Togo's Gnassingbe requests cancellation of Israel-Africa summit amid unrest


Both the Israeli government and organisers of Israel-Africa summit said on Monday that the summit had been postponed at the request of the President of Togo and after consultations with Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.

The summit, which was meant to bring 54 countries on the continent to the Togolese capital of Lome on October 23-27, will be moved "to a date to be agreed upon between the two countries", a statement from the Foreign Ministry said.

The President of Togo stressed that ensuring the success of the important event requires significant preparations and complex assessments.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (R) speaks with Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe during a joint statement in Jerusalem August 10, 2016. On Sunday he departed for a week long trip to Argentina, Columbia and Mexico, becoming the first Israeli premier to visit South America.

Boosting Israel's ties with Africa is a key part of Netanyahu's foreign policy.

Netanyahu, now on a tour in Latin America, has recently been trying to emphasizing the improvement in relations between Israel and the African continent as proof that the occupying state is not isolated.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who has embarked on diplomatic frenzy on the African continent has intensified relations with African countries and hoped to break Israel's boycott at the worldwide front due to the continued colonisation of Palestinian territories.

"This is not taking place without contrary pressure", Netanyahu told his cabinet ministers, referring to the summit. "We are in a region where the security challenges are real and menacing and so we don't want to see any deep political crisis".

Palestinian Ambassador to South Africa, Hashem Dajani, also welcomed the decision, adding that: "The State of Palestine welcomes the position adopted by South Africa and other African states to shun this propaganda exercise by Israel".

Abbas had asked the President of Togo during the African summit in Addis Ababa to reconsider the decision to hold a summit with Israel.

The Israel-Africa summit, a landmark meeting scheduled in Togo in October, has been postponed to an unknown date, the Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Monday.