Published: 13:22, December 12, 2020 | Updated: 08:25, June 5, 2023
US proposes US$1b arms sale to Morocco after Israel deal
By Bloomberg

This undated photo shows an MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicle flying over the Nevada Test and Training Range on Jan 14, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)

The US has proposed selling as much as US$1 billion in weapons including Reaper drones to Morocco, just a day after US President Donald Trump paved the way for a diplomatic deal with Israel by recognizing the country’s claims of sovereignty over Western Sahara.

The State Department sent informal notification of the proposed sale on Friday to Congress, which gets the ball rolling for formal processing of the sale, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing a sale that hasn’t been formally announced.

The State Department sent informal notification of the proposed sale on Friday to Congress, which gets the ball rolling for formal processing of the sale, according to two people familiar with the matter

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The agreement includes four weapons-capable MQ-9 Reaper drones along with laser-guided munitions, the people said. Reuters reported earlier that the deal was in the works.

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On Thursday, Trump said Morocco and Israel agreed to establish full diplomatic relations and that he was recognizing Morocco’s sovereignty over the long disputed region of Western Sahara. That decision defied a global consensus and United Nations resolutions in which the international community declined to take sides in a conflict that has lingered in the years since a 1991 cease-fire.

Sporadic fighting between Morocco and the rebel group known as the Polisario Front claimed about 9,000 lives over 16 years.