Netanyahu to travel to Africa for third time in less than 2 years

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November 23, 2017 14:22

Netanyahu will travel to Kenya to participate in the inauguration ceremony for President Uhuru Kenyatta.

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Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Ethiopian Hailemariam Desalegn

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Ethiopian counterpart Hailemariam Desalegn last year. ‘One reason for Netanyahu’s outreach to non-traditional allies such as China, India and countries in Africa is likely based on the realization that Israel should not, and does not have to, solely rely on . (photo credit: REUTERS)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will travel to Nairobi on Tuesday for the swearing- in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta, his third trip to the continent in 18 months.

Netanyahu announced his plans at a speech during a ceremony at the grave site of David and Paula Ben-Gurion in Sde Boker to mark the 44th year of the first prime minister’s passing.

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Netanyahu spoke of Ben-Gurion’s foreign policy doctrine, the periphery plan, which was to jump over Israel’s hostile neighbors and establish close ties with three countries in the periphery: Turkey, Iran and Ethiopia.

But today, Netanyahu said, Israel is far beyond those three periphery countries. “We are in an unprecedented [diplomatic] boom – not only with our great friend the United States, Russia, the Asian countries – especially China, India and Japan – Latin America, Australia, and African countries, where I will be going next week for the third time in a year and a half.”

Kenyatta, a strong ally in Africa, was reelected last month for a second term, and organizers are expecting some 100,000 people – including at least 20 heads of state – at the ceremony that will take place in the Kasarani Stadium in Nairobi.

Netanyahu, who visited Kenya in July of 2016 during a tour which also took him to Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda, is expected to meet with a number of other African leaders who will also attend Kenyatta’s ceremony.

Netanyahu was originally scheduled to take part in an Africa-Israel summit that was to take place in Togo at the end of last month, but the summit was scrapped because of domestic problems in the West African state. Several meetings with leaders that Netanyahu had hoped to hold there are now likely to take place in Nairobi.

Netanyahu has made improving ties with Africa one of his top foreign relations priorities.


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