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Netanyahu Departs for Kenya to Meet With 11 African Heads of State

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Nairobi in July 2016. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO. – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday departed for a one-day visit to Kenya, where he will meet with 11 African heads of state.

Although the official purpose of Netanyahu’s trip is to attend the inauguration of Kenya’s newly re-elected President Uhuru Kenyatta, the visit is also part of Israel’s recent pivot towards Africa. It is Netanyahu’s third trip to Africa in less than two years.

Some of the major goals of the Israeli government’s multifaceted “return” to Africa are improving outcomes for the Jewish state on United Nations votes, expanding economic cooperation, curbing Iranian influence on the continent and establishing diplomatic relations with Muslim-African states.

“Our intention is to deepen ties with Africa also by forging links with countries that we do not have diplomatic relations with,” said Netanyahu.

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“Legations from four African countries have opened in Israel in the past two years and I hope that by the end of the day I will be able to announce the opening of a new Israeli embassy in an African country, and the hand is still extended,” he said.

While in Kenya, Netanyahu will deliver an address during an official lunch with leaders from Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, Togo, Botswana, Namibia, Ethiopia and Nigeria.

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