Netanyahu Heads to Chad to Renew Diplomatic Ties

(Bloomberg) -- Israel and Chad officially renewed diplomatic relations on Sunday, during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the Chadian capital.

Relations between the two countries had been severed since 1972, when Chad was one of a string of African nations to break off ties with Israel after the 1967 Middle East war.

The announcement was expected after a surprise trip by Chad President Idriss Deby to Israel in November, when he became the first leader of his Muslim-majority African country to visit the Jewish state.

“Israel is making inroads into the Muslim world,” Netanyahu said at a joint press conference at the presidential palace in N’Djamena. “We are making history and we are turning Israel into a rising world power.”

The trip is part of a campaign to improve relations with Arab and Muslim nations, with more news and countries to come, Netanyahu said earlier Sunday.

Shared concerns about Iran and Islamic terrorism and the lure of Israeli technology and weaponry have made Arab and Muslim countries more amenable to ties with Israel even before a peace agreement is reached with the Palestinians. In October, Netanyahu paid a surprise visit to Oman, a Persian Gulf country with which Israel has no diplomatic ties.

Netanyahu alluded to the shifting alliances on Sunday, saying before his departure for Chad that the warming of relations “is very disturbing and even causes outrage in Iran and among the Palestinians, who are trying to prevent this.”

Israel’s pivot toward Arab and Muslim states comes at a time when relations with European allies have grown strained over Israel’s policies toward the Palestinians.

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