Oct 18, 2021

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Israel is set to open an embassy in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday after meeting with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in Nairobi. The two leaders also discussed direct flights between Tel Aviv and Kigali.

“We are opening a new embassy in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. This is part of the expansion of our presence in Africa, and the deepening of the cooperation between Israel and various African countries,” Netanyahu said.

Netanyahu was in Kenya to attend the inauguration for a second term of President Uhuru Kenyatta.  The prime minister skipped the inauguration event at the Kasarani  Stadium due to security concerns, but later sat down next to Kenyatta at an official lunch at the State House.

Netanyahu addressed Kenyatta and other heads of state at the luncheon on the shared challenges Israel and Africa face, one of them being the struggle against radical Islam.

“There is a savage disease, it rampages so many many countries – Boko Haram, al-Shabab, the awful jihadists in the Sinai. This is a threat to all of us, and I believe that we can cooperate with other countries between us and with others,” Netanyahu said. “If we work together we can defeat the barbarians. Our people deserve better, we can provide it for them,” he added.

Netanyahu also addressed Israel’s desire to become an observer in the African Union. “We believe in the future of Africa, we love Africa, and I would like very much not only to cooperate on the individual basis with each of your countries, but also with the African Union,” the premiere said. “I hope that we’ll all find a way to have Israel become an observer in the African Union, because we can help, not only observe, we can help build together a better future for Africa,” he added.

Netanyahu closed the speech with an invitation to his peers to come visit in Israel, “As we’ve said for ages, next year in Jerusalem, you are all invited.”

During the visit, Netanyahu held bilateral meetings with several African Leaders including Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, and Zambian President Edgar Lungu.

The one day visit was Netanyahu’s third to the continent in a year and a half. He returns later Tuesday.

Meanwhile, earlier Tuesday, the Knesset announced that on December 5th, for the first time ever, it will host eight African heads of parliament for a special conference. The guests hail from Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Rwanda, the Seychelles, South Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. This is the first-ever conference for heads of parliament at the Knesset.