By Azania Post Reporter
TOGOLESE President Faure Gnassingbe and Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have agreed to postpone an important summit scheduled to be held in Lome late next month.
According to Israel foreign Ministry’s spokesperson, the Israel-Africa summit scheduled late October has been postponed indefinitely due to rising unrest in Togo.
TOGOLESE President Faure Gnassingbe
Emmanuel Nahshon told Al Jazeera that the decision to postpone the event had nothing to do with the threats of boycott, and rather with the ongoing political instability in Togo.
"The decision was linked to the internal situation in Togo. The situation is seen to be unstable, and they [Togo's presidency] asked to postpone," he said.
"It has nothing to do with pressure or threats of boycott. We didn't want to go and place an added burden on Togo."
Both the organisers and Israeli government were unable to provide a possible new date for the summit.
"In the near future, Israel will hold consultations in Africa, both on the bilateral level as well as in regional gatherings and fora on the continent, in order to guarantee the full success of the summit," a statement from the organisers of the summit read.
Togo has seen a series of anti-government protests in late August and early September.
Thousands of people have taken to the streets to demand that President Faure Gnassingbe step down.
The protests are seen as the biggest challenge to his family's power since the death of his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, in 2005.
Eyadema ruled Togo for 38 years after seizing the country in a coup in 1967.
In response to the protests, authorities have cracked down on demonstrators, resulting in at least two deaths. Internet and communications were also cut for at least six days.
According to an estimate by the Afro-Middle East Centre, based in Johannesburg, 48 percent of African nations were likely to attend the summit.
However, Israel's foreign ministry spokesperson remained adamant that "African countries have good relations with Israel" and denied that the postponement had been engineered by threats of boycott.
In August, Netanyahu said that "various pressures have been placed on the Togolese president to cancel the conference.
"These pressures are the best testimony to the success of our policy, of Israel's presence in Africa".