Israel-Africa summit 'postponed indefinitely' as Togo unrest continues

2017-09-13 16:04
File: AFP

File: AFP

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Lome - The Israel-Africa summit scheduled for late October in Lome, Togo's capital, has been postponed indefinitely due to rising unrest in the country, according to a spokesperson for the Israel foreign ministry.

Emmanuel Nahshon told Al Jazeera that the decision to postpone the event had nothing to do with the threats of boycott, and rather with the ongoing political instability in Togo.

"The decision was linked to the internal situation in Togo. The situation is seen to be unstable, and they [Togo's presidency] asked to postpone," he said.

"It has nothing to do with pressure or threats of boycott. We didn't want to go and place an added burden on Togo."

Both the Israeli goverment and organisers of Israel-Africa summit said on Monday that the summit had been postponed at the request of the President of Togo and after consultations with Netanyahu.

READ MORE: Africa-Israel summit 'justifies colonialism, apartheid'

biggest challenge to his family's power since the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005.

Communications cut

In response to the protests, authorities have cracked down on demonstrators, resulting in at least two deaths. The internet and communications were also cut for at least six days.

Mazin Shamiyeh, adviser to Riyad al-Maliki, Palestine's foreign minister

 told Al Jazeera that Togo has been under pressure from the Arab and Muslim world and if the summit had gone ahead, it would have given Israel the green light to continue its human rights violations and occupation.

"The cancellation of the summit is also due to the administrative, political, and financial corruption of Togo's government.

In August, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli PM, said that "

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".

'Combination ' of factors

Zeenat Adam, an independent international relations analyst based in Johannesburg, told Al Jazeera that the cancellation of the event was in all likelihood a "combination of the uprising in Togo against dictatorship rule and concerted efforts by African countries such as Morocco and South Africa to lobby against the summit".

"Benjamin Netanyahu has been on the most robust campaign since Golda Meir's [Israel's first FM] Africa policy in the 1950s.

"The Togo Summit was meant to be the crowning moment since his rapprochement with African states, noting that he has been fairly successful in getting some of the staunchest opponents in Africa to soften their stance on Israel," Adam said.

said that many in Togo are "fed up with the fact that it's the same family which has been ruling the country" for five decades.

Read more on:    israel  |  togo  |  west africa  |  africa
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