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May 17, 2022 3:18 pm

For First Time in 50 Years, Chad Welcomes Israeli Ambassador

avatar by Algemeiner Staff

Israeli Ambassador Ben Bourgel with Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on May 17, 2022. Photo: Israeli Embassy in Senegal.

The African country of Chad accepted the credentials of its new Israeli ambassador on Tuesday, marking the continued development of ties between the nations some five decades after they were severed.

Ben Bourgel, who serves as ambassador to a number of African nations, including Senegal and the Gambia, was received in a ceremony overseen by Chadian President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.

The Israeli Embassy in Senegal called the event “an important benchmark,” and said “Ambassador Bourgel and his team will work to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest such as climate change, agriculture, water management, and health.”

Israel and Chad reestablished relations in 2019, following reciprocal state visits by the late Chadian President Idriss Deby — Mahamat’s father, who was killed while visiting frontline troops in 2021 — and Israel’s then-prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Israel has framed its détente with the Muslim-majority country as part of a broader overture toward the Arab and Islamic world, which has included the normalization of ties with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan, and Morocco in 2020.

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.

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