Thursday, November 03, 2005

Israeli president invites Moroccan king to visit

JERUSALEM, Nov 2 (Reuters) - Israel has invited Morocco's King Mohammed to visit the Jewish state, a spokeswoman for the Israeli president said on Wednesday.

Israeli President Moshe Katsav issued the invitation at a meeting with an adviser of the Moroccan leader in Jerusalem for a conference on Moroccan Jewry, spokeswoman Hagit Cohen said.

In their talks, "he (Katsav) stressed that we have to renew official diplomatic ties between the two countries," Cohen said.

The king's aide, Andre Azulai, said he would convey the invitation, she said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom has said he hoped to improve ties with the Arab world after Israel's troop withdrawal from the Gaza Strip in September, ending 38 years of occupation on land Palestinians seek for a state.

"The iron wall that has defined Israel's relations with most of the Arab and Muslim world for generations is coming down," Shalom said in September at the United Nations General Assembly session where he met more than 10 Arab or Muslim colleagues.

Shalom was expected to attend a U.N. summit on information technology in Tunisia later this month.

Only two Arab countries have full diplomatic ties with Israel, Egypt which signed a treaty in 1979, and Jordan, in 1994.

Morocco was one of three countries, including Tunisia and Oman, that suspended low-level ties with the Jewish state after the outbreak of a Palestinian uprising in 2000. The ties had been launched after an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal reached in 1993.


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