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Morocco denies ‘rumours’ of Netanyahu visit

February 22, 2019 at 9:16 am

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on 21 January 2019 [Mehahem Kahana/AFP/Getty Images]

The Moroccan government yesterday denied that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was planning to visit Rabat, describing the reports as “mere rumours”.

Government spokesman Mustapha El-Khalfi told reporters “regarding Netanyahu’s visit to Rabat, I do not answer these rumours”.

Moroccan activists have in recent days quoted Israeli media as reporting that Netanyahu will visit the kingdom in March or April, expressing their rejection of the visit.

READ: Israel’s Netanyahu secretly met Morocco foreign minister

Last month, scores of people took part in a protest outside the parliament building in Rabat demanding the government not to receive Netanyahu.

Are Arab nations normalising their relation with Israel...- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

Are Arab nations normalising their relation with Israel…- Cartoon [Sabaaneh/MiddleEastMonitor]

At the time, the Moroccan Observatory against Normalisation with Israel, which organised the protest, said in a statement that the purpose of the visit was to present a US proposal to resolve the Western Sahara issue. However, local newspapers reported that the visit is part of an inauguration ceremony of a synagogue that has recently been renovated in the western city of Essaouira.

The Moroccan government has previously confirmed that the kingdom maintains no official, political or commercial relations with Israel.

About two weeks ago, Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on reports that the prime minister would visit Morocco ahead of Israel’s general elections scheduled for April.

READ: Calls for Morocco to clarify reports of secret meeting between FM and Israel PM