Netanyahu to Rwanda’s president: “You have been a consistent friend to us”

Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his wife Jeannette landed in Israel on Saturday evening for a two-day visit. Last night, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hosted the two at his Jerusalem residence. “To be here, it’s like coming home,” Kagame told Netanyahu.
Netanyahu and Kagame Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara hosted Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his wife at their residence in Jerusalem on Monday evening. Kagame landed in Israel on Saturday evening for a low-key two-day visit.

While in Israel, Kagame has been speaking with Netanyahu and Israeli President Reuven Rivlin about strengthening his country’s ties with Israel. “We are looking forward to reinforcing our cooperation with Israel on common challenges and issues of mutual interest,” Kagame said on Monday.

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During the welcoming ceremony for Kagame and his wife Jeannette, the two Israeli leaders mentioned the fact that both Rwanda and Israel succeeded in overcoming genocides. “President Rivlin has already mentioned the fact that both of our peoples have a tragic legacy,” Netanyahu said. “Ours in the Holocaust, yours in the great genocide that befell your people. I’m not sure how many of my Israeli compatriots know that President Kagame personally led the military effort that put a stop to this carnage after more than a million people were butchered, a million children, women, defenseless men. And, with your courage, you put an end to this and began rebuilding this torn nation.”

Watch: The Netanyahus host Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his wife at their home in Jerusalem

“We have pledged, I think both our peoples, one simple pledge: 'Never again. Never again – we, who witnessed the greatest holocaust in history, you who witnessed perhaps one of the most recent ones – never again,” Netanyahu continued. “That’s another great bond between us. You have been a consistent friend to us.”

Netanyahu and Kagame Photo Credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO

“To be here, it’s like coming home,” Kagame told Netanyahu as they sat down for a meeting on Monday. “We are happy to be received by excellent friends with whom we have links of years and do many things together that have meaning to peoples on both sides. So, I’m just happy to be here.”

Kagame, who is campaigning for re-election, is viewed as one of Israel’s closest friends in Africa. He was last in Israel in 2013 for then-President Shimon Peres’ 90th birthday. He also visited Israel in 2008. In March, Kagame made history by becoming the first African leader to speak in front of AIPAC’s annual policy forum in Washington.



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