Rabat - Morocco and the Palestinian Authority are putting pressure on African states to refuse to attend an Africa-Israel summit scheduled to take place in Lomé, Togo, at the end of October.
Rabat – Morocco and the Palestinian Authority are putting pressure on African states to refuse to attend an Africa-Israel summit scheduled to take place in Lomé, Togo, at the end of October.
Togo is set to invite all 54 countries in the continent to take part, andbetween 20 and 30 African leaders are expected to attend, reported Jerusalem Post.
The sub-Saharan country sees the summit as an opportunity to do business with Israel, with an anticipated 130 Israeli companies coming to participate in the event.
The Israeli news site explained that Morocco and the Palestinian Authority each have different reasons for wanting the event to fail.
Palestinians see the summit as a setback for political support their cause among African states. As for Moroccans, the Israeli news outlet claimed that they are worried about Israel’s growing influence in the continent, seeing it as a rival.
“Morocco is trying to come back to Africa as a superpower,” an African source told JP. “They see Israel as competition.”
The source added that Morocco warned African leaders against attending the summit, pointing that this would “create problems for them in getting subsidies” from Saudi Arabia, as well as Islamic organizations.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor South Africa, a country that has long been a critic of Israel, have taken measures to dissuade African leaders from taking part in October summit, according to JP.
While no Moroccan sources addressed Israeli claims, the two countries have become competitors the Africa scene, regardless of their motives.
In June, King Mohammed VI canceled his trip to Monrovia, Liberia, where he was due to participate in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), to avoid meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
“HM the King wants his first presence at an ECOWAS summit not to take place in a context of tension and controversy and wants to avoid any confusion,” said a statement of the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Some Israeli media and political commentators claimed the real reasons the King did not attend was because of the Rif protests, maintaining that their country is still friends with Morocco despite frozen diplomatic relations.
This claim has not appeared to hold water, as the monarch has visited several African countries and travelled outside Morocco throughout the nine months of protests in the northern Moroccan region.
In July King Mohammed VI, who chairs Al-Quds Committee, addressed a letter to United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, condemning Israeli policies in Jerusalem including the closure of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
“I insist on the need for resolute action on the part of the international community and the influential powers to compel Israel to put an end to those practices,” said the monarch.