TRUMP MAKES DEAL WITH MOROCCO TO NORMALIZE TIES WITH ISRAEL

President Donald J. Trump announced Thursday that Morocco has agreed to establish full diplomatic relations with Israel.The Moroccan decision comes as part of the deal that includes recognition of the disputed territory of Western Sahara region as part of Morocco.

Trump sent out a tweet saying, “Today, I signed a proclamation recognizing Moroccan sovereignty over the Western Sahara. Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal is the ONLY basis for a just and lasting solution for enduring peace and prosperity!”

“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to a full diplomatic relations, a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!”

Morocco is the fourth Arab country to move toward normalization with Israel in the last four months as part of the Trump administration’s Abraham Accords initiative. But the deal also involves a change in longstanding U.S. policy with the possibility that Trump may not retain the presidency.

While the normalization deal is a win for Israel and a significant achievement for Trump, recognition of Western Sahara as part of Morocco is a big shift in U.S. policy, and a major diplomatic achievement for Morocco.

Trump said Israel and Morocco would restore diplomatic and other relations, including the immediate reopening of liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv and the eventual opening of embassies. U.S. officials said it would also include joint overflight rights for airlines.

The White House said Trump and Morocco’s King Mohammed VI had agreed in a conversation that Morocco would “resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural cooperation to advance regional stability.”

The U.S. will also recognize the country’s claim over Western Sahara, the former Spanish North African territory that has been a long-running dispute that has confounded international negotiators for decades, the White House said in a statement.

“The president reaffirmed his support for Morocco’s serious, credible, and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory and as such the president recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory,” the White House said.

During the conversation, the king agreed to resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural cooperation to advance regional stability. Jared Kushner, Senior Advisor to President Trump in a briefing with reporters said that Morocco had agreed to resume official contacts with Israel, allow Israeli airlines to use Moroccan airspace, and begin direct flights between the countries.

Israel and Morocco established low-level diplomatic relations during the 1990s following Israel’s interim peace accords with the Palestinians, but those ties were suspended after the outbreak of the second Palestinian uprising in 2000. Since then, however, the informal ties have continued, and an estimated 50,000 Israelis travel to Morocco each year on trips to learn about the Jewish community and retrace their family histories.The U.S. is now the only Western country to recognize Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara.

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