Premier Yitzhak Shamir arrived in Togo Monday on his first visit to that West African country since it announced on June 9 that it will re-establish diplomatic relations with Israel, broken during the Yom Kippur War in 1973.
Telephone reports by journalists accompanying the Prime Minister said he was greeted by a large crowd at Lome airport, including children who sang Hebrew songs and shouted, “Shalom Shamir.”
Before his departure Sunday night in an Israel Air Force Boeing 707, Shamir said he would meet with President Gnassibinge Eyadema of Togo and members of his government “to determine the scope and nature of the relations we have renewed. From there, I’ll move on to other African states.”
Shamir will visit Liberia and Cameroon, both of whom have restored their diplomatic ties with Israel. “These relations are developing in a satisfactory manner,” Shamir said, adding that “during this trip we will perhaps also be able to do something toward expanding our ties” in the rest of Africa.
He noted that he was accompanied on his trip by Israeli businessmen. “The governments of these nations are greatly interested in business ties with Jewish businessmen throughout the world in order to develop their countries,” Shamir said.
In addition to Togo, Liberia and Cameroon, Israel now has diplomatic relations with Zaire and Ivory Coast. But 24 other Black African states have yet to restore relations with Israel. Davar quoted “reliable sources in Jerusalem” Monday as saying Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean close to Africa, will be the next to resume relations with Israel.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.