Sudan, Mali, Niger on Netanyahu’s Itinerary

YERUSHALAYIM -

The African countries Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu alluded to in his comments on coming diplomatic advances, include Sudan, Mali and Niger, according to a senior Israeli official quoted by Channel 10 on Sunday night.

The move toward diplomatic relations with Chad announced earlier on Sunday is to serve as an opening to those other Muslim-majority countries.

According to the report, aside from counter-terror and economic cooperation, Israel is keen on gaining access to the airspace of Chad and Sudan in particular, in order to facilitate travel to Latin America.

Flying directly from Israel to Brazil over Sudan, for example, would reduce travel time by approximately four hours by eliminating the current stopover in either Europe or North America, which makes for a 17-hour journey.

Overflight permission is also a feature of warming relations with Oman. Channel 10 reported on Sunday that in his visit to Muskat last month Netanyahu was promised that Israeli commercial airlines would be allowed to fly over Oman, though it didn’t say when that might happen.