Uganda denies signing deal to accept refugees deported by Israel

After Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that Rwanda has pulled out of an agreement to take in African refugees deported by Israel, Uganda clarified that it has no intentions of accepting them. According to Uganda’s foreign minister, if the refugees arrive in his country, they will be deported back to Israel.
Asylum seekers protest against forced deportation plans Photo Credit: Tomer Neuberg/Flash 90

Amid the uncertainty regarding the future of the tens of thousands of illegal Eritrean and Sundanese migrants in Israel, another African country has denied that it signed an agreement with Israel to receive some of the refugees. Uganda’s foreign minister stated on Wednesday that his country does not plan to accept the refugees that Israel wants to deport, a statement similar to the Rwandese government’s claims.

“We don’t have any contract or understanding, formal or informal, with Israel regarding the migrant matter,” Uganda’s Foreign Minister Henry Okello Oryem stated, adding that if refugees arrive in his country, they will be deported back to the country from which they came.

On Tuesday, Rwanda denied that it had signed an agreement with Israel to accept thousands of African refugees in forced deportations. The statement came a few hours after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that the African nation had pulled out of a deal due to pressure from the New Israel Fund.

Meanwhile, the state was supposed to submit documents to the Israeli Supreme Court today about the agreement it has with a third-party country, which was widely believed to be Rwanda or Uganda. However, the state’s representatives have been asking for an extension since this morning. This afternoon, the state informed the court that a senior Israeli official is currently on his way to the third-party nation to discuss a recent development, which could possibly be Uganda’s statement.

In a move that surprised the UN, Netanyahu announced yesterday that he has decided to cancel the recently-signed deal regarding the future of tens of thousands of African refugees and asylum seekers in Israel. Speaking to residents of south Tel Aviv who were furious when they learned of the agreement because it planned to allow at least 16,000 illegal migrants to remain in Israel, Netanyahu said: “After re-evaluating the pros and cons, I have decided to cancel the agreement. Every year I make thousands of decisions that benefit the State of Israel and its citizens. Once in a while, a decision that has been made needs to be reconsidered.”

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