Goodbye Ankara, hello Accra

After a 38-year absence, Israel formally reopened its embassy in the Ghanaian capital of Accra, a sign of rapidly-developing ties.

By
September 15, 2011 02:42
2 minute read.
Ambassador Sharon Bar-Li with Ghanian president

Ambassador Sharon Bar-li with Ghanian president 311. (photo credit: Courtesy of Foreign Ministry)

 
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Israel may have lost Turkey, but it is gaining Ghana.

After a 38-year absence, Israel formally reopened its embassy in the Ghanaian capital of Accra on Wednesday, a sign of the rapidly-developing ties with that west African nation.

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Ghana was the first African country to recognize Israel in 1956, but – along with the vast majority of sub-Saharan African states with which Israel developed close ties in the late 1950s and 1960s – broke off relations following intensive Arab pressure after the Yom Kippur war in 1973.

Ties were reestablished in the 1990s, and of late Ghana has been a preferred location for Israeli businessmen looking to invest in western Africa.

Israel will be represented in Ghana by Sharon Bar-li, who presented her credentials last week to Ghana’s President John Evans Atta Mills.

The decision to reopen the embassy in Ghana was taken during a visit there in September 2009 by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. Foreign Ministry officials said this development was part of an effort by Israel to place an emphasis on focusing more on fostering ties with African countries. Ghana is expected to open an embassy in Israel in the near future.

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Israel’s embassy in Accra will be the country’s seventh in Africa, the others are located in Angola, Cameroon, Cote d’Ivoire, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal and South Africa.

In a related development, the Foreign Ministry said Wednesday it will be sending medical assistance to Kenya to help treat victims of a gas pipeline explosion in Nairobi on Monday that killed more than 100 people and wounded scores more.

After the blast, Israel’s envoy in Nairobi immediately turned to the Kenyatta National Hospital in the capital, where most of the victims were being treated, and offered Israel’s assistance.

Most of the victims from the blast are in that hospital, and the offer was accepted immediately.

The aid includes 360 kilograms of medication to treat burns, bandages, IV sets, various medical ointments and painkillers. The assistance is due to arrive in Kenya on Thursday.

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