Netanyahu heads Israeli delegation at African summit in bid to expand ties

 

(JNS.org) As part of an extensive initiative to expand Israel’s ties with African nations, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivered remarks Sunday in Liberia at the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference.

Liberian President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf (left) greets Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu upon Netanyahu's arrival in Liberia Sunday. Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO.

“This is the first time [ECOWAS leaders] have invited the leader of a country outside of Africa to address them. I really appreciate it. Israel has returned to Africa and in a big way. The extent to which they respect us is a mark of honor for the state of Israel,” Netanyahu said before departing for Liberia.

In Liberia, Netanyahu headed a large diplomatic and economic delegation that included Ethiopian-Israeli Member of Knesset Avraham Neguise (Likud). The prime minister’s outreach was part of an effort to dissolve the voting bloc of 54 African countries that ensures the passage of anti-Israel measures at the United Nations and other international organizations.

“This has been a dream to come here to this organization in West Africa. And there is so much… that we can do for the betterment of our peoples,” Netanyahu told the ECOWAS conference.

ECOWAS is comprised of 15 member states, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI cancelled plans to attend the conference due to Netanyahu’s presence. 

Posted on June 4, 2017 .