Netanyahu secretly met Morocco's foreign minister: Report

Talks on the sidelines of UN General Assembly revolved around countering Iranian influence, restoring diplomatic ties.

    An Israeli official said Netanyahu was interested in making a public visit to Morocco, similar to the one he made to Oman last year [Sebastian Scheiner/Reuters]
    An Israeli official said Netanyahu was interested in making a public visit to Morocco, similar to the one he made to Oman last year [Sebastian Scheiner/Reuters]

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held secret talks with Morocco's Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in September, US news website Axios has reported.

    The meeting, which took place on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, included the two countries' efforts to curb Iranian influence in the region, the website reported on Monday.

    The North African kingdom cut ties with Iran in May over the latter's support for the Polisario Front, a Western Saharan independence movement.

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    Bourita told Al Jazeera at the time that Rabat had incriminating evidence on Iran's role in supporting the secessionist movement.

    Morocco's chief diplomat said Hezbollah agents provided financial as well as logistical support to the Polisario through the Iranian embassy in neighbouring Algeria.

    Netanyahu and Bourita also discussed restoring ties between the two countries, which enjoyed full diplomatic relations in the years between 1995 and 2000, after the Oslo Accords had been signed between Israel and the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO).

    An Israeli official said Netanyahu was interested in making a public visit to Morocco, similar to the one he made to Oman last year. 

    The prime minister's office declined to confirm the meeting had taken place, saying, "We do not comment on contacts with countries Israel has no formal relations with."

    There was no comment from the Moroccan authorities on the report.

    With the exception of Jordan and Egypt, which have signed peace agreements with Israel, no Arab state has official relations with Tel Aviv.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies