Netanyahu cancels trip to Togo after Israel-Africa summit postponed

No reason for postponement given, nor new date scheduled


An historic Israel-Africa summit, due to take place for the first time this autumn, has been cancelled amid calls for a boycott.

Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had planned to fly to Togo next month to meet with representatives of the continent’s 54 nations, with a view to strengthening diplomatic ties and economic links.

But the event has now been “postponed”, according to a statement from Israel’s Foreign Ministry – though no alternative date has been set.

The statement read: “At the request of the president of Togo and following a joint consultation with the prime minister, it was decided to postpone the convening of the Israel-Africa Summit, scheduled to take place in October in Lomé.”

While the statement did not elaborate on the reason behind the decision, it is widely believed to be down to pressure from anti-Israel elements. Strong opposition emerged from the Palestinian Authority, as well as the leaders of both Morocco and South Africa, the Times of Israel reported.

Mr Netanyahu’s administration has been keen to promote cooperation with Africa, under the banner “Israel is returning to Africa”.

But last month he told his cabinet: “Various pressures have been placed on the Togolese president to cancel the conference.”

The statement said that both countries would work together to select a new date and added: “Israel will continue its growing efforts in Africa as it has done in recent years.”

It continued: “Israel believes that the African countries and Israel can only benefit from the continuation of practical cooperation between the two sides, and this is in important areas such as water, agriculture, health and technology.”

Some insiders believe that domestic issues in both countries may also have played a part in the summit’s deferral, including the pending indictment of Mr Netanyahu’s wife on criminal charges and street protests against the government in Togo.

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