Israel and the Republic of Guinea announced the renewing of their diplomatic relations on Wednesday, following 49 years of severed relations.
Director-General of the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dori Gold met with the Chief of Staff of the Guinean President's Office Dr. Ibrahim Khalil Kaba in Paris a signed a joint statement announcing the renewing of relations.
The renewing of diplomatic relations with Guinea is unrelated to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's recent visit to Africa, as the negotiations began months earlier. Senior officials in Jerusalem told Haaretz that what led to the breakthrough in relations was the country's struggle with an Ebola epidemic two years ago.
Israel was one of the major donors to the international UN fund to combat the disease, pledging $10 million to the cause. In addition, Israel sent a medical team to Guinea capital Conakry to identify and treat Ebola patients. Senior Israeli officials said that this Israeli gesture of goodwill paved the way to renewed relations.
Guinea, a country with a Muslim majority, was the first African nation to severe its ties with Israel following the Six-Day War in 1967. Following Guinea, other African countries also cut ties with Israel and in 1973 additional countries severed relations. All these cases were a result of pressure applied by Egypt and Libya.
“Guinea and Israel are countries with a long history of friendship even during the period in which they had no diplomatic relations,” Director-General of the Foreign Ministry, Dore Gold said.
“We now yearn to advance our bilateral cooperation yet further. Israel is ready to put its experience and capabilities at the disposal of Guinea’s development needs in a wide variery of fields such as agriculture, water management and homeland defense,” he added.