Israel and Senegal repair diplomatic relations

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, meets with Senegal’s President Macky Sall in Monrovia, Liberia, June 4, 2017. (Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Israel and Senegal have repaired diplomatic relations, what is taking Bill English so long?

Israel and Senegal on Sunday announced the resumption of full diplomatic relations, which had been frozen after the West African nation cosponsored a UN Security Council against Israeli settlements.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with Senegal’s President Macky Sall at the ECOWAS summit of West African leaders in Liberia, after which the two leaders announced the resumption of full ties. Israel will return its ambassador to Senegal, and Senegal will back Israel’s candidacy for observer status at the African Union, the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement.  

The leaders also agreed to advance cooperation in defense and agriculture, according to the PMO.

In the wake of the passage of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 in December, Israel recalled its ambassador to Dakar, Paul Hirschson, and canceled its foreign aid programs in Senegal as part of a rash of retaliatory steps against countries that sponsored the measure.

In February, Netanyahu decided not to return Israel’s ambassador to Senegal, extending the downgrading of the Jewish state’s diplomatic ties with the West African country.

The UN resolution, which passed with 14 yes votes and an American abstention, condemned Israeli settlements as having “no legal validity” and “a flagrant violation under international law.” Israel reacted furiously to the resolution, denouncing it as “shameful.”

Also on Sunday, Netanyahu met with President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita of Mali on the sidelines of the ECOWAS summit. Mali, a Muslim-majority country, does not have formal diplomatic relations with Israel. According to the PMO, Netanyahu and Keita agreed to “warm” relations between the two countries.

Taking a dig at the notion that Israel is isolated internationally because of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Netanyahu tweeted a photo of his itinerary of meetings with African leaders scheduled for Sunday, writing sarcastically, “‘Diplomatic isolation,’ Africa edition, 2017.”

It is actually New Zealand that is becoming isolated internationally now. With a Prime Minister who can’t acknowledge mistakes, to protecting a rogue minister to hauling the new minister into line, National and Bill English continue to show that they prefer the company of terrorists, despots and dictators.


-Times of Israel

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