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January 20, 2019 11:12 am

Israel and Chad Officially Reestablish Diplomatic Ties, as Netanyahu Visits N’Djamena

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with Chadian President Idriss Deby, at their meeting in N’Djamena, Jan. 20, 2019. Photo: Kobi Gideon / GPO / Handout via Reuters.

Israel and Chad officially reestablished diplomatic ties on Sunday, nearly five decades after they were severed.

The announcement was made by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chadian President Idriss Deby at a meeting in N’Djamena.

“Chad is a very important country and a very important country for Israel.” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference with Deby. “We have a partnership in trying to forge a prosperous and secure future for our countries and in a larger sense for Africa and beyond.”

“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,” the Israeli leader added. “And I believe that this cooperation will build a better, safer and more prosperous future for both our peoples.”

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“It’s significant for us that Chad is a country with a Muslim majority that seeks the friendship of Israel,” Netanyahu pointed out. “There are many such countries, but in Africa this is particularly significant.”

In his own remarks, Deby said, “Chad will do everything it can to strengthen the ties between the two countries and the bilateral cooperation in various matters.”

“I note with satisfaction our shared view on the need to combine forces to tackle terrorism, which spares no country,” he stated.

Deby also expressed his hope of seeing Israel “live in peace and security next to a Palestinian state.”

Netanyahu’s trip to Chad came two months after Deby visited Israel.

Israel and Chad had friendly relations in 1960s after the north-central African nation was granted independence from France. But, like a number of its sub-Saharan neighbors, Chad cut off ties with the Jewish state in the early 1970s, due to pressure from the late Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi.

Before his departure for N’Djamena late Saturday night, Netanyahu told reporters at Ben-Gurion International Airport, “I am now 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.”

“This is very disturbing and even causes outrage in Iran and among the Palestinians who are trying to prevent this,” he went on to say, “They will not succeed.”

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