Entebbe, Uganda | AFP | Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and called for the opening of missions in each others’ countries, during a visit aimed at boosting ties.
Netanyahu last visited Uganda in July 2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of a hostage rescue at Entebbe airport, in which his brother Yonatan died.
“There are two things we very much want to achieve… one is direct flights from Israel to Uganda,” Netanyahu told Museveni at a joint press conference.
“And second… you open an embassy in Jerusalem, I’ll open an embassy in Kampala,” he added.
“We are studying that,” Museveni replied.
“The issue of the embassy, we are discussing it. The good thing with all the controversies, is that there is a part of Jerusalem, which under the partition plan, was in Israel. At least that is not part of the arguments, and If a friend says put your embassy here, rather than there…… We are studying that,” he said.
Traditionally, most diplomatic missions in Israel have been in Tel Aviv as countries maintained a neutral stance over the status of Jerusalem.
But US President Donald Trump shocked the world in December 2017 by recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital and shifting the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to that city.
In recent years, Israel has boosted its links with African nations, improving ties following a difficult period when many post-independence African leaders sided with Israel’s Arab rivals, and viewed Israel’s support for apartheid South Africa with intense suspicion.
Israel now has diplomatic relations with 39 of 47 sub-Saharan African states.
Prime Minister Netanyahu has proposed the issue of having direct flights between Tel Aviv and Entebbe, and this is something we are going to take up, now that Uganda Airlines is operational. pic.twitter.com/yYxqDoB8b5
— Yoweri K Museveni (@KagutaMuseveni) February 3, 2020
Netanyahu is on his fifth visit to Africa in less than four years. The continent is a lucrative market for defence equipment and the agriculture sector.
As Israeli expertise in military and agricultural technology has developed, the opportunity for trade with Africa has grown.
Sudan deal close
Also in Uganda, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu met Sudan’s leader Monday to discuss “normalisation” between the two states, his office said.
Netanyahu met Abdel Fattah al-Burhan, chairman of Sudan’s ruling sovereign council, and “agreed to start cooperation leading to normalisation of the relationship between the two countries,” a statement from his office said.
Israel and Sudan are technically at war.
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