YERUSHALAYIM - After the Prime Minister’s Office twice announced in recent days that Cape Verde, a small island state off the coast of West Africa, had committed to cease its anti-Israeli voting policy at the U.N., Cape Verde issued a statement on Tuesday night saying it isn’t so.
This represents a setback for Netanyahu’s Africa initiative, which hailed the Cape Verde decision as “important” evidence of its success.
Cape Verde’s President Jorge Carlos Fonseca claimed that during his meeting with Netanyahu at the ECOWAS conference in June, the question of Cape Verde’s “voting processes in different international forums, as well as the mechanisms for their implementation, through representatives of Cape Verde, were not addressed, let alone discussed, since they imply an articulation between two sovereign bodies, according to each one’s competences.”
Fonseca would only reaffirm that “several issues related to cooperation between the two countries, such as agriculture, energy, tourism and security, were dealt with, and they reiterated their mutual interest in strengthening such links.”
In other words, Cape Verde wants to be friends with Israel, but is not ready to change its voting patterns.
Israeli diplomatic sources attributed the apparent reversal not to any misunderstanding of Fonseca’s intentions, but to pressure applied to him by Arab countries who seek to thwart Israel’s foreign policy advances.
An Israeli diplomatic official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Cape Verde months ago told Israel’s ambassador, Paul Hirschson, that it had decided to stop voting against Israel in international forums. “This was confirmed by local press reports in Cape Verde,” the official said, according to The Times of Israel.
The Israeli Prime Minister’s Office and the Foreign Ministry declined to comment Wednesday on the Cape Verdean statements.
Cape Verde, a mostly Christian country, has about 525,000 inhabitants.