Israel is working to expand the Abraham Accords with four other nations, Israel Hayom learned this week.
Foreign Minister Eli Cohen is working to normalize ties with Mauritania, Somalia, Niger and Indonesia, sources said.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is—of course—also involved in efforts behind the scenes, as are the U.S.’s Secretary of State Antony Blinken, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and Senior Adviser for Energy Security Amos Hochstein, who mediated the Israel-Lebanon maritime deal during the Bennett-Lapid government.
Negotiations with Mauritania are in an advanced phase. Cohen hinted as much last week in a meeting with German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, during which he officially asked her to help Israel with the breakthrough vis-à-vis Mauritania and Niger.
Israel and Mauritania established diplomatic relations in 1999 but Mauritania cut ties in 2008 due to that year’s Gaza war.
Israel and Somalia have never had diplomatic ties, but over the past year, reports have emerged that the country’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud is interested in establishing them. Jerusalem is particularly interested due to Somalia’s strategic location between the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean at the entrance to the Red Sea.
Israel has never had official diplomatic relations with Niger either, and those that did exist unofficially suffered during the 1973 Yom Kippur War and the 2000-05 Second Intifada.
Niger is a global supplier of uranium and ties to Israel might prevent the sale of the material to hostile countries and reduce the number of nations voting against Israel in international forums.
Cohen is also working to normalize ties with Indonesia, which with a population of around 280 million is the most populous Muslim country in the world. Although Jakarta does not have official diplomatic ties with Jerusalem, there have been unofficial connections in trade, technology and tourism.
This article first appeared in Israel Hayom.