Israel has been given the status of an observer at the African Union (AU). On Thursday, the decision was made official at the bloc’s headquarters in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, when the Israeli Ambassador to Ethiopia presented his credentials to the Chairman of the African Union Commission.
Israel earlier had observer status in the Organization of African Unity (OAU) until the OAU was scattered in 2002 and replaced by the AU.
“The formal establishment of Israel’s observer status with the AU will enable stronger cooperation between the two parties on various aspects, including the fight against COVID-19 and the prevention “of the spread of extremist terrorism” on the African continent, an official statement from the Israeli Foreign Ministry read.
In a separate statement, Faki stressed the AU’s position on the longstanding Israeli-Palestinian conflict, reiterating the bloc’s stance that a two-state solution was necessary for peaceful co-existence.”
He “emphasized that the path towards long-lasting peace and stability requires that the peace process and the solutions sought must not only be acceptable, but must guarantee the rights of all parties,” read the AU’s statement.
In May, Faki condemned Israel when its forces bombarded the besieged Gaza Strip for 11 days, as well as Israeli security forces’ attacks on the Al-Aqsa Mosque, Islam’s third-holiest site located in occupied East Jerusalem, saying the Israeli army was acting “in stark violation of international law.”
Pro-Palestine language is typically featured in statements delivered at the AU’s annual summits.
Faki used last year’s summit to denounce then-US President Donald Trump’s plan for the Middle East, drawing applause in the AU’s main hall when he said it “trampled on the rights of the Palestinian people.”
Palestinians already have observer status at the AU, and Israeli diplomats have criticized recent AU statements on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.