Israel engaging Somalia & 3 other Muslim nations to expand Abraham Accords?

Published: March 7, 2023

Israel is working to expand the Abraham Accords with four other nations, according to the Israel Hayom newspaper. 

Sources said that Foreign Minister Eli Cohen was working to normalize ties with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger and Indonesia. 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is – of course – also involved in efforts behind the scenes, as are United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, and Amos Hochstein, who mediated the Israel-Lebanon maritime deal during the Bennett-Lapid government.

Israel and Somalia have never had diplomatic ties, but over the past year, reports have said that the country’s president Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is interested in establishing them. Jerusalem too is interested due to Somalia’s important strategic location between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean at the entrance to the Red Sea.

Negotiations with Mauritania are in the advanced state, as Cohen hinted last week in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, during which he officially asked her to help Israel with the breakthrough vis-a-vis Mauritania and Niger. 

Israel and Mauritania used to have diplomatic relations – established in 1999 – but cut ties in 2008 due to the Gaza war. 

With Niger, Israel has never had official diplomatic relations either, except for a brief period of unofficial ties during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the Second Intifada (2000-2005), but no efforts to re-establish them have been made since. 

Jerusalem is interested in normalizing ties with Niger as it is a global supplier of uranium and its ties to Israel might prevent the sale of the material to hostile countries and reduce the number of nations voting against Israel in international forums. 

Cohen is also working to normalize ties with Indonesia, the biggest Muslim country in the world. Although Jakarta does not have official diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, there have been unofficial connections in trade, technology, and tourism.

Source: Israel Hayom