The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed Israel’s interest  to reengage with Africa and underlined Africa’s importance to Israeli foreign policy.

(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)

Today, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon met with ambassadors from twelve African nations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss areas of mutual interest and strategic importance. The Deputy Foreign Minister stressed Israel’s interest  to reengage with Africa and underlined Africa’s importance to Israeli foreign policy and, as evidenced by the visit of the Foreign Minister to five African countries in September.

"We would like to renew the glorious days of the past when Africa and Israel had excellent ties", Ayalon said. "For too long, Israel’s foreign policy was subject to the conflict but we are now looking to reengage with out friends all over the world, especially in Africa."

Ayalon also asked that African nations consider their votes in international forums independently and not cast their votes automatically by bloc grouping.

The Ambassador of Cameroon, Mr Henri Etoundi Essomba, expressed on behalf of the group, deep appreciation for the visit of the Foreign Minister to his country and expressed his hope to see more high-level Israeli delegations visiting the continent in the near future, in order to import cooperation and mutual understanding.

The Deputy Foreign Minister said that it is important for Israel to reestablish its status at the African Union where it held observer status until 2002. "We would like to return at first as a participating guest and then as a permanent observer to the African Union," Ayalon said. "There are so many ways that Israel can cooperate with Africa through multilateral channels on issues such as sustainable development, water, irrigation and helping to fight desertification. Our excellent organization MASHAV can be at the forefront of assistance."