Africa should help Arabs

2009-09-02 22:12

Addis Ababa - Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on Wednesday said Africa should help moderate Arab positions to solve the Middle East crisis.

Lieberman, who arrived in Ethiopia at the start of a five-nation tour of the continent, said: "Africa's ties with Arab and Muslim countries, whether within the framework of the Arab League, the Islamic Conference or the African Union, place the countries of Africa in a position to exert a positive influence.

"We look to Africa to help promote moderation and reconciliation in the Middle East."

Many African countries, often cajoled by Libya whose leader Muammar Gaddafi currently holds the African Union chairmanship, have traditionally backed Palestinians in their conflict with Israel.

Gaddafi on Monday accused Israel of being "behind all of Africa's conflicts" during a special AU summit in Tripoli.

Lieberman said: "Within the African Union itself it is very important that the decisions and activities of African states reflect a positive and constructive that rejects one-sided decisions against Israel."

His eight-day trip aimed at bolstering Israel's standing on the continent, will also take him to Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda.

It is one of the most extensive trips by an Israeli foreign minister to Africa in recent years.