Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El Othmani
Moroccan Prime Minister Saad-Eddine El OthmaniReuters

Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Dine El Otmani on Tuesday appeared to walk back his comments in which he said his country would not normalize relations with Israel, Times of Israel reports.

El Otmani told the French-language news site Le360 that his comments on the weekend in opposition to normalize ties with Israel were made in his capacity as leader of the Islamist PJD party, not as Prime Minister.

He added that he had just been reiterating a long-held position of his party and did not comment further on the matter.

El Otmani’s comments followed the deal between the UAE and Israel to normalize ties.

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.

Earlier this year it was reported that Israel and the US were discussing a deal that would see the US recognize Moroccan sovereignty in the Western Sahara and Morocco take steps to normalize relations with Israel.