First Israel-Africa summit called off following boycott threats

12 September, 2017, 15:35 | Author: Lula Armstrong
  • First Israel-Africa summit called off following boycott threats

In preparation for the summit, Togo invited 54 African countries to participate in the four-day African Israeli Summit in which 20 to 30 heads of state were expected to take part. He offered developmental assistance and economic cooperation, as well as experience in fighting terrorism.

No new date has been set yet.

Last week and during some festive ceremonies in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu announced his campaign of diplomatic communications with Africa as one of his principal foreign policy goals.

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It added that an agreed upon date would be set later by both countries.

Emmanuel Nahshon, a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman in a statement said "In response to the request by the president of Togo and following consultations between him and the prime minister, it was chose to put off the Israel-Africa Summit to a future, agreed-upon date".

Last month, Israel played down pro-Palestinian efforts to obstruct the summit, with officials expressing confidence that Netanyahu would meet with African leaders keen on promoting political and economic ties with the Jewish state there.

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Nevertheless, Israel tried to put a positive spin on developments despite them being a significant setback to Netanyahu's spin and public position that Israel's current foreign relations were now substantially less negatively impacted by the Israel- Palestine conflict than in the past.

Israel has diplomatic relations with 40 out of 48 countries in southern Africa. Although the African nations usually vote in a bloc, following the decisions of the African Union, there have been recent instances of schisms within the bloc.

Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani, also welcomed the decision, adding that: "The State of Palestine welcomes the position adopted by South Africa and other African states to shun this propaganda exercise by Israel". Africa is considered by Israel, as it is by the rest of the world, to be a potentially huge export market. Trade between Israel and the continent of Africa is a mere $1 billion annually, two-thirds of which comes from trade between Israel and South Africa, mainly in diamonds.

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"Israel believes that the countries of Africa and Israel will benefit from the continued advancement of practical cooperation among them in important areas such as water, agriculture, health and technology".

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