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November 27, 2018 8:32 am

Israel Says Will Renew Ties With Chad After Presidential Visit

avatar by Reuters and Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) prepares to shake hands with Chadian President Idriss Deby as they deliver joint statements in Jerusalem, Nov. 25, 2018. Photo: Reuters / Ronen Zvulun.

Israel said on Tuesday that it and Chad would resume relations, severed in 1972, after the central African country’s President Idriss Deby made a surprise visit to Jerusalem this week.

After Deby wound up his two-day visit, Israel said in a statement that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would “visit Chad soon and announce, with the Chadian president, the renewal of ties.” No date was given.

Chad is a Muslim-majority country, and most Muslim or Arab countries do not have formal ties with Israel.

Some African countries have kept their distance from Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War, but the Netanyahu government has been keen to improve relations with the continent.

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Some Sunni Muslim countries have also drawn closer to Israel in recent years due to shared concerns about the rise of Shi’ite power Iran.

Meeting in Jerusalem, Netanyahu and Deby “discussed shared threats and the struggle against terrorism” as well as cooperation in agriculture, solar energy, water security and health, the statement from the Israeli premier’s office said.

Netanyahu has cited Chad’s renewed relationship with his country as an example of how Israel can make diplomatic inroads in Africa and in the Middle East despite its ongoing conflict with the Palestinians.

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