PRESIDENT REUVEN RIVLIN meets with Irene Molise Mabusela, Lesotho’s new ambassador to Israel, at the President’s Residence yesterday..
(photo credit: GPO)
The new ambassadors of India, Chile, Myanmar, Estonia, and Lesotho presented their credentials to President Reuven Rivlin on Wednesday, in a series of ceremonies in which three of the five came in the traditional attire of their respective countries.
The five envoys were Pavon Kapoor of India, Monica Jimenez de la Jara of Chile, Maung Maung Lynn of Myanmar, Sulev Kannike of Estonia and Irene Molise Mabusela of Lesotho, who is a non-resident ambassador stationed in Rome.
Rivlin impressed on all five that while Israel understands criticism and disagreement regarding some of its policies, boycotts are unacceptable.
Kapoor, a career diplomat for more than a quarter of a century, brought greetings from President Pranab Mukherjee, whom he said was “most fascinated” by what he saw during his visit to Israel last October. Kapoor added that India was looking forward to Rivlin’s reciprocal visit later this year.
Rivlin told Kapoor that he hopes to see Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Israel very soon.
Rivlin and Kapoor discussed areas of cooperation such as agriculture, water, energy, cyber and other security needs, with Rivlin saying that they have to be prepared “for the kind of burden of security that is imposed on both peoples.”
Kapoor thanked Rivlin for the security assistance that India had received from Israel in 1999 “when faced with aggression.” He was referring to the Kargil War fought between India and Pakistan.
Since then there has been much closer military and intelligence cooperation between Israel and India.
With Jimenez, who had previously been her country’s ambassador to the Holy See, Rivlin discussed religion, education and peace.
Jimenez was a former education minister and has been a peace activist for all of her adult life. Noting that she had come from the Vatican, Rivlin said, “We brought the ideas of God to Rome 2,000 years ago. This is the center of the Holy Land. To telephone God from Jerusalem is only a local call.”
Myanmar’s ambassador Maung Maung Lynn has been in Israel for about six weeks, during which time he, his wife and daughter have traveled all over the country, and even in so short a time have learned to love it. Lynn told Rivlin that his daughter Shwe Eain will be the first student from Myanmar at IDC Herzliya. Myanmar, previously known as Burma, like Israel, achieved independence in 1948 and was the first country in Southeast Asia that recognized Israel as an independent state, but did not establish diplomatic relations with Israel until 1953.
Rivlin recalled that Burma’s Prime Minister U Nu, was the first foreign Prime Minister to visit Israel, and that in 1961, Israel’s founding prime minister David Ben Gurion had spent a long time in Burma where he acquired much knowledge which he brought back to Israel. U Nu became one of the personalities with whom Israelis wanted to identify said Rivlin.
Rivlin found instant rapport with Kannike, an academic turned diplomat, who studied law and philosophy.
Rivlin expressed Israel’s appreciation for Estonia’s support in international arenas as well as for Estonia’s peace keeping forces in the region. Both Estonia and Israel enjoy a high degree of expertise in cyber-related areas, and in this particular realm the two countries will forge stronger connections than ever. Kannike estimated that bilateral ties will strengthen after Estonia takes over the presidency of the European Union in July next year.
As he does with every African dignitary who sets foot in the President’s Residence, Rivlin raised the issue of Israel wanting to receive observer status in the African Union.
“We are looking for your support,” he told Mabusela.
He also noted that Rome is a short flight from Israel and voiced the hope that Mabusela would make frequent appearances in the country.
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