Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opens the weekly cabinet meeting at the prime minister's office in Jerusalem, Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019. (Gali Tibbon/Pool via AP)

Tel Aviv - Almost five decades after diplomatic relations broke down between Israel and Chad, Israel's prime minister arrived in N'Djamena on Sunday in a visit aimed at officially renewing ties between the countries.

Benjamin Netanyahu was greeted in the capital by Chad's Foreign Minister Mahamat Zene Cherif and other officials. He then went straight to a meeting with Chadian President Idris Deby.

In remarks made in Israel prior to his departure, Netanyahu said: "I am now leaving on another historic and important breakthrough, to Chad, a huge Muslim country bordering Libya and Sudan."

"This is part of the revolution that we are doing in the Arab and Islamic worlds; I promised you that this would happen. There will be more major news. There will be more countries," he continued

He added that the visit "is very disturbing and even causes outrage in Iran and among the Palestinians who are trying to prevent this. They will not succeed."

Diplomatic relations between Israel and Chad, a predominantly Muslim country, broke down in 1972.

Deby met with Netanyahu in Jerusalem in November. According to a statement released by Netanyahu's office at the time, the leaders talked about the fight against terrorism, as well as increasing bilateral cooperation in agriculture, counterterrorism, border defence, technology, solar energy, water and health.

Deby, in power for almost three decades, rules Chad with an iron fist. But the well-trained Chadian army's efforts to help combat Islamist terrorist group Boko Haram in neighbouring Nigeria, Niger and Cameroon have made Chad an important ally of the West.

dpa