidence and maintain calm, to open a political horizon to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict," Bourita said.

Lapid said he preferred to focus on the normalization of ties between Israel and Arab countries.

"Something is happening in the region," he said.

On Thursday, Lapid officially opened Israel's diplomatic representation in the capital Rabat.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Lapid's visit "significant for Israel, Morocco, and the broader region."

"The US will continue to work with Israel and Morocco to strengthen all aspects of our partnerships and create a more peaceful, secure, and prosperous future for all the people of the Middle East," Blinken said in a statement.

The American embassy in Rabat said that ties between the two countries generated "real benefits" for both sides including direct commercial flights and economic cooperation.

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