Israel will be joining the African Union as an observer state, the Foreign Ministry announced Thursday. Israel’s ambassador to Addis Ababa, Aleleign Admasu, submitted Israel’s charter as an observer member to the 55-member continental organization.
Israel enjoyed observer status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization dissolved itself and became the African Union.
“This is a day of celebration for Israel-Africa relations,” said Foreign Minister Yair Lapid. “This diplomatic achievement is the result of efforts by the Foreign Ministry, the African Division, and Israeli embassies on the continent.”
“This corrects the anomaly that existed for almost two decades,” Lapid continued, “and is an important part of strengthening of fabric of Israel’s foreign relations. This will help us strengthen our activities in the continent and in the organization’s member states.”
Israel has relations with 46 of the AU member states. Israel reestablished relations with Guinea in 2016 and with Chad in 2019.
In October 2020, Israel also signed a normalization agreement with Sudan.
The Foreign Ministry said the development would allow for better cooperation on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and on combating terrorism.