JERUSALEM: Israeli President Shimon Peres has cancelled a trip to Morocco after his requests to meet King Mohammed VI were spurned, an Israeli official said on Monday.
The Israeli leader was to have attended a gathering of global figures at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East and North Africa in Marrakech from October 26 to 28, the official from Peres’s office said.
"President Peres decided to turn down the invitation from the Forum after being informed that King Mohammed VI would not meet with him at this time over the ongoing political situation with the Palestinians," she said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
"The king let the president know that he is welcome to visit Morocco to participate in the Forum but that he would prefer to meet under other circumstances," she added.
Peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, aimed at reaching an agreement within a year, broke down in late September after temporary Israeli restrictions on Jewish settlement construction in the occupied West Bank expired.
The talks, which had begun only three weeks earlier, now face collapse over Israel’s refusal to reimpose the restrictions and the Palestinians’ refusal to continue talking while Jewish settlers build on land they want for a future state.
Morocco is one of the few Arab countries to receive Israeli officials despite the absence of formal diplomatic relations. Egypt, Jordan and Mauritania are the only Arab states to have forged full diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.