Israel’s top diplomat secretly visited a Muslim country in Africa that has no formal ties with Jerusalem on Monday, Haaretz reported.
A team of Israeli envoys led by Dore Gold, the director general of Israel’s foreign ministry, traveled from the West African Muslim-majority nation of Guinea, with which Israel re-established relations after 49 years last month, to the unnamed Muslim nation. The Israeli delegation held meetings with top officials in the country, where they only stayed for a few hours due to the uncertain security situation before flying to Paris.
During his visit to Guinea, Gold met with the nation’s president, Alfa Conde, in addition to 10 senior government ministers. While the delegation’s trip to Africa was censored by Israeli authorities for security reasons, the ban was partially lifted on Tuesday.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has made it a priority to strengthen Israel’s commercial, diplomatic, and security relations with African countries, visited Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia in July. Israel has a long history of sharing its expertise on the continent, and Jerusalem hopes that increased ties with African nations will lead to a shift in their voting trends at the UN and other global fora, thus improving Israel’s diplomatic standing and reversing what Netanyahu called “the automatic majority against Israel.”
Netanyahu is expected to attend an Israeli-African “security and development” summit in Togo next year, as well as a meeting of the Economic Community of West African States in Nigeria later this year.
In a bid to counter Israeli diplomatic successes in Africa, Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in July met with and embraced Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. The two “discussed developing a strategy for the African continent and coordinating to restrain Israeli attempts to make a breakthrough in Africa,” the PA’s foreign minister told reporters in Khartoum.
[Photo: Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs ]