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Israel reopens liaison office in Morocco

The mission's reopening comes a month after Israel and Morocco agreed to establish diplomatic and economic ties.
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A month after striking a US-mediated deal to normalize relations with Morocco, Israel on Tuesday reopened its liaison office in Rabat more than 20 years after shuttering it. 

“This is living proof of the changes in the region and the warm peace between us and countries in the region,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said. 

David Govrin, who previously served as Israel’s ambassador to Egypt, is temporarily running the mission in the Moroccan capital until Israel formally appoints an ambassador. 

Last month, Morocco joined Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan in moving to establish ties with the Jewish state. As part of the Trump administration-brokered Morocco deal, the United States recognized Rabat’s contested claim over the Western Sahara region.

The mission’s opening in Rabat follows the Israeli Cabinet vote Sunday to formally approve normalized ties with Morocco. The agreement, which still requires a green light from parliament, calls for “full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations” and a restoration of contacts between Israeli and Moroccan counterparts. 

Morocco and Israel established ties following the Oslo Accords, but the kingdom severed relations and the two countries shuttered their respective diplomatic missions after the second Palestinian intifada in 2000. 

Because the Moroccan government owned the property that housed Israel’s liaison office in the 1990s, Israel was able to quickly reopen the facility after agreeing to restore relations with Morocco on Dec. 10, the Times of Israel reports. 

“The arrival of the heads of missions to Morocco and Dubai completes the first, important phase of opening new Israeli missions in the region as part of the Abraham Accords,” Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi said. 

In the UAE, Consul General Ilan Sztulman arrived Tuesday in Dubai for the opening of Israel’s consulate and days earlier, the Israeli envoy Eitan Na’eh opened the Israeli Embassy in Abu Dhabi. 

“‘Excited to be here’ [is] an understatement,” Na’eh tweeted.

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