Netanyahu Set to Visit Chad on Sunday

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu (R.) delivers a joint statement with Chadian President Idriss Déby in Yerushalayim, in November 2018. (Reuters/Ronen Zvulun)

After the visit of Chad President Idriss Déby to Israel in November, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is set to return the favor and visit Chad. The visit is scheduled for Sunday. Netanyahu will return to Israel Sunday night, according to the Prime Minister’s Office.

The visit by Netanyahu could culminate in an announcement that the two countries were renewing official diplomatic relations, which were broken off in 1972, with Chad following other African countries in cutting off ties with Yerushalayim. Media reports in November said that Déby had broached the topic in November, but had given Netanyahu a list of conditions that needed to be fulfilled before that could happen.

Among those conditions was the acquisition of advanced military systems which Chad seeks to purchase from Israel, Hadashot News reported. According to sources, the list was very extensive, “worryingly extensive,” according to the report. The sources said that Chad was “very firm” on its demands. It was that extensive list that prompted the director general of the Foreign Ministry, Yuval Rotem, to oppose the November visit unless Déby was prepared to immediately declare the renewal of relations. He was opposed by National Security Council head Meir Ben-Shabbat.

Speaking at a joint press conference on the occasion of Déby’s visit in November, Netanyahu said that the two discussed “the relations between our two countries and the way we can cooperate for the benefit of our peoples and for peace and for security. We will continue our discussions and I think they are going to be very fruitful. I think the historic visit of President Déby to Israel marks a new era, a new era for security, for cooperation and for peace.”