(JNS.org) Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced plans to open a new Israeli embassy in Rwanda in a bid to boost the Jewish state’s ties in sub-Saharan Africa.
“We are opening a new embassy in the Rwandan capital Kigali as part of Israel’s expanding presence in Africa and the deepening of cooperation between Israel and the countries of Africa,” Netanyahu said after he met with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Nairobi, Kenya.
The leaders also discussed the possibility of opening a direct air link between Israel and Rwanda, Netanyahu’s office stated.
Last week, Rwanda’s Foreign Minister Louise Mushikiwabo confirmed that the country is in talks to accept around 10,000 African migrants who had crossed into Israel illegally.
Netanyahu was in Kenya as part of the inauguration of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who won a second term last month in a controversial election do-over. Kenya’s original presidential election in August was annulled by the country’s supreme court, and the Kenyan political opposition boycotted the second election as well as Kenyatta’s inauguration. Clashes between protesters and police during the inauguration resulted in two deaths.
As such, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency prevented Netanyahu from attending the inauguration. Instead, the Israeli leader attended a lunch event at Kenya’s presidential palace, where he met with 10 African leaders.
“This is my third visit to Africa in 18 months, and my second visit here in Kenya,” Netanyahu said at the event. “We believe in the future of Africa. We love Africa and I would like very much not only to cooperate on an individual basis with each of your countries…but also with the African Union.”