The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated in a statement that Israel will re-join the African Union as an observer state.
The move, according to the online newspaper, The Times of Israel, comes nearly two decades after Israel lost its observer status following the dissolution of the Organization of African Unity and the creation of the African Union.
It was reported that the Israeli ambassador in Addis Ababa, Aleli Admaso, presented his credentials as an observer in the African Union to the Chairman of the Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, at the organization’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to the statements of the two parties.
Israeli media quoted Foreign Minister Yair Lapid as saying, “This is a day of celebration for Israeli-African relations.”
He added: “This diplomatic achievement is the result of the efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the African Section (in it) and the Israeli embassies on the continent.”
He said: “This corrects the anomaly that has existed for nearly two decades, and is an important part in strengthening the fabric of Israel’s foreign relations.”
It was reported that the long-term efforts to join the African Union, which is composed of 55 members, aims to improve relations with the countries of the continent.
Among other issues, Israel targets countries’ voting record on Israeli issues in international organizations such as the United Nations Security Council.
It also hopes to coordinate on issues such as the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, counter-terrorism and agriculture.
Israeli websites said that the government recently resumed its relations with Chad and Guinea after cutting them off, and Israel also signed normalization agreements with Sudan and Morocco in 2020.
Officials said on Thursday that Israel had been granted official observer status in the African Union, a goal the country’s diplomats have been working towards for nearly two decades.
Lapid’s statement said that Israel currently maintains relations with 46 African countries and “has extensive partnerships and joint cooperation in many different fields, including trade and aid.”
The Palestinian Authority already has observer status in the African Union, and Israeli diplomats have lamented recent African Union statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Last May, Musa Faki Mohammed, the head of the EU Commission, condemned the Israeli “bombing” of the Gaza Strip, as well as the “violent attacks” by the Israeli security forces at Al-Aqsa Mosque, saying that the Israeli army was acting “in flagrant violation of international law.”
Faki also took the opportunity of holding an African Union summit in 2020 to denounce former US President Donald Trump’s peace plan in the Middle East, where he was met with applause in the main hall when he said that it “trampled on the rights of the Palestinian people.”
In his statement on Thursday, Faki stressed that the African Union “was very clear about its position that a two-state solution to the issue of Palestine and Israel is necessary for peaceful coexistence.”
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