On Monday, Haaretz reported that the President of Togo, Faure Gnassingbé informed the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, that the African-Israeli Summit scheduled to take place in the capital Lomé this October has been cancelled.
The newspaper attributed the decision to an internal crisis that in Togo, the work of the national opposition in Togo and also pressure from Arab nations and the Palestinian Authorities on the African countries to cancel the conference.
In a brief statement published in Israeli newspapers, the spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Emmanuel Nahshon, claimed that the decision was taken in consultation with Netanyahu.
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Netanyahu, currently 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.
Haaretz newspaper considered the cancellation of the summit as a strong blow to the Israeli Prime Minister.
Last week and during some festive ceremonies in the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Netanyahu announced his campaign of diplomatic communications with Africa as one of his principal foreign policy goals. He offered developmental assistance and economic cooperation, as well as experience in fighting terrorism.
Netanyahu seeks to use the support of the continent to debunk the anti-Israel traditional majority in international organizations such as the United Nations.
Netanyahu has previously announced in more than one occasion since last year, and even during his visit to Africa, that he is trying to establish a closer relationship with the Black Continent to cut with the instinctive sympathy for Palestine in international institutions in which Palestinians are supported.
The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, called on the African leaders to consider any development in the African continent’s relation with Israel only in as much as it shows commitment to end its occupation Palestine.
In preparation for the summit, Togo invited 54 African countries to participate in the four-day African Israeli Summit in which 20 to 30 heads of state were expected to take part.
Israel has diplomatic relations with 40 out of 48 countries in southern Africa.
Abbas had asked the President of Togo during the African summit in Addis Ababa to reconsider the decision to hold a summit with Israel.
This was the first time that the Palestinian president asks to meet the President of Togo who ascended to power in 2005.