Israel to Open Its First Embassy in Rwanda

Netanyahu likely only non-African leader at Kenyan president's inauguration

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu skipped the swearing in ceremony of President Uhuru Kenyatta at Kasarani Stadium on Tuesday despite confirming his attendance to the fete.

The visit comes at the occasion of the inauguration ceremony of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was recently re-elected in controversial elections. He expressed hope that by the end of the year, he will be able to announce the opening of a new Israeli embassy "in an African country, and our hand is still extended".

The event was attended by several heads of states; Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Ian Khama (Botswana), Ali Bongo (Gabon), Mohamed Farmajo (Somalia), Salva Kiir (South Sudan), Edgar Lungu (Zambia), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Ismael Guelleh (Djibouti), Hailemariam Desalegn (Ethiopia).

"We believe in the future of Africa, we love Africa, and I deeply wish, not only to cooperate personally with each of the African countries, with Kenya and with each of the African countries, but also with the African Union", Netanyahu said.

"The Shin Bet Security Service has therefore not green-lighted for Netanyahu to appear at Nairobi's Kasarani Stadium out of concern for his safety", another Israeli media, The Israel Times reported.

The Israeli leader will then hold a series of bilateral meetings with attending heads of state.

Diplomatic officials deflected criticism that Netanyahu is attending the ceremony even though it was contested and marred by violence, saying that the worldwide community accepted the Supreme Court's authorisation of the second election results, which Kenyatta won by a margin of some 98%. He has made improving relations with African nations a priority.

Israel and Rwanda re-established ties in 1994 after they were broken in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War.

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