Netanyahu meets President of Chad Idriss Deby
Netanyahu meets President of Chad Idriss Deby Amos Ben Gershom/GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu held a joint press conference with Chad President Idriss Deby on his first visit to Israel Sunday evening.

Before the press conference, the leaders held a private meeting.

"Welcome to Israel and Jerusalem," Netanyahu told Deby. "This is the first official visit of the President of Chad to Israel, after a long break in our relations. Chad is a very important country in Africa, and very important to Israel, we have never stopped our relationship."

Chad severed relations with Israel in 1972.

"We want to cooperate in fighting terrorism. Giving our people what they deserve, water, security, cooperation can yield results. Israel has cooperated with African countries in the past on water issues. Now it grows and blooms again. In the past two years I have been to Africa, East Africa, and West Africa three times,"Netanyahu said.

The prime minister added, "I also hope to visit Central Africa - I throw a big hint. I hope to bring with me large Israeli companies and everything I think can improve the lives of people in Africa. Africa is returning to Israel and Israel is returning to Africa. But I want to congratulate you, Mr. President, on your leadership."

President Idriss Deby said at the press conference that "this is a historic visit both for Chad and for Israel and will allow us to open a new chapter in our relations."

"This visit reflects our intention to enter a new era of cooperation and, as a result, the renewal of diplomatic relations," he added.

"The renewal of the relationship between us, which I personally very much want, is not something that can eliminate the Palestinian problem, and I myself have declared on more than one occasion in the UN that my country is very sympathetic and yearning for a peace process between Israel and the Palestinians, and this agreement should reflect the Arab peace initiative and agreements between the two sides" President Deby said.