The president of Chad, Idriss Déby, made a historic visit to Israel on Sunday with a focus on security issues, marking the first visit by a Chadian president since Israel’s founding in 1948.

“President Déby, welcome to Israel. Welcome to Jerusalem,” said Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Chadian leader. “This is the first official visit by the President of Chad to the State of Israel. It follows a very long hiatus in our relations.”

Chad has received weaponry Israel, which it cut diplomatic relations with in 1972, to fight terrorism. There are other goals that Netanyahu said the two nations share: “Give our peoples what they deserve: security, food, water, clean water, health, medicine, all the things that our cooperation can produce for the benefit of both our countries.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Chad’s President Idriss Déby on Nov. 25, 2018. Credit: Amos Ben-Gershom/GPO.

“Chad is an important country, a country that fights terror, and Israel is at your side in this just war. We see great importance in developing relations with Africa, the cradle of civilization,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin told Déby. “For us, Africa is the future, Chad is the future, and Israel wants to share its experience with you.”

“Peace is what every people needs to live a good life. I want to say to you that diplomatic relations with Israel would not make the Palestinians disappear,” Déby told Rivlin. “This is a critical issues that must be dealt with, and which generations have experience.”

“You Israelis have also experienced a difficult history, but it is important that people talk,” continued Déby. “It is very easy to pull the trigger but it is hard to stop the fighting.”

He added, “There is great importance in finding a solution to this problem, a solution that reflects all the decisions taken by the U.N. Security Council on the matter.”

Chad’s President Idriss Déby walks with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin during Déby’s first-ever visit to the Jewish state on Nov. 25, 2018. Credit: Haim Zach/GPO.

Groups such as the World Jewish Congress heralded this development.

“I warmly welcome this promising development of improved ties between the Republic of Chad and Israel,” said WJC CEO Robert Singer. “This is further evidence of the positive role Israel is playing in Africa, including with Muslim-majority countries, with cooperation possible in a number of areas from technology to security.”

Déby’s visit exemplified Israel recently trying to forge ties with Muslim-majority African countries such as Oman, Bahrain and Sudan.

“I hope to come to the center of Africa. And I wish to bring with me Israeli entrepreneurs, Israeli experts, Israeli companies, everything that can improve the life of the peoples of Africa, which is something we believe in,” Netanyahu told Déby. “Israel is coming back to Africa … Africa is coming back to Israel.”

“We look forward to continuing to promote and assist in the development of this important bilateral relationship as part of our intensified collaborations with African nations,” said Singer.