“We are making inroads into the Islamic world. We are being welcomed here with respect just as we welcomed President Deby in Israel with respect. Israel is making inroads into the Islamic world. This is the result of considerable effort in recent years. We are making history and we are turning Israel into a rising global power,” Netanyahu stated.
By Aryeh Savir/TPS
N’DJAMENA—Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chad’s President Idriss Deby on Sunday announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between Israel and Chad, 47 years after they were broken off.
The two leaders signed an official memorandum on the resumption of relations between the two countries.
“We are making inroads into the Islamic world. We are being welcomed here with respect just as we welcomed President Deby in Israel with respect. Israel is making inroads into the Islamic world. This is the result of considerable effort in recent years. We are making history and we are turning Israel into a rising global power,” Netanyahu stated after the signing.
The announcement was made in the framework of Netanyahu’s historic visit to Ndjamena, Chad, the first by an Israel Prime Minister since Golda Meir visited the country in 1969.
Netanyahu arrived in the African country earlier in the day and was received by an honor guard and welcomed by Chad Foreign Minister Mahamat Zene and other dignitaries.
“The two sides view the resumption of relations as the key to future cooperation for the benefit of both countries,” the Prime Minister’s Office stated.
Israel’s foreign ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon stated that the renewal of the relations was “an important decision for Israel’s diplomacy… Long live the friendship between our nations!!!”
A landlocked nation located in central Africa, the former French colony is around 55 percent Muslim and 40 percent Christian with a long history of co-existence between its dominant faiths. Split both culturally and geographically between the Sahara to the north and tropical savannah to the south, the country faces numerous challenges as one of the world’s poorest nations.
Before boarding his plane to Chad, Netanyahu stated he was leaving “on another historic and important breakthrough, to Chad, a huge Muslim country bordering Libya and Sudan.”
“This is part of the revolution that we are doing in the Arab and Islamic worlds; I promised you that this would happen. There will be more major news. There will be more countries,” he added.
“This is very disturbing and even causes outrage in Iran and among the Palestinians who are trying to prevent this. They will not succeed,” he vowed
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.
Deby made history in November when he became the first Chadian president to visit Israel.
Israel has recently experienced a significant boost in its ties with several Arab and Muslim countries. There have been reports that Israel is on the way to establishing ties with Sudan in Africa, currently in a state of warfare with Israel, and with the Gulf state of Bahrain.
The renewal of ties with Chad are part of a larger effort by Netanyahu to forge closer relations with non-traditional allies in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Netanyahu sees this not only as an opportunity for Israel to assist these countries with humanitarian needs and economic development, but also for Israel to gain support in international bodies like the United Nations, which have traditionally been hostile to the Jewish State.