TEL AVIV (Jan. 17)
The Central African Republic’s decision to resume diplomatic ties with Israel has been well received in Jerusalem, especially in light of the political momentum gained by the Palestine Liberation Organization in recent weeks.
The Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry were reported especially pleased, even though the republic only a month ago recognized the independent Palestinian state proclaimed by PLO chief Yasir Arafat.
Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir’s media spokesman, Avi Pazner, expressed hope Monday, when the diplomatic move was announced, that other African states would follow the examples of the Central African Republic and Kenya, which resumed ties with Israel on Dec. 30.
All but four African countries broke diplomatic relations with Israel during the 1973 Yom Kippur War, as a gesture of solidarity with Egypt.
The Central African Republic is the seventh black African state that has restored relations in recent years.
Its foreign minister announced the decision following a meeting between President Andre Kolingba and a high-level Israeli delegation in Bangui, the nation’s capital.
The Foreign Ministry and special envoy David Kimche, meanwhile, are in contact with Nigeria, Mozambique and other African nations in an effort to re-establish diplomatic relations.