Niger denies reports that it plans to normalize ties with Israel

2020-11-16 21:14:27
Niger denies reports that it plans to normalize ties with Israel

The Nigerien government has denied media reports that it is holding secret talks with Israel aimed at establishing diplomatic relations.

In a statement issued on Monday, Kalla Ankourao, Niger’s minister of foreign affairs, said there was no truth to the report and that he was "deeply saddened" by what he described as "baseless allegations."

"Niger is committed to supporting the Muslim world, especially the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC)," the statement said.

The Nigerien government also said it had always maintained its support for Palestinians and has been a member of the al-Quds Committee at the OIC, which was established in 1975.

Recently, some media outlets in the Middle East quoted an Israeli newspaper as saying that Israel officials were holding secret talks with Niger with the aim of establishing diplomatic relations between them.

The Yedioth Ahronoth noted that the Israeli ministry of intelligence believed there would be a breakthrough in secret communications to conclude the normalization agreement between Israel and Niger if former interior minister and president of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) Mohamed Bazoum won the December 27 presidential election.

The newspaper cited Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen as saying that the forthcoming election in Niger will be essential in terms of moving forward normalization between Israel and Niger.

US President Donald Trump announced on October 23 at the White House that Sudan and Israel had agreed to normalize relations.

Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Sudanese counterpart Abdalla Hamdok and chairman of the Sovereignty Council Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, senior US officials said.


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