Visiting Chadian President Idriss Déby has announced he plans to renew diplomatic relations with Israel in the coming weeks.

In an interview with i24News, Déby stressed the move did not mean Chad would ignore the Palestinian cause.

Asked why he did not plan to hold meetings in Ramallah while in the region, Déby replied: “I am a former soldier, and I fought wars. I know the price of war. I don’t wish it on any people in any country.”

He added that “we came here this time with an exact plan because we have not had diplomatic relations with Israel since 1972, and the aim was to renew these relations.

Calling Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas “a friend,” said Déby. “We have no problem with Abbas or the Palestinians. He [Abbas] is our friend and participated in all the African union committees.”

Déby noted that “the world is changing before our eyes. Crises and wars we knew are changing as well. We don’t wish them on today’s generation or future generations. There’s a time for war and a time for peace. Our message is global to all leaders. Chad doesn’t presume to speak for black Africa. Chad comes to renew bilateral diplomatic relations.”

He said that “if Chad can be a facilitator, Chad will not hesitate.”

After 15 years of clandestine ties, Déby arrived in Israel on Sunday for the first official visit by a leader of the central African country, which severed diplomatic ties with Israel in 1972.

On Monday, Déby visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and museum, and the Soroka Medical Center in Beersheva.