Trump gives award to Morocco's king for Israeli normalization

TEHRAN, Jan. 16 (MNA) – US President Donald Trump has awarded a top US honor to King Mohammed VI of Morocco, citing his decision to begin the normalization of relations with the Israeli regime.

The Legion of Merit is a rarely awarded decoration that can only be bestowed by the president, and typically on heads of state or government of other countries, Y Net News Reported.

The honor comes after the United States in December recognized Morocco's sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory, including the disputed area between southern Morocco and Mauritania. Morocco, in turn, agreed to resume partial diplomatic ties with Israel in the near future.

King Mohammed was not in Washington to accept the award. Morocco’s ambassador to the US, Princess Lalla Joumala, accepted it on his behalf in a private ceremony, according to a White House statement.

US President Donald Trump also received Morocco’s highest award for his work in advancing a normalization deal between Israel regime and Morocco, a senior administration official told Reuters.

In a private Oval Office ceremony, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui gave Trump the Order of Muhammad, an award given only to heads of state. It was a gift from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz received other awards for their work on the Israel-Morocco deal, which was reached in December.

Palestinian groups have strongly condemned the normalization of ties between some Arab states and Tel Aviv, describing it as a stab in the back of the Palestinian cause. 

ZZ/PR

News Code 168612

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