Morocco king ‘withdraws from Ecowas summit’

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Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has cancelled plans to attend a summit of West African leaders in Liberia because of the presence of Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministry has said, AFP news agency reports.

The North African state is hoping to join the Economic Community of West African States (Ecowas) after the African Union readmitted it as a member in January after a 33-year absence, AFP adds.

Mohamed VI had been due to attend the summit in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, on Saturday and Sunday, but key members of Ecowas have decided to “reduce to the minimum their level of representation” because they disagreed with the invitation issued to Mr Netanyahu, the ministry said in a statement.

The king “wishes his first visit to an ecowas summit not take place in a context of tension and controversy”, it added.

Mr Netanyahu is expected to attend the summit from Sunday as the head of a large diplomatic and economic delegation, his office said.

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