Israel and Morocco on Thursday agreed to normalise relations in a deal brokered with the help of the United States.
The deal makes Morocco the fourth Arab country to normalise relations with Israel in the past four months, the other being the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan. The US-led efforts are aimed at rolling back the regional influence of Iran, which the White House considers the most dangerous force in the region.
The agreement comes at a key moment in the long-frozen conflict in Western Sahara between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front independence movement, which erupted again last month after three decades of truce. As part of the deal, outgoing US president Donald Trump agreed to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the Western Sahara.
“Another HISTORIC breakthrough today! Our two GREAT friends Israel and the Kingdom of Morocco have agreed to full diplomatic relations – a massive breakthrough for peace in the Middle East!”, Trump tweeted.
The Morocco deal could be among the last that Trump’s team will negotiate before giving way to the incoming administration of president-elect Joe Biden, which is due to take office on January 20. Biden will now face a decision whether to accept the US deal on the Western Sahara, which no other Western nation has done.