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Officials announced on Thursday that Israel has officially been given observer status in the African Union, a goal Israeli diplomats have been working towards for nearly two decades.
Israel’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Alile Admaso, handed over his credentials as an African Union observer to Union Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat at the organization’s headquarters in Addis Ababa, according to statements by both sides.
“This is a day to celebrate Israel-Africa relations,” Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said in a statement from his office, adding that the observer status would allow Israel to further assist the African Union in the fight against the Covid pandemic and terrorism.
Israel had previously been granted observer status in the Organization of African Unity, but after the dissolution of the Organization of Unity in 2002 and its replacement by the African Union, its efforts to restore this status were thwarted.
“This corrects the anomaly that has existed for nearly two decades and is an important part of strengthening the fabric of Israel’s foreign relations,” Lapid said, adding that this move “will help us expand our activities on the African continent and with to strengthen the members.” states of the organization.”
Lapid’s statement indicated that Israel currently has relations with 46 African countries and has “extensive partnerships and joint cooperation in several areas, including trade and aid”.
Moussa Faki, for his part, emphasized in a statement on Thursday that the African Union was “very clear in its position that the two-state solution is necessary for peaceful coexistence”.
Ebba Kalondo, a spokeswoman for Faki’s, said more than 70 non-African embassies and NGOs are currently accredited to the African Union.
Palestine also has observer status in the African Union, and recent African Union statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have been a source of inconvenience to Israel.
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