Blinken hosts Moroccan foreign minister to discuss normalisation of ties with Israel

US secretary of state hosts Nasser Bourita in Washington

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken met Morocco's foreign minister in Washington on Monday.

Mr Blinken said, before his meeting with Nasser Bourita, that they would "talk about the very important normalisation of relations between Morocco and Israel – the work that’s being done there,” .

Rabat last year signed the US-brokered Abraham Accords, which normalised relations between the UAE, Bahrain, Morocco, Sudan and Israel.

The landmark agreement, signed in Washington in August last year, was seen as one of the most significant breakthroughs in the Middle East peace process in recent years.

Under the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.

Since August last year, the UAE and Israel have opened new embassies, exchanged ambassadors and started to co-operate on environmental, health and aviation issues.

Morocco followed suit and, after a visit by then Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid, the two countries agreed in December to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights.

Morocco's Sahara region was also on the agenda during Mr Bourita's visit to the the US.

Last year, Donald Trump, US president at the time, recognised Morocco’s claims over the region. Since taking office, Joe Biden’s administration has left the policy of his predecessor in place.

Mr Blinken said that the US continued to "view Morocco's autonomy plan as serious, credible and realistic, and one potential approach to satisfy the aspirations of the people," when he welcomed the foreign minister to Washington.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Staffan de Mistura — the former UN envoy for Syria — as his envoy for the territory last month. The post had remained vacant for two years following the departure of Mr de Mistura’s predecessor, Horst Kohler.

In addition to discussing the normalisation of ties with Israel and the Sahara, Mr Bourita said that he would also discuss climate change and extremism with Mr Blinken, as Morocco and the US seek to “enrich relations.”

Updated: November 23rd 2021, 3:58 PM
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