U.S. in Talks With Morocco Over Advanced Drone Sale, Sources Say

Sources did not indicate whether the deal was in any way related to the an agreement brokered with U.S. help for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel

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Moroccan King Mohammed VI and U.S. President Donald Trump in Paris for the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, November 11, 2018
Moroccan King Mohammed VI and U.S. President Donald Trump in Paris for the commemoration marking the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, November 11, 2018

The United States is negotiating the sale of at least four sophisticated large aerial drones to Morocco, according to three U.S. sources familiar with the negotiations, and is expected to discuss the deal with members of Congress in the coming days.

The sources did not indicate whether the deal, which has been in the works for several months, was in any way related to the agreement brokered with U.S. help for Morocco to normalize relations with Israel.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced earlier on Thursday that Morocco and Israel agreed to normalize relations, adding that he has signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. 

While the State Department has authorized the sale of the unmanned aerial vehicles, the sources said, it was not known if the U.S. officials have approved exporting the drones with weapons attached, two of the people said.

The deal must be approved by members of Congress, who may receive notification as soon as Friday, one of the people said. Congress could block a final agreement but that was not expected two of the people said.

The four MQ-9B SeaGuardian drones made by General Atomics have a range of 6,000 nautical miles (11,100 km) and could survey huge swaths of sea and desert.

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