By: Ilan Evyatar/TPS

The Africa Israel-Summit planned for late October in the west African nation of Togo has been postponed to an unspecified date, Israel’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement Monday.

Some 25 African states were to have participated in the first Africa-Israel summit aimed at strengthening economic and diplomatic ties between Israel and Africa.

“Following a request by the Togolese president and after a consultation with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the Africa-Israel summit, which was to have taken place in [the Togolese capital] Lomé to a date that will be agreed between the countries,” a Foreign Ministry spokesman said.

According to the spokesman, Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé told Netanyahu that in order to ensure the success of the summit further preparations were needed.

In August, prior to Gnassingbé’s five-day-visit to Israel, Netanyahu told the cabinet that the Togolese president was facing pressure to cancel the summit.

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“Various pressures have been placed on the Togolese President to cancel the conference. These pressures are the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel’s presence in Africa,” Netanyahu told the cabinet.

According to media reports at the time, both Morocco and the Palestinian Authority pressured Gnassingbé to cancel the summit, but were rebuffed.

Togo has also experienced severe unrest in recent days as protesters have called for an end to the 50-year Gnassingbé dynasty. Tens of thousands of people have protested around the country demanding Gnassingbé’s departure. Dozens have been arrested and last week, two protesters were killed in clashes with police.

Gnassingbé came to power in contested elections in 2005 after the death of his father, who seized power in a coup in 1967. Following the 2005 elections, hundreds of people were killed in clashes around the West African country.

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Source: Israel in the News