Pompeo to visit 'critical partner' Morocco

State Department officials announce Secretary of State will meet Moroccan King next week, note country's "quiet ties" with Israel.

Arutz Sheva Staff,

Morocco
Morocco
Flash 90

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel next week to Morocco, seeing the kingdom as a partner in US regional goals including normalizing relations with Israel, officials said Wednesday, according to AFP.

Pompeo, the highest-level US visitor to Morocco since President Donald Trump's election, will arrive in Rabat on December 4 and meet with King Mohammed VI, the State Department said.

Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner met the Moroccan King in May as part of a trip in which he discussed the US peace plan for the region.

A State Department official said that Morocco was a "critical partner for us across the range of issues."

"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," the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries to have signed peace treaties with Israel but Morocco, along with some Gulf states such as Bahrain, has been relaxing the Arab world's decades-old boycott of the Jewish state.

In February, unconfirmed reports in Israel said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a secret meeting with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

A month earlier, Moroccan media said talks were under way about a visit by Netanyahu to Morocco. Neither country commented on the reports.

Morocco and Israel announced the opening of bilateral liaison offices in 1994, but those offices were closed in 2000 due to the wave of violence known as the “Second Intifada”.

Morocco supported the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) unilateral move to gain observer status at the United Nations in 2012.

There remains a Jewish community in Morocco, though it is not as large as it once was, with only about 3,000 people of the once 250,000-strong Jewish community still living there.

The State Department official also called Morocco a "great counterterrorism partner," including by bringing back nationals who joined the Islamic State group in Syria.

Last year, Morocco cut diplomatic ties with Iran, accusing Tehran of using its Lebanese terrorist ally Hezbollah to deliver weapons to the Polisario Front, which seeks independence for Western Sahara.




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