Plans by Israel to open an embassy in Rwanda will further strengthen bilateral ties between the two nations, the Government has said.
Israel is set to open an embassy in Kigali, the country’s Premier Benjamin Netanyahu announced yesterday following his meeting with President Paul Kagame.
The two leaders met in Nairobi, Kenya on the sidelines of the inauguration of the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto.
In a tweet following their meeting, Netanyahu announced that the move is part of a plan by Israel to expand its presence on the continent and deepen partnership with African states.
“This move is part of an expansion of Israel’s presence in Africa and deepening cooperation between Israel and the countries of Africa,” his tweet read in part.
Speaking to The New Times last evening, Olivier Nduhungirehe, the minister of state for foreign affairs, cooperation and East African Community affairs, said the establishment of the Israeli embassy in Kigali would go a long way to further strengthen bilateral ties.
Nduhungirehe said the embassy is likely to be established June-July next year.
Once established, he said, the embassy it will among other purposes, serve to increase opportunities especially for business communities of the two countries.
“Israel and Rwanda have had very warm relations over the years and have cooperated in a number of aspects. The decision to open the embassy is timely and will further increase cooperation,” Nduhungirehe said.
The embassy is also expected to facilitate the opening of a flight route between Kigali and Tel Aviv, Nduhungirehe told The New Times.
“Israel has made advancement in areas such as technology, and agriculture, which we can greatly partner in. Closer cooperation will see us benefit in such areas and increase opportunities for our business communities,” he added.
Currently, the closest Israeli embassy is in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and it also covers Rwanda among other countries.
In 2015, Rwanda opened an embassy in Tel Aviv, Israel, to boost cooperation between the two states.
During Netanyahu’s visit to Rwanda last year, the two countries signed three bilateral pacts; joint declaration of intent on innovation, visa exemption for holders of diplomatic passports, and joint declaration in the field of agriculture.
Following the visit, a number of Israeli firms have since expressed intention to establish presence in the country, with Motorola already opening up their regional office in Rwanda.
In 2014, the two countries had signed a partnerships establishing a forum for consultations and increasing Rwanda’s foreign direct investments from Israeli businesses.
Last week, Foreign Affairs minister Louise Mushikiwabo revealed that the two countries are currently in negotiations on accommodating refugees from Africa who are seeking asylum in the Middle Eastern nation.
Mushikiwabo said the talks were yet to reach a conclusion and could see up to 10,000 asylum seekers willingly settled in Rwanda.