Reuters Ronen Zvulun
Israeli Intelligence Minister Eli Cohen revealed, yesterday, Saturday, that his country is holding secret talks with Niger on the normalization of bilateral relations, according to “Israel Hayom” website.
Cohen added that Niger is studying the normalization of relations with Israel, considering that Niamey will resume its relations with Tel Aviv if the United States contributes to advancing this process.
“Niger is the largest Islamic country in West Africa, with a population of more than 25 million,” Cohen said, adding that “establishing relations between Israel and Islamic countries in Africa is a step that will benefit both sides, whether at the bilateral level or in terms of regional stability.”
Niger severed relations with Israel twice in the past, the first time in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War, and then in 2002, at the height of the Al-Aqsa Intifada.
“Israel Hayom” quoted government sources as saying that no real effort has yet been made to resume relations with Niamey, mostly due to the fact that “any Israeli traveling to the terror-stricken Niger will face a mortal danger.”
The Ministry of Intelligence said that at the present time there may be an opportunity to resume relations with West Africa, citing a shift in the record of voting against Israel in international bodies, while Mohamed Bazoum’s victory in the presidential elections in Niger last month also increases the chances of resuming relations, according to Israel. Hayom. “
But perhaps the most important thing for Israel is that Niger is one of the largest exporters of uranium in the world, and one of the sources said that stable relations between the two countries may affect Nigerian uranium exports to “countries hostile to Israel.”
Source: “Israel Hayom”