Israel and Morocco bolstered military ties during meetings on Tuesday between the Jewish state’s army chief and Moroccan defense officials in the kingdom, amid tension with Algeria.
Israeli Chief of General Staff of the Israel Defense Forces Aviv Kohavi, who arrived on Monday, met with Moroccan Royal Armed Forces Inspector General Belkhir el-Farouk, an Israeli army statement said.
Kohavi also met with Abdellatif Loudiyi, Morocco’s minister delegate in charge of defense administration, and Brahim Hassani, Morocco’s head of intelligence, the statement said.
Photo: AFP / HO / RAF
During the discussions, the Moroccan side said that it had “interest in jointly setting up industrial defense projects in Morocco,” the kingdom’s army chief said in a separate statement.
“The meetings discussed opportunities for military cooperation, both in exercises and training, as well as in the operational and intelligence fields,” it said.
Morocco cut relations with Israel in 2000 following the outbreak of the second Palestinian intifada, but re-established ties two decades later in a deal that saw Washington recognize Rabat’s sovereignty over the disputed Western Sahara.
Since then, a steady stream of Moroccan and Israeli officials have visited each others’ countries and signed cooperation deals.
They have included Israeli Minister of Defense Benny Gantz, who on a visit to the kingdom in November last year signed a security agreement making it easier for Rabat to acquire high-tech exports from Israel’s defense industry.
Last month, Israeli military observers for the first time attended the annual “African Lion” military exercise — drills involving thousands of personnel from several nations co-organized by Morocco and the US.
In March, an Israeli army delegation met with Moroccan officers in Rabat, in the first visit of its kind since the 2020 normalization deal, signing a military cooperation agreement.
The North African kingdom’s mending of relations with Israel reignited its rivalry with Algeria, which in August last year cut diplomatic ties with Rabat.
Algiers cited “hostile acts” and Morocco’s relations — including on military and security issues — with “the Zionist entity,” referring to Israel.
Morocco considers the Western Sahara an integral part of the kingdom, while the Algeria-backed Polisario Front seeks an independence referendum there.
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