DUBAI (Reuters) - Oman welcomed Morocco’s announcement that it was establishing diplomatic ties with Israel and hoped the move would strengthen efforts towards a lasting and just peace in the Middle East, its foreign ministry said on Friday.
Israel and Morocco agreed on Thursday to normalise relations in a deal brokered with U.S. help, making Morocco the fourth Arab country after the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Sudan to set aside hostilities with Israel in the past four months.
In a departure from longstanding U.S. policy, President Donald Trump agreed as part of the deal to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over the disputed territory of Western Sahara.
“(Oman) welcomes what Morocco’s King Mohammed VI announced in his phone calls with U.S President Trump and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, and hopes this will further endeavours to achieve a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the Middle East,” the statement said, without specifically mentioning what had been announced.
In a turbulent region, Oman has maintained its neutrality.
U.S. and Israeli officials have previously suggested that Oman could be another possible candidate for normalisation. Muscat has not commented on its own prospects for normalised relations.
In 2018 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Oman and discussed peace initiatives in the Middle East with then-Omani leader Sultan Qaboos.
A senior Iranian official, however, said Morocco’s normalisation of relations with Israel was a betrayal and a stab in the back of the Palestinians.
The Palestinians view the normalisations as a setback to their aspirations for an independent state free of Israeli occupation.
Writing by Lisa Barrington; Editing by Alison Williams and Angus MacSwan
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