Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returned last night to Israel after concluding a historic visit to the central African Republic of Chad. In the course of his visit, the Israeli leader reached an agreement with Chadian president Idriss Deby to reestablish diplomatic relations between the two countries, after nearly 50 years of strained relations. The visit and official announcement, which was made in a joint press conference of the two leaders, marks a milestone in Netanyahu’s recent policy of seeking out new allies among developing countries that have historically sided with the Palestinians at the United Nations and other international forums. “I’m honored to be the first Israeli Prime Minister to visit your beautiful country. This is a historic visit that follows another historic visit, your visit two months ago to Israel. Now I’m visiting Chad for the first time. I’m here to formally reestablish our diplomatic relations.” / It’s significant for us that Chad, with a Muslim majority, that seeks the friendship of Israel. There are many other countries, but in Africa it is particularly significant. And we seek the friendship of other countries in Africa, and I’m glad to see that this process, that others are following in your footsteps,” Netanyahu said.
As part of the reestablished ties, Netanyahu listed a number of fields in which both countries would seek to cooperate in. “There is a lot that we can do together. And we discussed how to deepen our cooperation in every field beginning with security. But also agriculture, food, water, energy, health, and many more. And I believe that this cooperation will build a better safer and more prosperous future for both our peoples,” Netanyahu said.
At the end of the press conference, both leaders signed a number of bilateral agreements. These agreements effectively provide the needed foundation for an Israeli business delegation that is expected to visit the African nation in March.