Ties with Israel, India can foster peace in West Asia, says Moroccan Ambassador

An India-Morocco-Israel trilateral partnership can help achieve peace in West Asia as well as create a win-win in food security, agriculture business, information technology, textiles, pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, handicrafts and tourism, Morocco’s ambassador to India Mohamed Maliki said.

India has close ties with both Israel and Morocco and India and Israel could benefit from the strong presence of Moroccan companies in Africa and launch joint initiatives for the development of the African continent through a trilateral cooperation based on win-win basis, Maliki told ET, close on the heels of the reactivation of diplomatic ties between Morocco and Israel.

Morocco, a close ally of the US, is the second largest African investor in that continent and the biggest African investor in the West African region.

“India and Morocco, thanks to their connections in the Middle East, can play a bigger role to achieve peace in this strategic region … India, which has also very good and friendly relations with Israel is called to play an active and important role to reach this objective, especially as a member of the Security Council of the United Nations, to bring lasting peace in the Middle East,” said the envoy, who had played a key role in boosting India-Morocco relations in the past four years.

A triangular cooperation (Israel-India-Morocco) has the potential to create a win-win situation for all the three countries, Maliki said, adding: “…each country offers comparative advantages and a lot of added value to each other.”

When asked about the recent move to establish formal ties between Morocco and Israel, Maliki recalled that Israel’s relations with Morocco were special and could not be compared with the relations that Israel had with any other country in the region. “This is to say that, from our perspective, we aren’t talking about ‘normalisation’, because relations have always existed at different levels. So, we are talking about ‘reactivation’ of the diplomatic mechanisms and economic relations between the two countries. In fact, liaison offices both in Rabat and Tel Aviv were operational between 1994 (and) until 2002.”

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The Jewish component is a part of the Moroccan identity and culture. The late King Mohammed V (grandfather of current King Mohammed VI) is admired by Moroccan Jews for his role in protecting the Moroccan Jewish community from the Nazi regime and the Vichy government. Morocco has a vibrant Jewish community with thriving synagogues, schools and cemeteries. Moroccan Jews have played, and continue to play, key roles in that country’s political life, by serving as a senior royal adviser, ambassador-at-large and other high official positions.

Currently, out of 8-9 million citizens of Israel, around 1.5 million, according to Israeli officials, are of Moroccan origin and many of them have been in high official positions including ministers. Now with reactivation of relations, direct flights have started between the two countries. The inaugural flight landed in Rabat on December 22.


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