At Liberia summit, West African leaders warn Benjamin Netanyahu of threats to stability in region, hailed peacekeeping efforts

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday joined West African leaders at a summit in Liberia, where they hailed peacekeeping efforts in the region but warned about threats to stability.

AFP June 05, 2017 10:51:57 IST
At Liberia summit, West African leaders warn Benjamin Netanyahu of threats to stability in region, hailed peacekeeping efforts

Monrovia: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday joined West African leaders at a summit in Liberia, where they hailed peacekeeping efforts in the region but warned about threats to stability.

Netanyahu, who had visited east Africa in July 2016, vowed that they had "no better partner" than his country after he was received by Liberian President and outgoing head of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

"Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel. I believe in Africa. I believe in its potential, present and future. It is a continent on the rise," said the Israeli leader.

"Africans are seizing the future. Israel wants to seize this future with you. You truly have no better partner for this mission than Israel," he added.

Netanyahu and Senegalese President Macky Sall later announced the normalisation of diplomatic relations between their two countries, following a spat over a UN resolution demanding Israel halt expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank.

At Liberia summit West African leaders warn Benjamin Netanyahu of threats to stability in region hailed peacekeeping efforts

File image of Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. AP

After the motion in December, pushed by Senegal and New Zealand, Israel recalled its ambassadors to both nations and cancelled an aid programme in Senegal.

"The two leaders announced an end to the crisis between their countries," a statement from the Israeli prime minister's office said.

ECOWAS also announced it had in principle approved Morocco's request to join the group, despite Moroccan King Mohamed VI refusing to attend the summit due to the presence of Netanyahu, according to Rabat's foreign ministry.

Sirleaf hailed the contribution of ECOWAS forces in restoring peace in her country, wracked by a bloody civil war from 1989-2003.

"This marks a turning point in the post-conflict recovery in the reconstruction of our country," she said. "Many ECOWAS citizens made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives for the uninterrupted peace we continue to enjoy.

But she warned: "Today, terrorist attacks are endangering the stability in our regions."

On Saturday a Gambian protester died of gunshot wounds after being shot as supporters of former Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh clashed with ECOWAS forces, deployed in the country since January.

Updated Date:

also read

After being hit by COVID-19 crisis, fishing season offers hope to Senegal's women
long reads

After being hit by COVID-19 crisis, fishing season offers hope to Senegal's women

In the small community of Bargny, women support their families by drying, smoking, salting and fermenting the catch brought home by male villagers.

Israel mourns deaths of 45 at religious festival; stampede deepens backlash against Netanyahu
World

Israel mourns deaths of 45 at religious festival; stampede deepens backlash against Netanyahu

The disaster prompted a national outpouring of grief as devastated families rushed to identify their dead relatives and bury them ahead of the Jewish Sabbath

At least 30 dead, including 10 Palestinian children as Israel-Gaza violence escalates
World

At least 30 dead, including 10 Palestinian children as Israel-Gaza violence escalates

Benjamin Netanyahu warned that the Israel Defense Forces would now intensify their attacks. Hamas, which rules the Gaza Strip, "will be hit in ways that it does not expect," the prime minister warned