Israel has finally recognized Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara, the Moroccan Royal Court said in a statement, following concerns that Morocco might not host an important regional conference .
The decision is a major win for Rabat, which has worked for years to convince countries to recognize its sovereignty over Western Sahara.
On July 17th, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu informed Moroccan King Mohammed VI of the decision in a letter and said that Israel would register its decision with the United Nations and other international organisations. Israel is also considering opening a consulate in the city of Dakhla, the London-based New Arab reported.
The US recognized Moroccan sovereignty over the territory in 2020 in exchange for Rabat’s normalization of ties with Israel as part of the Abraham Accords, which also saw Bahrain and the UAE establish official relations with Israel.
Israeli officials said in June they were debating the move, but in July said they would condition recognition on whether Morocco convened a forum between the US, Israel, and Arab states.
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The Negev summit was set to be held in Morocco later this year. The summit was first held last year at Israel’s Sde Boker kibbutz, which saw the foreign ministers of Israel, the UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Morocco, and the United States come together.
The aim of the meetings is to deepen cooperation between Israel and its Arab neighbours. Morocco cancelled the forum last month in protest against Israel’s military campaign in the occupied West Bank and illegal settlement expansion.
No mention so far has been made on the Moroccan side if the Negev conference will now go ahead under its stewardship but experts imagine an announcement in the coming days will come. Many believe now that Rabat will also be less vocal about Israel’s illegal settlement policies which previously it had raised at ministerial level in recent weeks.