During a visit by Israeli Foreign Minister to Morocco this week, Yair Lapid stated that Israel and Morocco plan to upgrade their diplomatic relations and open embassies within two months.
On Thursday, Lapid inaugurated Israel’s liaison office in Moroccan capital Rabat and visited a synagogue in Casablanca. Morocco has been home to number of Jews for centuries.
Lapid’s visit was the first by an Israeli foreign minister to Morocco since 2003.
Morocco was one of four Arab countries – along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – to move towards normalising relations with Israel.
Days before Laipid’s visit Southern African state Malawi opened its consulate office in Moroccan Sahara in a show of support.
The inauguration by Malawi of its consular representation in Laayoune is significant, in more than one way, because it comes on the eve of the celebration of the Enthronement Day, in the wake of the opening of 21 other Consulates in the Moroccan Sahara. This affirmed Malawi’s firm and constant support for Morocco’s sovereignty over its Sahara and for its territorial integrity, according to experts on the region.
To date, 23 countries from three continents (Africa, Asia and the Americas) have decided to open Consulates in the two main cities of the Moroccan Sahara, Laayoune and Dakhla.
Malawi is the fifth State of the Development Community of Southern Africa (SADC) to open its Consulate General in the Moroccan Sahara alongside the Comoros, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eswatini and Zambia. In doing so, a third of SADC states have diplomatic representations in the Moroccan Sahara.
Of the 23 countries which have decided to open Consulates in the Moroccan Sahara, 18 are African countries out of the 54 Member States of the African Union. All the sub-regions of the continent are represented in the Moroccan Sahara: 8 from West Africa, four from Central Africa, five from Southern Africa and one from for Eastern Africa.
India’s ties with Morocco has been transformed in the last half a decade following strengthening of security cooperation and conclusion of nearly 40 pacts in areas including IT, education, culture, agriculture, mutual legal assistance, extradition, as the North African country wants to emerge as India’s gateway to Southern Europe and Africa.
India’s ties with Morocco go back to the 14th century, when the famous traveller and writer from Tangier, Ibn Batuta travelled to India. India was among the first countries to recognise Morocco on June 20, 1956, and relations were soon established with the country in 1957.
In 2017, India assisted with Morocco’s efforts to re-enter the African Union, being the largest Asian recipient of the African nation’s investment. Its unique geographical proximity, and experience in dealing with extremist elements in a successful way makes it a key counter-terror and de-radicalisation partner for India in North Africa.
Moroccan Justice Minister Mohamed Auajjar during his India visit few years back had told ET that “Morocco has a well-established school of counter-terrorism, which is globally recognised. We have counter-terror cooperation including bilateral legal arrangements with major countries to fight terror. Given the expansion in ties with India and mutual interest, we decided to sign these treaties with Delhi, taking our counter-terror partnership to the next level.”
The country is located just 14 kilometres away from the European coast, and its strategic location at the crossroads of the main trade routes linking America, Africa, Europe and the Middle East, makes it an important trading partner.