Israel Reopens Morocco Mission After Two Decades; Consul General Arrives in Dubai

Head of mission arrives in Rabat for first time since Morocco suspended ties with Israel in 2000

Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz
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Morocco and Israel sign agreements at the guest house next to the royal palace in Rabat, Morocco, Dec. 22, 2020.
Morocco and Israel sign agreements at the guest house next to the royal palace in Rabat, Morocco, Dec. 22, 2020.Credit: AP Photo / Abdeljalil Bounhar
Judy Maltz
Judy Maltz

Israel’s liaison office in Rabat was reopened on Tuesday as David Govrin, formerly ambassador to Egypt, assumed his role as head of mission two decades after diplomatic ties were suspended by Morocco.

Morocco is expected to reopen its consulate in Tel Aviv in the coming days.

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Israel and Morocco announced the renewal of diplomatic ties on December 10. In a declaration signed in Rabat on December 22, both sides agreed to exchange ambassadors and establish embassies, as well as to launch direct flights.

Tuesday also saw the arrival in Dubai of Israel’s consul general in the United Arab Emirates, Ilan Sztulman. According to the Foreign Ministry, one of the consulate’s main missions will be developing economic ties and promoting tourism, and Israel’s high-tech sector will also play a role.

The offices in Rabat and Dubai join the Israeli embassies in Abu Dhabi, which was opened this week, and in Bahrain’s capital Manama, which opened several weeks ago.

On Monday, an Israeli cabinet member, Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen, for the first time led an official delegation to Sudan to discuss moving forward on normalizing relations.

U.S. President Joe Biden has said he wants to build on Israel’s deals with the UAE, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco that were part of a final foreign policy push by the former Trump administration.

“This is an important day for peace, and this is an exciting day in the process of implementing the agreements with the UAE and Morocco,” said Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi on Tuesday. “I congratulate the Israeli teams and wish them success in their important work. The Foreign ministry and the Israeli missions have a decisive role in the promotion of bilateral ties between Israel and these countries, and in the realization of the potential that lies in these relations.”

The agreement to establish full diplomatic ties between Israel and Morocco drew controversy over its inclusion of a U.S. recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara region.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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