Morocco's king has cancelled plans to attend a West Africa summit this weekend in Liberia due to the presence of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the foreign ministry has said.
The North African country is hoping to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) after the African Union readmitted Morocco after a 33-year absence in January.
Mohamed VI had been due to attend the ECOWAS summit in Monrovia on Saturday and Sunday, where members are expected to discuss Morocco's petition to join the bloc as a "full member", the foreign ministry said late Thursday.
But key members of ECOWAS "have decided to reduce to the minimum their level of representation at the summit because they disagree with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu being invited," the ministry said in a statement.
The king "wishes his first visit to a ECOWAS summit not take place in a context of tension and controversy", it said.
Netanyahu is expected to attend the summit from Sunday at the head of a large diplomatic and economic delegation, his office said.