After 19 years of diplomatic efforts, Israel has joined the African Union as an observer state. On Thursday, Israeli Foreign Ministry issued a statement, announcing that Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia, Burundi and Chad, Aleleign Admasu, presented his credentials as an observer to the African Union chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat at the commission’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa.
In the statement, Israeli Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid termed it a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations. He added that this diplomatic achievement is facilitated by the consistent efforts of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, its African Division, and Israeli embassies on the continent.
“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,” Lapid noted.
‘Day of celebration’
He further affirmed that Israel’s position as an observer state will help the nation in strengthening its activities on the African continent and with the member states of the organization.
The minister asserted that Israel has friendly relations with at least 46 countries in Africa, with expanding joint cooperation and partnerships across key sectors such as humanitarian aid and trade and investment.
This development has come months after Israel and the UAE signed the historic Abraham Accords to normalize ties between the two nations and establish peace in the region. The peace accords furthered Israel’s diplomatic ties with other countries including Bahrain, Jordan, Sudan, Chad and Guinea and other countries.
“Following the formal establishment of Israel’s observer status with the African Union, the parties will be able to cooperate, among other things, in the fight against Corona and the prevention of the spread of extremist terrorism throughout the continent,” the ministry added in the statement. Until 2002, Israel had observer status in the Organization of African Unity.
However, after the organization was dissolved to establish the African Union, Israel lost its stature. Israeli officials have been pushing for a seat on the 55-state pan-African organization since its suspension almost two decades ago.
AU calls for two-state solution
In a statement issued by the African Union, Chairperson Faki reiterated the commission’s call for a two-state solution into the Palestine-Israeli conflict for peaceful co-existence.
“The Chairperson stated that the conflict between the State of Palestine and Israel has been a cause of great concern for over seventy years with various regional and international actors having participated in the search for a peace between the two nations, and noted that a lasting solution was required to ensure the co-existence of both nations and to allow their people to live in a state of peace and stability,” the statement said.