Cape Verde's President Jorge Carlos de Almeida Fonseca addresses the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at U.N. headquarters in New York.
(photo credit: REUTERS/EDUARDO MUNOZ)
Cape Verde Prime Minister José Ulisses Correia e Silva, whose island state off of Africa’s west coast is of significance to Israel primarily because of how it votes on key Mideast issues in international forums, arrived for a four-day visit on Sunday.
The visit comes a year and a half after the country made brief headlines when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement saying that Cape Verde’s President Jorge Carlos Fonseca directed the country’s UN delegation in New York to no longer vote against Israel.
Up until that time, the country generally voted against Israel at the UN, though at times it had abstained or absented itself from key votes on Israel-related issues.
Netanyahu hailed the decision, saying that it was the “result of Israel’s intensive diplomatic activities in Africa,” noting that he had met Fonseca on the sidelines of the Economic Community of West Africa States (ECOWAS) conference in Liberia two months earlier.
The only problem was that Netanyahu rejoiced too soon; a few days later, Fonesco – in a Facebook post – denied that any directive was issued.
Diplomatic sources in Jerusalem said they believe that Fonesca’s about-face was the result of pressure placed on the country by Arab states ardently opposed to the inroads Israel was making in Africa. That opposition continues to this day, as evident by a special committee meeting chaired by Saudi Arabia to combat Israeli efforts in Africa that met last week at a summit of Arab League foreign ministers in Cairo.
Cape Verde, an archipelago comprising some 10 islands that gained independence from Portugal in 1975, has a population of about 550,000.
It was one of seven of Africa’s non-Arab League states that voted for Israel in a December UN General Assembly vote condemning Hamas, the other countries being Rwanda, South Sudan, Eritrea, Malawi, Liberia and Lesotho.
In December of 2017, however, it was one of the countries voting for a resolution that slammed the US for moving its embassy to Jerusalem.
Silva went to Yad Vashem and toured the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday, and is scheduled to meet Netanyahu for dinner at his residence on Monday night. In addition, he is scheduled to meet President Reuven Rivlin during his visit, as well as visit a number of sites dealing with high tech, innovation and water management.
Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>