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Israel To Rejoin African Union As Observer 19 Years After Ouster

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African Union has said it would readmit Israel as an observer country, 19 years after it was ousted from the 55-nation pan-African bloc due to pressure by then-Libyan leader, Muammar Gadhafi.

Israeli officials have been pushing for a seat on the AU since its suspension shortly after the union was formed in 2002 as the successor to the Organization of African Unity.

The news was warmly welcomed in Jerusalem, with Foreign Minister Yair Lapid declaring it a “a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations” and a “diplomatic achievement” that will “help us strengthen our activities vis-à-vis the continent and vis-à-vis the member states of the organization.”

In 2016, The Jerusalem Post reported that Israel looked to regain the status in the AU, after Palestinian Authority were granted this status in 2013.

Benjamin Netanyahu, the ousted Israel prime minister, in his 12 years in office, valued and prioritized Israel-Africa relations.

Building on this foundation, Aleleign Admasu, Israel’s ambassador to Addis Ababa, submitted letter of credence as observer to African Union to Félix Tshisekedi, Chairperson of the 55-member continental organization.

After the submission, Yair Lapid, Israel’s foreign minister, attributed the milestone achievement to the effort of the foreign ministry, noting that the “diplomatic achievement” will correct the anomaly that have existed in their relationship with Africa.

He said;

This is a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations. This diplomatic achievement is the result of efforts by the Foreign Ministry, the African Division, and Israeli embassies on the continent.

Lapid stressed;

This corrects the anomaly that existed for almost two decades and is an important part of strengthening of fabric of Israel’s foreign relations. This will help us strengthen our activities in the continent and in the organization’s member states.

This relationship is believe to strengthen Israel’s influence over the member states, and serve as a way to obstruct Palestinian relationship with African countries.

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