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Netanyahu hosts Kenyan president in Jerusalem

The leaders agreed to strengthen trade, tech, cyber-defense, tourism, water and agriculture ties.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan President William Ruto in Jerusalem, May 9, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan President William Ruto in Jerusalem, May 9, 2023. Photo by Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met on Tuesday in Jerusalem with Kenyan President William Ruto, with the two men holding a private tête-à-tête before an expanded meeting in the framework of a working lunch.

Netanyahu praised Ruto’s commitment to advancing relations as well as policies to strengthen regional stability, and noted that Kenya could serve as a gateway for trade and international cooperation with the rest of Africa.

The two leaders agreed to work together to strengthen economic and diplomatic ties in areas including bilateral trade, technology, cyber-defense, advancing the restoration of a direct air route, water and agriculture.

At the start of the meeting, joint Israel-Kenya declarations of intent to enhance tourism and environmental protection were signed.

Ruto invited the prime minister and Sara Netanyahu for a visit.

On Monday, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen met with his Kenyan counterpart Alfred Nganga Mutua in the Israeli capital. The two diplomats signed a memorandum of understanding on water technologies and the fight against climate change. They also agreed to promote direct flights between their countries as well as the continuation of Kenya’s support for Israel at international institutions, particularly in the African Union.

“Kenya is a significant African player and an important factor in the Conference of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency. I emphasized to my friend Foreign Minister Mutua the ways in which we can deepen the relationship between our countries in the fields of security, trade and the economy,” said Cohen.

“Kenya has significant potential in helping to expand the Abraham Accords and harnessing additional partnerships in Africa for the benefit of regional prosperity and stability,” he added.

Netanyahu has made strengthening ties with Africa a central platform of his premierships.

In February, he dedicated the Embassy of the Republic of Chad together with the president of Chad, Mahamat Idriss Déby Itno.

“We believe that our cooperation can help not only advance our relations, but it is also part of Israel’s coming back to Africa and Africa coming back to Israel. We have common goals of security, prosperity and stability,” Netanyahu said at the time.

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