Netanyahu travels to Liberia to strengthen Israel’s relations with West African countries

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely will depart from Israel this evening in order to attend a conference in Liberia. The Israeli prime minister is expected to meet with several heads of state and strengthen Israel’s relations with the West African countries at the event.
Netanyahu Photo Credit: Moshe Milner, GPO/Channel 2 News

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Liberia on Saturday night. This week’s Israeli government meeting was canceled because Netanyahu will be attending the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) conference. Netanyahu will be traveling with Israel’s Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Tzipi Hotovely.

A few days ago, Moroccan King Mohammed VI announced that he has canceled his participation in the conference due to Netanyahu’s plans to attend. The Moroccan Foreign Ministry explained that the king canceled his attendance because he does not want to risk encountering Netanyahu at the event. The king’s announcement was a rather surprisingly because his country is interested in joining ECOWAS, an organization of 15 countries.

“We’ve decided to decrease the level of representation at the conference due to [our] lack of agreement with Netanyahu’s presence,” the ministry said in a statement. “The king hopes that his first visit to the conference will not take place in the shadow of dispute and confrontation.”

Netanyahu is expected to meet with a number of West African leaders, including the presidents of Liberia, Togo and Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), during the conference. In addition, Netanyahu will deliver a speech in front of the heads of states at the event. “The State of Israel is returning to Africa,” Hotovely said ahead of the trip. “We will strengthen the economic cooperation with the member states.”

During the visit, Netanyahu will sign a joint statement to strengthen the relations between Israel and the organization in various aspects: agriculture, desertification, climate change, water, trade, education, health, national security, cyber, communications, energy, culture and science. In addition, the sides will declare their cooperation in the fight against terrorism. The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office also stated that in October, Netanyahu will travel to Togo for the 2017 Africa-Israel summit.  

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