Israel has been granted official observer status at the African Union, a goal the country’s diplomats have been working towards for nearly two decades, according to AFP
The African Dream made to understand that, yesterday, Israeli Ambassador to the AU Aleli Admasu presented his credentials to Moussa Faki Mahamat, chairman of the African Union Commission, at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, this is according to statements from both sides.
“This is a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations,” Israeli foreign minister Yair Lapid said in a statement.
Observer status would enable Israel to further help the AU in fights against the coronavirus pandemic and terrorism on the continent, the statement said.
Israel previously held observer status at the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) but was long thwarted in its attempts to get it back after the OAU was dissolved in 2002 and replaced as the African Union.
“This corrects the anomaly that has existed for almost two decades and is an important part of strengthening the fabric of Israel’s foreign relations. It will help us strengthen our activities on the African continent and with the member states of the organisation.”
Israel currently has relations with 46 African countries. “Israel has wide-ranging partnerships and joint cooperation in many different fields including trade and aid,” said Lapid
In May, Faki condemned Israeli “bombardments” in the Gaza Strip as well as “violent attacks” by Israeli security forces at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in Jerusalem, saying the Israeli army was acting “in stark violation of international law.”
Faki used the 2020 summit to denounce then-US President Donald Trump’s peace plan for the Middle East, drawing applause in the AU’s main hall when he said it “trampled on the rights of the Palestinian people”.
In his statement, Thursday Faki underlined that the AU “has been very clear on its position that in the issue of Palestine and Israel, a Two-State Solution is necessary for a peaceful co-existence.”
Faki’s spokeswoman Ebba Kalondo said there are more than 70 non-African embassies and non-governmental organisations currently accredited to the AU.