Morocco's King Meets Israeli Acting Foreign Minister
Morocco's King Mohammed on Monday met Israel's Acting Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami to discuss the deadlocked Middle East peace process, reported Reuters, quoting a senior official.
"His Majesty King Mohammed received today Israel's envoy Shlomo Ben-Ami over ways to revive the Middle East peace process," said the official, who declined to be named.
According to the agency, plans for the meeting were not made public in advance.
The one-hour discussion was held in the royal palace of Agadir in the presence of Foreign Minister Mohamed Benaissa, the official said without giving further details.
The Israeli foreign ministry issued a statement confirming Ben-Ami's "secret" visit to Morocco on Monday to discuss moves to unblock the Middle East peace process and to discuss ways to advance the negotiations with the Palestinians.
"Arafat's moment of truth has come and the Palestinian leader must make political decisions rather than turn the negotiations into a bickering match," the Israeli Foreign ministry statement said.
The talks also covered possible solutions to the Jerusalem issue, said the statement.
It added that "Ben-Ami told the Moroccan monarch that (Israeli Prime Minister Ehud) Barak "was not bringing new ideas to New York, but instead expected answers from Arafat."
The Committee of the Islamic Conference Organization last week held its 18th meeting in the same city and called for a resumption of talks between Israel and Palestinians, reported AFP.
But the committee also insisted on Palestinian demands that east Jerusalem become "the capital" of a future Palestinian state.
"We hope that negotiations would resume soon to revive the Middle East peace process in the horizon of a final and global solution," the Moroccan monarch said a week ago, said AFP.
But he added that a "real and fair peace" in the Middle East was impossible without the return of Arab east Jerusalem, occupied by Israel in 1967.
Ben Ami last week made a European tour to further explain Israel's position in the peace talks with the Palestinians, meeting with officials in France, Italy, Britain, Germany and the Netherlands, reported AFP.
Both the Israelis and the Palestinians have embarked on intensive diplomatic campaigning to muster support following the collapse of the US-sponsored Camp David peace summit last month, primarily over the key stumbling block of Jerusalem's future, said AFP - (Several Sources)
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