After Nearly half a Century, Israel-Guinea Relations Renewed

HANEGEV, Israel — After nearly half a century, Israel and Guinea have renewed diplomatic relations at a signing ceremony in Paris on Wednesday.

The country with a large Muslim majority and who is part of the 57-state Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Guinea (formerly known as French Guinea), was the first African country to cut ties with Israel in the aftermath of the Six Day War in 1967.

According to the Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dori Gold, the re-establishment of ties with Guinea comes as another step in the direction of Israel’s more comprehensive strategic goal of expanding diplomatic, economic and security ties with African countries.

The African nations are seen as a critical voting bloc in the United Nations and other international forums, as they usually vote following the decisions of the African Union, although there have lately been some instances of schisms within that bloc.

In May, the recently launched Lobby for Relations Between Israel and African Countries in the Knesset received a 27-member delegation from 10 African countries, including Liberia, Kenya, Angola, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Ethiopia, Cameroon, and Botswana.

One diplomatic official said that Guinea’s concern about emerging Islamic terror in the region, and Israel’s expertise in the matter, was a major factor for re-igniting cooperation.

Senior Israeli officials have pointed out Israel’s role in the country’s struggle with the Ebola epidemic two years ago, (when Israel donated $10 million to the UN’s Ebola fund and took part in the international effort to eradicate the virus), as having paved the way towards that decision.

Gold said that Israel was eager to share its expertise and assist Guinea in the areas of agriculture,water management and security; this came after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s tour in June, where he attended a summit with leaders from a number of African countries. Later Wednesday, he said that Israel would soon announce establishment of ties with another African country, but did not specify further.

Martin Banov

Based in the Negev, Israel. Specializing in Continental Philosophy with keen interest in Political Theory, particularly as it regards the dynamics of the Middle East region.