Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with former international soccer star and Liberian President George Weah in Jerusalem on Friday as Israel continues to expand its outreach in Africa.

“From a great athlete, you’ve become a great leader,” Netanyahu told Weah, who was elected president in December 2017.

The prime minister called Weah a “lovely person and friend of Israel.”

Netanyahu, who visited the Liberian capital of Monrovia in June 2017 to participate in a conference of the Economic Community of West African States, added that “Israel is returning to Africa in a big way. Africa is coming to Israel, and the entire world is coming to Israel,” added Netanyahu. “We are turning Israel into a rising global power.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Liberian President George Weah in Jerusalem on March 1, 2019. Photo: Amos Ben Gershom/GPO.

Liberia re-established diplomatic relations with Israel in 1983.

Weah on Thursday also met with Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin.

In January, Israel renewed diplomatic relations with Chad, in what Netanyahu hailed at the time as “a breakthrough into the heart of the Muslim world in Africa.”

In 2016, Netanyahu met with the leaders of Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia on a four-day visit to the continent.