Rabat - Israel has downplayed the efforts reportedly made by Morocco, South Africa and the Palestinian Authority to obstruct the Israel-Africa summit, due to take place October 23 to 27 in Lome, Togo.
Rabat – Israel has downplayed the efforts reportedly made by Morocco, South Africa and the Palestinian Authority to obstruct the Israel-Africa summit, due to take place October 23 to 27 in Lome, Togo.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressed the issue during a cabinet meeting on Sunday, the Times of Israel reported.
“Various pressures have been placed on the Togolese president to cancel the conference. These pressures are the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel’s presence in Africa,” said the Israeli Prime Minister.
Netanyahu is expected to meet Togolese President Faure Essozimna Gnassingbe in Jerusalem on Monday.
The Jewish state is seeking to counter the pressures of Morocco and South Africa, two countries with a significant influence in the continent.
Bruno Finel, CEO of the Africa-Israel Connect firm and organizer of the event, also made little the pressures put by Rabat and Pretoria.
“Preparations are going very well. You will have approximately 150 Israeli companies attending the summit, about a dozen from West Africa and also many from Central and East Africa,” he said.
The Times of Israel described Morocco as “leading the opposition” to the planned summit and reiterated previous Israeli media claims that the kingdom is doing so not out of Palestinian solidarity, but out of economic motives.
The website said Morocco is “worried” about competition from Israel for business in Africa, citing two unnamed sources.
“Morocco wants to become a superpower, and they understand that Africa is a major market for them,” said one source.
“Morocco’s opposition to the summit has nothing to do with support for the Palestinians — zero. They just see Israel as competitors, just like China, India or Japan,” added another.
The claim of the unnamed source stands in contrast with Morocco’s openness towards countries such as Russia, Japan, and India [Office1] regarding economic cooperation in Africa.
King Mohammed VI, in his speech to the African Union (AU) in late January, denied that Morocco had any plans to seek leadership in Africa, saying the kingdom sees itself rather as a partner of other African states.
In June, King Mohammed VI decided not to attend the meeting of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) in Liberia, after it was announced that Netanyahu would attend.
A statement by the Moroccan Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the decision explained that the monarch wanted “his first presence at an ECOWAS summit not to take place in a context of tension and controversy and [wanted] to avoid any confusion.”
With the presence of Israeli 150 companies in Africa, the Jewish state is confident in the success of its seduction campaign in Africa, adopting adopted a defiant tone vis-à-vis its detractors.
“The efforts by the Palestinians, the Moroccans, and the South Africans to sabotage the planned summit in Togo are doomed to fail,” a senior diplomatic Israeli official.