JERUSALEM (JTA) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will fly to Chad “soon” where he and President Idriss Deby will announce the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
The announcement was issued in a statement by the Prime Minister’s office on Tuesday, as Deby completed what has been called an “historic” three-day official visit to Israel.
The Republic of Chad, a majority Muslim nation in north-central Africa, severed diplomatic relations with Israel in 1972.
The two leaders met again on Tuesday, prior to Deby’s departing. “The leaders discussed common threats and the fight against terrorism, as well as increasing bilateral cooperation in – inter alia – agriculture, counter-terrorism, border defense, technology, solar energy, water and health,” the statement from the Prime Minister’s office said. It is not known if the talks included weapons sales. Reuters reported that Israel sent weapons to Chad this year to fight against northern rebels.
Deby said during a meeting with Netanyahu on Sunday that: “The relations between our countries were cut in 1972 for specific historic reasons, but our special relations continued all the time. The current visit to your beautiful country expresses our desire to take the relations that existed all the time and make them stronger.”
He added: “The resumption of diplomatic relations with your country, which I desire, does not make us ignore the Palestinian issue. My country is profoundly attached to the peace process and has shaped the Arab peace initiative, the Madrid principles and existing agreements.”
The Netanyahu government has been reaching out to African nations and the prime minister indicated during Deby’s visit that he will visit more African countries in the near future.