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Blinken congratulates African Union for welcoming Israel’s return as observer

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken testifies during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Department of State budget request, on June 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP)
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken testifies during a Senate Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Department of State budget request, on June 8, 2021, in Washington, DC. (Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images/AFP)

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken congratulates the African Union on welcoming Israel’s return to the organization as an observer after some 20 years.

“We congratulate the AU for its leadership in building bridges and creating new avenues for exchange, and we welcome Israel’s return to the African Union as an observer as part of our support for broader normalization,’ writes Blinken on Twitter.

The Foreign Ministry announced on Thursday that Israel will be joining the African Union as an observer state. Israel enjoyed observer status in the predecessor Organization of African Unity until 2002, when the organization dissolved itself and became the African Union.

Israel’s ambassador to Addis Ababa, Aleleign Admasu, submitted Israel’s charter as an observer member to the 55-member continental organization.

“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.

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