Morocco and Israel sign defence memorandum in Rabat

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By Reuters
Morocco and Israel sign defence memorandum in Rabat
Morocco and Israel sign defence memorandum in Rabat   -   Copyright  Thomson Reuters 2021   -  

<div> <p><span class="caps">JERUSALEM</span>/RABAT -Morocco and Israel signed a defence memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Rabat on Wednesday, opening the way for possible military sales and cooperation after the countries upgraded diplomatic ties last year.</p> <p>A source briefed on the classified MoU said it does not stipulate specific defence deals, but rather provides a legal and regulatory framework for such agreements in the future.</p> <p>In Rabat, Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz signed the document along with Abdellatif Loudiyi, Morocco’s defence administration minister, an Israeli defence spokesperson said.</p> <p>“This is very significant, and it will allow us to exchange ideas, enter into joint projects and enable Israeli exports (to Morocco)” Gantz said in a video clip posted on his Twitter account after he met Loudiyi.</p> <p>Morocco was one of four Arab countries – along with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan – to normalise relations with Israel last year under U.S.-engineered accords.</p> <p>Departing for Rabat on Tuesday, Gantz told reporters he was embarking on “the first formal visit” by an Israeli defence minister to Morocco – implicit acknowledgement of discreet relations dating back decades. </p> <p>In a statement, the Israeli defence spokesperson said the MoU would enable the two countries “to enjoy increased cooperation in the fields of intelligence, industrial collaboration, military training and more”.</p> <p>There was no immediate comment from Morocco on the document.</p> <p>Bezhalel Machlis, <span class="caps">CEO</span> and president of Israeli defence contractor Elbit Systems Ltd, told Reuters on Tuesday that his company saw Morocco as a potential market.</p> <p>Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid travelled to Morocco in August for the first visit by Israel’s top diplomat to that country since 2003.</p> </div>