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Reports: Israel in Secret Contact with Niger to Normalize Ties

Reports: Israel in Secret Contact with Niger to Normalize Ties

Saturday, 14 November, 2020 - 07:30
Israeli intelligence director Eli Cohen. Reuters file photo

Intelligence director Eli Cohen revealed that Israel has carried out secret contacts with Niger to reach an agreement on the normalization of relations between the two countries, as a source said there have also been Israeli attempts to conclude such a deal with Morocco.

“Niger is the largest Muslim country in West Africa, with a population of more than 25 million,” Cohen said, adding that an agreement with Niamey as well as agreements expected between Israel and other Muslim states in Africa, will help regional stability.

He said the upcoming elections in the country will be essential for the advancement of the normalization process between the two states.

According to Israel media reports, the Israeli Foreign Ministry expects the administration of US President Donald Trump will continue to seek further agreements between Israel and Arab and Muslim countries.

The reports said Niger will be the second Muslim state to ink such deal following Chad, which will conclude a normalization agreement with Israel.

They expected that the presidential election in Niger next month will result in the victory of former Interior Minister and President of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism Mohamed Bazoum, who supports normalization with Israel.

The reports also said there are common interests between the two states, mainly the fight against terrorism.

Separately, Channel 12's political analyst Amit Segal wrote Friday in his weekly analysis published by the Hebrew Yediot Aharonot newspaper that ahead of the presidential election, Israel planned to put pressure on the Trump administration to recognize Morocco’s sovereignty in the Sahara Desert and in return, sign a normalization agreement with Israel.

Segal said that one US Senator had blocked the deal because of his opposition to Morocco’s position towards the Sahara issue.

“If this Senator changes his position in the coming few weeks, an Israeli embassy will open in Rabat and a Moroccan embassy in Tel Aviv,” he wrote.

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