The Africa Israel-Summit that was planned for late October in the west African nation of Togo may be moved to Israel, according to diplomatic sources.
Israel’s Foreign Ministry had said in a statement Monday that the summit had been postponed to an unspecified date at the request of Togolese president Faure Gnassingbé, sparking suggestions that he had succumbed to pressures from Arab and Saharan countries to call off the gathering.
The sources said, however, that the suggestions were baseless and that the postponement of the conference was in fact due to domestic unrest in Togo.
Togo has experienced severe unrest in recent days as protesters have called for an end to the 50-year Gnassingbé dynasty. Tens of thousands of people have protested around the country demanding Gnassingbé’s departure. Dozens have been arrested and last week, two protesters were killed in clashes with police.
Gnassingbé came to power in contested elections in 2005 after the death of his father, who seized power in a coup in 1967. Following the 2005 elections, hundreds of people were killed in clashes around the West African country.
A parliamentary commission was expected to meet Wednesday in Lomé to review a draft bill on constitutional reform, introduced in an effort to counter the growing anti-government protests.
Some 25 African states were to have participated in the first Africa-Israel summit aimed at strengthening economic and diplomatic ties between Israel and Africa.