Israeli envoy presents credentials in Chad after 50-year hiatus

Renewal of ties comes after agreements in 2019 between former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the late Chadian president Idriss Deby Itno

Ambassador Ben Bourgel presents his credentials to Chad President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on May 17, 2022. (Foreign Ministry/Twitter)
Ambassador Ben Bourgel presents his credentials to Chad President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno on May 17, 2022. (Foreign Ministry/Twitter)

An Israeli diplomat presented his credentials to the president of Chad for the first time in 50 years Tuesday.

Ben Bourgel, the non-resident ambassador to a host of African nations including Senegal, Gambia and Guinea, presented his credentials to Chad President Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.

“This marks an important benchmark in the deepening of the relations between Chad and Israel since their resumption in 2019,” tweeted the Israeli Embassy in Senegal. “Ambassador Bourgel and his team will work to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries in areas of common interest such as climate change, agriculture, water management and health.”

Before his appointment as Ambassador to Senegal in 2021, Bourgel served as minister-counselor, political coordinator of the Permanent Mission of Israel to the United Nations in New York, where he was responsible for strategic affairs, the Middle East and the Security Council. He was also in charge of the Disarmament and Special Political Affairs Committees, according to the Embassy of Israel in Senegal.

Israel and Chad announced the reestablishment of diplomatic relations in January 2019, after Chad severed ties with Israel in 1972 due to pressure from Libyan strongman Muammar Gaddafi. Former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with former Chad president Idriss Deby Itno to agree on increasing bilateral cooperation as well.

The following year, there were mixed reports on whether Chad would establish a diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. Israel said that a senior official from Chad had indicated his country was willing to open an official diplomatic mission in Jerusalem. However, the Al Jazeera Arabic news network quoted the Chad Foreign Ministry as denying the move.

Deby, who ruled the central African nation for more than three decades, was killed last year on the battlefield in a fight against rebels. His son replaced him as Chad’s president.

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