After 50 Years, An Israeli Ambassador Takes Up Position in Chad
Areas of common interest include, agriculture, water management, climate change and health.
By Aryeh Savir, TPS
Israeli Ambassador Ben Bourgel presented his letters of credence on Tuesday to the President of the Republic of Chad, Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno, becoming the first ambassador of Israel accredited to the central African state for 50 years.
“This marks an important benchmark in the deepening of the relations between Chad and Israel since their resumption in 2019,” the Israeli Foreign Ministry stated.
Bourgel and his team “will work to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest such as climate changes, agriculture, water management and health,” the Ministry said.
Israel and Chad renewed their diplomatic ties in November 2018, 46 years after they were cut off, as Chad’s President Idriss Deby met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
Chad cut diplomatic ties with Jerusalem in 1972 after a decade of good relations and cooperation. Chad is a large and important Muslim-majority African country.
Chad has discussed the possibility of opening an embassy in Jerusalem, and would become the first African country to open its embassy in Jerusalem if it did so.
Israel has relations with 46 countries in Africa, in the framework of which many and varied collaborations are conducted in the fields of development, trade and aid.
Chad was one of several African countries that renewed their diplomatic ties with the Jewish state in recent years.
The tide of Israel’s renewed relations with Africa came on the heels of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s historic visit to the four African countries of Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Kenya in July 2016, the first such visit by an Israeli premier in decades.
Weeks later, the Republic of Guinea, a Muslim-majority African nation, restored diplomatic ties with Israel after a 49-year break.
Netanyahu had made strengthening Israel’s relationship with African nations a major priority. He had stated on several occasions that “Israel is coming back to Africa, and Africa is coming back to Israel. It’s happening now because it’s so clear that this is good for Africa and it’s good for Israel.”
In August 2017, Senegal and Guinea, two Muslim-majority West African nations, sent their first-ever full-time ambassadors to Israel.
The latest African country to restore diplomatic relations with Israel was Sudan, which followed the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain in joining the Abraham Accords and normalizing ties with Israel.
After almost 20 years, Israel rejoined the African Union in July 2021, a significant diplomatic achievement. It established a committee in February 2022 to continue consultations on the subject of Israel’s observer status. The committee’s conclusions will be presented at the African Union Summit in 2023.
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