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Israel's foreign minister eyes normalisation with Somalia

Wednesday September 13, 2023

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (not pictured) speak to reporters as part of Israel's efforts "to stop Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons" in Berlin, Germany, February 28, 2023. REUTERS/Annegret Hilse Acquire Licensing Rights

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen plans to normalise relations with Somalia but faces opposition from the Israeli National Security Council, Hebrew media reported on Friday.

According to The Times of Israel, Head of the National Security Council Tzachi Hanegbi opposes ties with Somalia, pointing out that Israel does not have any interest in ties with one of the most economically deprived countries in the world.

However, Cohen wishes to normalise relations with Somalia in order to obtain its vote at the international forums where it has been voting against Israel.

The Israeli newspaper pointed out the chronic tension between the National Security Council and the Foreign Ministry dating back to 2014 when power was taken from the ministry to the council.

The newspaper reported that tension escalated after revealing news about the secret meeting between Cohen and Libyan counterpart Najla Al-Mangoush two weeks ago.

The report cited that Cohen had likely met with the close aides of Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud.

Cohen has been trying to establish relations with Somalia, which has never had relations with Israel and does not allow Israelis on its soil.

It is worth noting that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with the Somali president in Nairobi in 2016, but since then, only indirect talks have occurred between low-profile diplomats from the two sides.


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