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Niger Servers Relations with Israel - 2002-04-22

The West African country Niger says it is breaking diplomatic relations with Israel.

Niger attributed the move to what it called the "intransigence" of Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in the 18-month conflict with the Palestinians.

In a statement Sunday, Niger's government said the Israeli prime minister has shown his desire to risk all the gains made under the peace process.

The West African country, where more than 90 percent of the population is Muslim, restored diplomatic ties with Israel in 1996 after severing them in 1973 following the Arab-Israeli war.