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Lapid touches down in Morocco to kick off historic visit

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RABAT, Morocco — Foreign Minister Yair Lapid landed in Rabat for a two-day visit to Morocco on Wednesday, the first official visit by Israel’s top diplomat since 2003 and the highest-level trip since an agreement was signed by Jerusalem and Rabat last year to reestablish ties after some two decades.

Lapid was greeted with fist bumps on the tarmac by Morocco’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mohcine Jazouli, Foreign Ministry Director-General Fouad Yazur and Foreign Ministry head of protocol Anas Khales.

Lapid and Jazouli then walked together to a conference room in the airport to hold an official meeting.

Lapid was then set to officially open up the Israeli Liaison Office in Rabat in the afternoon, and meet with his Moroccan counterpart, Nasser Bourita.

Bourita and Lapid will sign framework agreements in aviation, culture, and diplomatic relations.

On Thursday, Lapid will spend time in Casablanca with the local Jewish community and will pray in the Beth-El Synagogue there.

The trip is the fruit of a US-brokered deal for Morocco to resume ties with Israel, which were cut off in 2000 following the outbreak of the Second Intifada. Though the countries are not establishing full ties, Israeli officials have said they expect Rabat to eventually upgrade the relationship and establish embassies.

“This historic visit is a continuation of the longstanding friendship and deep roots and traditions that the Jewish community in Morocco, and the large community of Israelis with origins in Morocco, have,” Lapid said in a statement, referring to the million-plus Israelis of Moroccan heritage, many of whom........

© The Times of Israel

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