Niger is reportedly in secret discussions with Israel about normalizing their relations, months after the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain and Sudan signed agreements to establish full diplomatic ties with the Tel Aviv regime.
According to a report published by the Israeli Hebrew-language Yedioth Ahronoth daily newspaper on Friday, speculations are rife in the Israeli ministry of foreign affairs that Niger – the largest Muslim country in West Africa – is likely the next Arab country to normalize ties with Israel.
The news comes in light of Israeli media reports in recent weeks that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is encouraging Niger’s officials to take the measure.
The Yedioth Ahronoth noted that the Israeli ministry of intelligence believed there would be a breakthrough in secret communications to conclude the normalization agreement between Israel and Niger if former interior minister and president of the Nigerien Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS-Tarayya) Mohamed Bazoum won the December 27 presidential election.
The newspaper cited Israeli intelligence minister Eli Cohen as saying that the forthcoming election in Niger will be essential in terms of moving forward normalization between the Tel Aviv regime and Niamey.
US President Donald Trump announced on October 23 at the White House that Sudan and Israel had agreed to normalize relations.
Trump sealed the agreement in a phone call with Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Sudanese counterpart Abdalla Hamdok and chairman of the Sovereignty Council Lieutenant-General Abdel Fattah Abdelrahman al-Burhan, senior US officials said.
Sudan’s acting Foreign Minister Omar Gamareldin, however, later said the accord would depend on approval from its yet-to-be formed legislative council.
It is unclear when the assembly will be formed under a power-sharing deal between the country’s military officers and civilians.
Earlier, Netanyahu signed US-brokered normalization deals with UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Bahraini Foreign Minister Abdullatif bin Rashid al-Zayani during a September 15 ceremony at the White House.
The normalization deals have drawn widespread condemnation from Palestinians, who seek an independent state in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, with East Jerusalem al-Quds as its capital. They say the deals ignore their rights and do not serve the Palestinian cause.