TEL AVIV, Israel (Caasimada Online) – Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is spearheading a campaign to establish diplomatic ties with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger, and Indonesia following the successful Abraham Accords in 2020 between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Morocco.
In an effort to broaden the circle of the Accords, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, national security adviser Jake Sullivan, and special envoy Amos Hochstein have also joined forces to support Cohen’s diplomatic efforts.
According to a report published by Israel Hayom, Cohen is currently engaged in discussions to normalize relations with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger, and Indonesia, with talks with Mauritania being the most advanced.
This is not the first time the two countries have established diplomatic ties, as they first did so in 1999 following the Oslo Accords, which resulted in establishing an Israeli embassy in Nouakchott. However, Mauritania severed ties with Israel in 2008 after the Gaza war.
Cohen is now requesting assistance from Germany by meeting with German counterpart Annalena Baerbock to facilitate normalization talks with Mauritania and Niger.
‘Somalia shows a keen interest’
Meanwhile, according to Israel Hayom, Somalia has shown a keen interest in establishing diplomatic relations with Israel on several occasions, even though the two nations have never had diplomatic ties.
The strategic location of Somalia at the entrance of the Red Sea, coupled with its proximity to the Arab Peninsula, has aroused Israel’s interest, particularly with the cooling of relations between Israel and Eritrea.
Last July, the Somali President’s spokesperson announced that the government plans to consult parliament.
Niger, on the other hand, has never maintained diplomatic relations with Israel. However, given France’s reduced involvement in Mali and Burkina Faso, the country could become a critical military base for Western forces fighting against jihadist groups.
Furthermore, as a major global supplier of uranium, Israel is keen to forge a diplomatic relationship with Niger to counter Iran’s influence.
Indonesia sets conditions
As the world’s largest Muslim nation, Indonesia has also been identified as a potential partner for the Abraham Accords. However, Indonesian officials have repeatedly emphasized that Jakarta will only engage in talks with Israel once there is significant progress on the Palestinian issue.
Despite this, Blinken raised the matter during his meeting with his Indonesian counterpart Retno Marsudi in 2021.
An Israeli trade delegation visited Indonesia last July to explore potential investment opportunities and establish start-up ventures.
Netanyahu has expressed his hope of establishing diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia. However, Riyadh has maintained that it will only consider normalization talks with Israel after a deal has been reached with the Palestinians.
African nations reluctances
In contrast, the Netanyahu government has been able to establish diplomatic relationships with several African nations, including Chad and Sudan.
In particular, Cohen became the first Israeli foreign minister to fly to Sudan last month, following Sudan’s signing of the Abraham Accords with the US in 2020.
Israel’s national security adviser, Tzachi Hanegbi, and Strategic Affairs Minister Ron Dermer recently visited Washington for meetings to discuss joint efforts with their American counterparts in expanding the circle of the Abraham Accords.
While discussions focused primarily on the Iranian threat and escalating tensions in the West Bank, the officials also explored the possibility of including additional countries in the Accords.