King Mohammed VI of Morocco
King Mohammed VI of Morocco Reuters

Morocco's king has cancelled plans to attend a West Africa summit this weekend in Liberia due to the presence of Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministry said.

The North African country is hoping to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the African Union readmitted Morocco after a 33-year absence in January.

King Mohammed VI had been due to attend the ECOWAS summit in Monrovia on Saturday and Sunday, where members are expected to discuss Morocco's petition to join the bloc as a "full member", the foreign ministry said late Thursday, according to AFP.

But key members of ECOWAS "have decided to reduce to the minimum their level of representation at the summit because they disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu being invited," the ministry said in a statement.

The king "wishes his first visit to a ECOWAS summit not take place in a context of tension and controversy", it said.

Netanyahu is expected to attend the summit from Sunday at the head of a large diplomatic and economic delegation.

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.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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