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Israel-Africa Summit in Togo Canceled | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Togo’s President Faure Gnassingbe during a joint statement in Jerusalem August 10, 2016. (REUTERS)

Ramallah- Israel and Togo announced the cancellation of the African-Israeli summit scheduled for October in Togo at the request of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe, in a blow to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to “bring Israel back to Africa.”

A spokesman for the Israeli foreign ministry said: “Netanyahu responded to the request of Gnassingbe to postpone the date of the African-Israeli summit to a date to be agreed between the two countries.”

Israeli sources said that the postponement of the African-Israeli summit came under Palestinian, Arab and African pressure, against “the Israeli infiltration into African countries.”

The sources described the summit cancellation as a political blow to Netanyahu and his plans to promote the Israeli-African relations.

The summit was supposed to take place in the Togolese capital of Lome on October 23-27 with business leaders and security experts from Israel and 54 African countries.

In a statement, the Palestinian foreign ministry said: “As a result of pressure exerted by the State of Palestine, the Israeli and the Togolese parties decided to postpone the holding of the Africa-Israel conference, which was to be held in the capital of Lomé, until a date to be decided later.”

“It’s obvious the decision was a result of sizable pressure,” the statement said. The Africa-Israel summit, according to the ministry, was an Israeli effort to “enhance Israel’s influence in the African continent and to make the continent dependent on Israeli technology and knowledge alone.”

“The Arab League, along with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, and other Arab and Islamic groups and parliaments of Arab countries, have adopted several initiatives seeking to counter and thwart that summit,” the statement concluded.

Over the past few months, South Africa has led a movement to prevent a plan by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to normalize relations with African countries.

A South African diplomat said his country had called on other countries to boycott Israel and refuse to normalize relations with it.

He stressed that other countries were also facing Israeli attempts to infiltrate into Africa, including Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Mauritania.