After almost five decades, Israel on Wednesday renewed diplomatic relations with the Republic of Guinea, a small, overwhelmingly Muslim country in West Africa that cut ties with the Jewish state in 1967.

Foreign Ministry Director-General Dore Gold signed an agreement with Ibrahim Khalil Kaba, President Alpha Condé’s chief of staff, in Paris.

“This is an important closing of a circle,” Gold said, noting that it has been nearly 50 years since the government in Conakry cut ties with Israel.

“The number of countries on the African continent that still haven’t [re-established ties with Israel] is steadily decreasing, and we’re hopeful that soon this number will not exist anymore,” Gold said. “Israel is calling on the countries that still haven’t renewed diplomatic relations to follow in Guinea’s footsteps so that we can work together to the benefit of all peoples in the region.”

Gold said that bilateral ties with Guinea had existed even when they were not formal ones, and emphasized Israel’s contribution in the fight against the Ebola virus, which had affected the West African nation. “Friends in need are friends indeed,” Gold said.

Read the full article at Times of Israel