“In recent months, Morocco has begun to link the opening of an embassy in Tel Aviv with the official recognition of the Israeli government in Western Sahara,” reports four current and former Israeli officials directly involved in the matter. Israeli news site Axios in its edition of January 4, 2023.
President Trump’s recognition of sub-Saharan Morocco two years ago was part of a larger deal that included restoring diplomatic ties between Israel and Morocco. Morocco has opened diplomatic liaison offices in Israel instead of an embassy, but King Mohammed VI said during a call to Netanyahu in January 2021 that he was committed to opening an embassy in the country. .
During a visit to Morocco in June 2022, then Israeli Interior Minister Ayelet Sheikh told local media that Israel recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. But Israel’s foreign ministry quickly backtracked on Sheikh’s statement, saying “Morocco’s autonomy plan for Western Sahara is a positive development.” A few weeks later, Israel’s former justice minister, Gideon Sarr, visited Morocco and publicly declared that Western Sahara was part of Morocco. But Israel’s Foreign Ministry again distanced itself from the statement and reiterated its nuanced position.
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