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Blinken meets Moroccan Foreign Minister to discuss normalisat­ion of ties with Israel


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has held talks with Morocco’s Foreign Minister in Washington.

Before the meeting with Nasser Bourita on Monday, Mr Blinken said they would discuss “the very important normalisat­ion of relations between Morocco and Israel – the work that’s being done there”.

In September last year, the UAE and Bahrain normalised relations with Israel under the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Sudan signed the accords in January, a month after Morocco and Israel made a similar agreement.

The accords are considered to be among the most significan­t breakthrou­ghs in the Middle East peace process in years.

Under the agreement, Israel agreed to suspend its planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank.

Since signing the accords in Washington in September last year, the UAE and Israel have opened embassies in each other’s countries, appointed ambassador­s and started to co-operate in sectors such as environmen­t, health and aviation.

Morocco followed suit and, after a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid in August, the two countries agreed to resume diplomatic ties and relaunch direct flights.

Morocco’s Sahara region was also on the agenda when Mr Bourita visited the US.

Last year, Donald Trump, US president at the time, recognised Morocco’s claims over the region.

Since taking office, President Joe Biden’s administra­tion has left the policy of his predecesso­r in place.

Mr Blinken said that the US continued to “view Morocco’s autonomy plan as serious, credible and realistic, and one potential approach to satisfy the aspiration­s of the people” of the region, when he welcomed Mr Bourita to Washington.

Last month, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres appointed Staffan de Mistura, the former UN envoy for Syria, as his representa­tive for the territory.

The post had been vacant for two years after the departure of Horst Kohler.

Mr Bourita said he would also discuss climate change and extremism with Mr Blinken as Morocco and the US seek to “enrich relations”.

Morocco and Israel agreed to resume ties and flights have been relaunched between the two countries

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