President Paul Kagame concludes visit to Israel

  • May 16, 2008
President Paul Kagame lays a wreath at the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem. The President had gone to attend the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

KIGALI - President Kagame returns to Kigali Friday following a three-day visit to Israel where he took part in several events to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel including a reception hosted by President George Bush. Speaking earlier at the “Presidents Discussing Tomorrow” panel with other invited heads of state on issues of globalization and interdependence, President Kagame reaffirmed Rwanda’s determination to actively earn the benefits of a globalization in diverse areas of finance, trade, investment, technology while effectively confronting emerging challenges.

He also called for a more level playing field in order to correct the imbalance between rich and poor countries noting that “the world has the human and material means to achieve these national, regional and global goals – what is needed is fairness and political will to realize this vision.”

During his visit, President Kagame met with world leaders including high-ranking Israeli government officials. In talks with Shimon Peres, President Kagame congratulated the Israeli President on marking 60 years of statehood and remarked on Israel’s example of resilience and tenacity in nation building.

The Israeli leader expressed admiration for Rwanda’s leadership in rebuilding a shattered country and “overcoming the agonies of lost lives”.

He also pointed out that there were lessons to be learned from Israel and based on the friendship established between the two countries, Rwanda can look to Israel and explore domains where the latter has strengths.

Noting that “this is the age of Africa”, President Peres said that Africans would have to take the leadership role in correcting wrongs associated with colonialism on the continent and work in partnership with the rest of the world to make this happen.  

President Kagame reiterated the strong friendship between the two countries which enjoy excellent bilateral relations and welcomed the strengthening of the partnership between Rwanda and Israel.

On Tuesday, President Kagame visited Yad Vashem, the Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Authority in Jerusalem and laid a wreath at The Hall of Remembrance.

In discussions with officials at the memorial, President Kagame remarked on the striking similarities between the Jewish Holocaust and the Genocide in Rwanda, in particular the ideology of humiliation and dehumanization, as well as the fact that for both, it was the most educated individuals in those societies who provided the intellectual justification for genocide.  

Some Rwandans have visited Yad Vashem and President Kagame expressed his wish to see more cooperation in order for Rwandans to learn from the world renowned institution which was established in 1953 in order to document the history of the Jewish people during the Holocaust period, preserve the memory of victims, and impart the legacy of the Holocaust for future generations.

President Kagame also met with Tzipi Livni, the Israeli Foreign Minister and held talks with Burkina Faso’s President Blaise Compaore, who was among the dignitaries present in Jerusalem.


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