(JNS.org) Israel and Guinea, a Muslim-majority nation in western Africa, have re-established diplomatic relations for the first time in 49 years. The new ties were cemented Wednesday in a declaration signed in Paris by Israeli Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold and the chief of staff of Guinean President Alpha Conde, Ibrahim Khalil Kaba.
The re-establishment of ties comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent tour of Africa, during which he called Conde in a conversation facilitated by the leader of one of the seven East African nations with whom Netanyahu met on his tour. That leader has not been identified.
Eighty-five percent of Guinea’s 10.5 million citizens are Muslims. The country is also a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
“This is an important closing of a circle,” Gold said. “The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t [re-established ties with Israel] is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore. Israel is calling on the countries that still haven’t renewed diplomatic relations to follow in Guinea’s footsteps so that we can work together to the benefit of all peoples in the region.”