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US Foreign Secretary Blinken reportedly urges Niger to establish diplomatic relations with Israel

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken (Photo: Ron Przysucha/State Department)

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Niger to establish diplomatic relations with the State of Israel during a recent visit to the African state, according to a Axios news report on Wednesday.

The top U.S. diplomat reportedly discussed the issue with President of Niger Mohamed Bazoum. According to the report, Niger is prepared to normalize relations with Israel but expects unspecified assurances from the U.S. Biden administration in return. 

Following his meeting with Bazoum, Blinken briefed Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen, who responded positively, according to the report. Cohen suggested inviting Niger to participate in the next ministerial Arab-Israeli Negev Forum. 

It was revealed in March that Israel is working toward normalizing relations with Niger, Somalia, Indonesia and Mauritania, an effort that would expand the 2020 Abraham Accords peace agreements.

Niger is situated in the Sahel geographic region, which has been plagued by local Jihadist terrorist organizations affiliated with ISIS and Al Qaida. The country established diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1960s, but severed relations with Jerusalem after the 1973 Yom Kippur War. 

Relations between Israel and Niger were resumed in 1996, but ended again in 2002 during the Second Intifada, the Palestinian uprising against Israel, which killed 1,137 Israelis, including 887 civilians, and wounded another 8,341.

In recent years, Israel has invested diplomatic resources to improve its relations with many African countries. Despite its progress, Israel faced some backlash in March when the Israeli observer delegation to the African Union Summit in Ethiopia was removed

“Israel views seriously the incident in which the deputy for Africa, Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li, was removed from the African Union hall despite her status as an accredited observer with access badges,” said Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lior Hayat.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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