Photo Credit: Haim Zach / GPO
Togolese Foreign Minister Robert Dussey meets in Jerusalem with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The first Israel-Africa summit ever, scheduled to have taken place this October in Lomé, has been “postponed” at the request of Togolese President Faure Gnassingbé, and “after mutual consultations with Togo’s Prime Minister, Komi Sélom Klassou.

“The President of Togo has emphasized that elaborate preparations are needed in order to guarantee the success of the event,” explained the office of Israel’s prime minister in a statement released Monday.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is abroad on an “historic” visit to Latin America, where he will be the first sitting Israeli prime minister to visit South America, including the nation of Argentina.

“The Togolese President thanked and praised the Prime Minister for his determination to strengthen the cooperation between his country and Israel as well as for his personal engagement to guarantee the initiative to hold the summit,” the statement read.

“In the near future, Israel will hold consultations in Africa, both on the bilateral level as well as in regional gatherings and fora on the continent in order to guarantee the full success of the summit,” the statement went on.

“Israel is fully committed to continue its efforts vis a vis the African continent as it has been doing during these last years, as demonstrated by the visit of the Prime Minister in the summer of 2016 to Rwanda, Kenya, Uganda an Ethiopia as well as his participation as a guest of honor in the ECOWAS Summit in Liberia in June 2017.”

However, a diplomatic source in Jerusalem told The Jerusalem Post on Monday the delay was due to unrest in the African nation of Togo, rather than the need for more “preparations.” Moreover, sources were quoted by the newspaper as saying threats of a boycott organized by the Palestinian Authority and several Arab nations were also responsible.

No reschedule date has been set for the time being.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.