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Israel Welcomes President of Majority Muslim Nation of Chad for ‘Historic’ Visit

November 25, 2018 News

PM Netanyahu & Chad Pres. Deby. Photo courtesy of Amos Ben-Gershom (Israeli GPO).

On Sunday, Israel welcomed the first ever visit from the President of Chad—a country whose population is majority Muslim—and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes this “historic” visit is part of Israel’s improving global relations. “We discussed in my office the great changes that are taking place in the Arab world in its relations with Israel,” said Netanyahu in a press conference with President Idriss Déby, with the Israeli premier highlighting his recent visit to Oman and promising “more such visits in Arab countries very soon.”

Continued Netanyahu to Déby, “As a leader of an African country, an important African country, a majority of whose population is Muslim, you are coming to Israel to renew our friendship and our relationship. I think it is a testament of what is going to happen with other such countries in Africa as well, and I believe that you are paving the way for many others.”

Netanyahu noted in his comments, which were published by his office, that the first-ever visit by a Chad President comes after a “very long hiatus” in relations between the two countries. Chad is a very important country… And I’m delighted that we are resuming our friendship,” said Netanyahu. “We never fully stopped our contacts as we spoke now but we are now expanding them at a very rapid rate.”

The Israeli leader listed counterterrorism, agriculture and water as some areas of cooperation. “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,” said Netanyahu.

He further noted that he hopes to make another trip to Africa—this time the center of the continent where Chad is located—and bring Israeli businesses and expertise with him.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin also met with the Chad leader, hoping that diplomatic relations between the countries would resume soon. “With your help, I want to call on the other African states with whom we do not have relations to be part of this change, and to see Israel as a partner and an ally,” said Rivlin in comments published by his office.

Chad President Déby also looks forward to renewing full diplomatic relations with Israel, and sees this visit as a move in that direction. “This is a breaking of the ice, you might say,” said Déby, per the Israeli press release. “What is important is the future. The future of our relations, the future of our peoples and the future of Israel and Africa. We are here and want to renew diplomatic relations and your country is an important partner for us.”

The Chad leader believes the Israel-Palestinian conflict “must be dealt with” and inferred that he believes the Palestinians should be given the territory the Arabs claim in Judea and Samaria, which Arabs call “the West Bank.” Nonetheless, even without peace yet achieved, Chad’s President still had hopeful words for Israel.

“Africa is the continent of the future. And your country has a place in that future,” he said.

Prior to his meeting with Chad President Déby, Netanyahu said he also sees a bright future with Chad—and others.

“This visit reflects the rising status of Israel among the nations. I reiterate this time and again. Every week we see the implementation of this concept, of cultivating economic-technological strength, alongside security-intelligence strength, to receive political-diplomatic strength. This is happening before our eyes, one might say, on a daily basis,” said Netanyahu in a press release from his office.

“And therefore, today we turn a new page in relations with Chad, and I tell you – there will yet be other countries soon.”

(By Joshua Spurlock, www.themideastupdate.com, November 25, 2018)

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