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COP22: Morocco denies normalisation charges after hosting Israeli delegation

Mezouar argued that Morocco had to comply with the UN rules [AFP]

Date of publication: 9 November, 2016

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Morocco has denied normalising relations with Israel after welcoming Israeli representatives to a UN climate change conference held in Marrakesh.

The Moroccan government has denied accusations of normalising relations with Israel after hosting an Israeli delegation at the COP22, the United Nations Conference on Climate Change in Marrakesh.

"The climate change conference is a multilateral meeting that includes many United Nations member states, and Israel is one of them," Moroccan Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar told reporters on Tuesday.

Asked about the controversy surrounding the Israeli delegation's attendance at the conference, Mezouar said that the battle to combat serious climate changes was important to "all humanity" and involved all world governments.

He argued that Morocco had to comply with the UN rules that require the host country to receive all guests of the member states, adding that Palestine was also present at the event.

"Morocco was one of the first countries to support Palestine's right to an independent state and to become an observing member of the United Nations," he said.

"No one can bid against the kingdom's efforts to defend the legitimate rights of the Palestinian state," he added.

"Morocco is not willing to be lectured by anyone."

The attendance of the Israeli delegation at the COP22 conference has provoked local outrage, with the Moroccan Coalition for Human Rights Organisations describing the raising of the Israeli flag on Moroccan soil as "highly provocative" and "flagrant normalisation".

"Hosting representatives of the Zionist entity in Morocco and raising its flag on our soil contradicts universal human rights values and principles," the coalition said in a statement obtained by The New Arab.

"It blatantly defies the peoples of an anti-normalisation region," it added, demanding an explanation from the Moroccan government.

Morocco is one of several Arab countries with limited official diplomatic relations with Israel.

In 2013, five political parties in Morocco jointly sponsored two bills to outlaw normalisation with Israeli entities.

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