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Moroccan king invites Israeli PM for state visit

By Xinhua

RABAT, July 19 (Xinhua) -- Moroccan King Mohammed VI has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for a state visit to boost bilateral ties, the Moroccan royal cabinet announced Wednesday.
   The invitation came in a letter sent by King Mohammed VI to Netanyahu, in which he thanked Israel for its decision to recognize the sovereignty of the North African country over the Western Sahara and its intention to consider opening a consulate in the city of Dakhla.
   The letter said such a visit would "open up new possibilities for bilateral relations between Morocco and Israel," as well as "promote the prospects of peace for all peoples in the region."
   The Moroccan king also recalled in his letter the "smooth development" of relations between the two countries since they were resumed in December 2020, including the exchange of visits by officials and business communities, and the consolidation of mutual trade.
   In his message, the Moroccan king said Israel's "clear position" to recognize Morocco's sovereignty over Western Sahara "will contribute to closer ties between Morocco and Israel," assuring Netanyahu of his "firm and unwavering commitment" to the relationship.
   Israel announced on Monday its recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The announcement was welcomed by Morocco, which has long claimed the territory.
   Western Sahara was partitioned between Morocco and Mauritania at the end of Spain's colonial rule in 1976. When Mauritania, under pressure from Polisario Front guerrillas, abandoned all claims to its portion in August 1979, Morocco moved to occupy the portion and has since asserted administrative control over the whole territory. The Algeria-based Polisario Front has been fighting for the independence of Western Sahara.  Enditem
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