Guinea opened up diplomatic relations with Israel for the first time following 49 years of severed relations. on Wednesday in a bi-lateral agreement signed in Paris, according to Ynetnews Israeli newspaper.
Israeli Foreign Ministry Director General Dore Gold and the secretary of the Guinean president signed an official agreement establishing diplomatic ties on Wednesday evening in Paris.
Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dori Gold met with the Chief of Staff of the Guinean President’s Office Dr. Ibrahim Khalil Kaba in Paris a signed a joint statement announcing the renewing of relations.
The renewing of diplomatic relations with Guinea is unrelated to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Africa, as the negotiations began months earlier. Senior officials in Jerusalem told Haaretz that what led to the breakthrough in relations was the country’s struggle with an Ebola epidemic two years ago.
“We are closing an important circle with the renewal of diplomatic relations between our two countries,” stated Gold after signing the agreement. “Israel calls on all countries that have yet to renew their ties with Israel to follow Guinea’s example. This way, we can all act together for the benefit of the region’s nations.”
Earlier this month, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a diplomatic delegation to several sub-Saharan countries—Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, and Ethiopia—with the aim of reestablishing and strengthening existing diplomatic and commercial ties.
During that visit, Netanyahu hinted to the press that he intends to “meet with a leader of a Muslim African country with which Israel previously never had diplomatic relations.”
The state was established in 1958 after it gained independence from France. Although Israel previously had diplomatic relations with the Territory of Guinea and French West Africa, those connections were severed after the Republic of Guinea became independent.