Israel, Morocco agree to full diplomatic relations (Ld)

Washington, Dec 11 : Israel and Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations as US President Donald Trump said that Washington recognises Rabat’s sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory.

In a series of tweets on Thursday, Trump announced: “Today, I signed a proclamation recognising 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 full diplomatic relations, a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East.

“Morocco recognized the US in 1777. It is thus fitting we recognise their sovereignty over the Western Sahara.”

Also in a statement confirming the development, the White House said that Trump and Moroccan King Mohammed VI spoke on the phone earlier in the day.

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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 statement said.

Mohammed VI, for his part, “agreed to resume diplomatic relations between Morocco and Israel and expand economic and cultural cooperation to advance regional stability.”

Trump’s senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner told reporters in a briefing call on Thursday that Morocco and Israel would open liaison offices in Rabat and Tel Aviv and begin direct flights.

Morocco is the fourth Arab state that has recognised Israel in recent months after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan.

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Morocco severed relations with Israel in 2000 after the second Palestinian uprising.

Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania at the end of Spain’s colonial rule in 1976.

When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy that sector and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory.

Fighting broke out between Morocco and the Polisario Front, which is fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.

A ceasefire was signed in 1991.

The UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO) was deployed that year to monitor the ceasefire and to organise, if possible, a referendum on self-determination of the people of Western Sahara.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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