Israeli top minister to meet Otumfuo

Avigdor LibermanIsraeli Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman will meet Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, the Asantehene, as part of a 10-day visit to five African countries.

Mr Liberman will visit Ghana, Rwanda, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia and Kenya.

In Ghana, Foreign Minister Liberman will also meet with Vice President Kwesi Amissah-Arthur, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hanna Tetteh and Minister of Defence, Mark Woyongo.

In Kumasi, he will participate in a traditional ceremony.

A statement issued in Accra on Tuesday by Ms Mina Okuru, Public Diplomacy Coordinator, Embassy of Israel and copied to Ghana News Agency said Liberman would be joined by a delegation from the Israel Export Institute.

The representatives from 50 Israeli companies are expected to develop economic ties between Israel and the five countries to be visited by the Foreign Minister.

The statement said among the entourage would be Simon Solomon, Chairman of the African lobby in the Knesset, Merav Michaeli and Pnina Tamano-Shata.

It said in Kenya, Liberman would inaugurate a direct airline route between Tel Aviv and Nairobi, award prizes to children who participated in a drawing competition of pictures of the Holy Land marking 50 years of Israel-Kenya relations.

He will also inaugurate a children’s cancer ward that was refurbished by the Israeli embassy in Kenya.

In Rwanda, Liberman will inaugurate an agricultural training centre.

In the Ivory Coast, Liberman and Prime Minister Daniel Kablan Duncan will inaugurate a palm oil production plant partly owned by an Israeli company.

The statement quoted Liberman as saying: “The relationship with African countries is of prime strategic importance for the State of Israel, from the security, diplomatic and economic standpoints as well as on many other levels.

“At the beginning of the term of the previous government, in 2009, I visited Africa – the first time in many years that an Israeli foreign minister visited the region – and since then we have seen the positive outcome that has resulted in the strengthening of cooperation in fields that are important to both Israel and the African countries.

“I will continue to strengthen these ties and extend them to other countries.

“Africa is an important goal of Israeli foreign policy, and we will make a diplomatic effort to ensure that Israel is accepted in the coming year as an observer in the African Union.”

During the past year, both the President of the United States and the US Secretary of State visited Africa, as well as the President, Prime Minister, Vice President, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of China.

These facts are indicative of the great importance of Africa in the fluctuating international arena.

He said: “I see great importance to investment in Africa, in the humanitarian, economic and political spheres.

“There are many areas where Israel can help with aid and development: Agriculture, water management, medicine, combating terrorism… We have established partnerships with various countries for investment in Africa… and the highlight is the African Initiative.”

The African initiative is a joint project with Germany that was decided upon during the last meeting of the Israeli and German governments.

The African Initiative is a programme of cooperation for development in the countries of Burkina Faso, Cameroon and Burundi with an investment of 50 million Euros. GNA

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