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Thursday, August 11, 2022

Israeli army chief arrives in Morocco on first visit

Military sources said the Israeli army chief arrived in Morocco on Monday for a meeting with senior defense officials, as cooperation between the countries expands after the normalization of relations.

Aviv Kohavi’s three-day visit is the first official visit by an Israeli army chief to the North African kingdom.

An Israeli spokesman said Kohavi would meet with Representative Abdeltif Loudi, the representative in charge of Morocco’s defense administration, as well as the Inspector General of the Royal Armed Forces, Lieutenant General Belkhir Al Farouk, and senior defense officials.

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Morocco severed ties with Israel in 2000 after the outbreak of the Second Palestinian Intifada, but re-established ties two decades later in a deal in which Washington recognized Rabat’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.

Since then, a steady stream of Moroccan and Israeli officials have visited each other’s countries and signed cooperation deals in various fields.

They have included Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz, who signed a security agreement last November on a state visit to Rabat to make it easier for Rabat to gain high-tech exports from Israel’s defense industry.

Last month, Israeli military observers took part in the annual “African Lion” military exercise for the first time – a massive exercise involving thousands of personnel from several countries co-organized by Morocco and the US.

And in March, an Israeli army delegation met with Moroccan officials in Rabat, the first of its kind since the 2020 normalization deal, to sign a military cooperation agreement.

The North African kingdom’s improving relations with Israel re-ignited its long-standing rivalry with Algeria, which broke diplomatic ties with Rabat in August last year.

Algiers cited “hostile acts” and Morocco’s ties – on military and security issues – with the “Zionist entity”, referring to Israel.

Morocco considers Western Sahara an integral part of the state, while the Algerian-backed Polisario Front has long called for an independence referendum there.

Read more:

Israel sends observers for military exercises in Morocco

Top Israeli general in first Moroccan visit to explore defense deals

World Nation News Desk
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