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Following Israeli recognition of Western Sahara, Moroccan king invites Netanyahu for official state visit

Israel reportedly considering opening consulate in Moroccan part of Western Sahara

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the government's cabinet signs the normalization agreement with Morocco. (Photo: Haim Zach)

King Mohammed VI of Morocco invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to visit the kingdom on an official state visit.

The invitation, which was sent to the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), follows Monday's announcement that Israel officially recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara region.

The Moroccan king reportedly wrote that Netanyahu's visit "will open new opportunities for strengthening the ties between our nations," according to the PMO, which characterized the letter as "warm."

If the visit materializes, this would be the first time that Netanyahu would make an official trip to one of the Arab nations that established normalized ties with Israel via the 2020 Abraham Accords peace agreements.

The PMO said in a statement that it is working on setting a date soon for the prime minister's "first-ever visit" to the North African nation.

Last week, Netanyahu reported that Israel is considering the "opening of a consulate in the town of Dakhla," located in the Moroccan part of Western Sahara.

Israel has drawn close to Morocco in the last few years. Moroccan Israelis make up one of the largest and most vibrant Jewish communities in Israel.

On Monday, Israel Defense Forces appointed Col. Sharon Itach as its first military attaché to Morocco. Itach is of Moroccan origin and currently heads the Home Front Command’s Haifa district.

Roughly one year ago, Israel's then-IDF Chief-of-Staff Aviv Kochavi made the first-ever official visit by an Israeli army chief to Morocco, indicating the burgeoning military ties between the two nations. The framework for military cooperation was formalized in November 2021 when then-Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz signed a defense agreement to include Moroccan-Israeli intelligence sharing and cooperation.

In February 2022, Israel's economy and industry minister signed an economic-commercial mutual trade agreement to expand cooperation between the two countries.

In May, Israeli researchers and their Moroccan counterparts together began investigating the remnants of Jewish life in Morocco.

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