Uganda ‘Studying’ Opening Embassy in Jerusalem, Museveni Tells Netanyahu
Uganda is “studying” the possibility of opening an embassy in Jerusalem, President Yoweri Museveni said on Monday, during a visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Such a move would be seen internationally as a statement of support for Israel‘s claim for the city of Jerusalem to be its capital, a potential political win for Netanyahu less than a month before a national election on March 2.
“If a friend says I want your embassy here rather than there I don’t see why there would be…,” Museveni said before trailing off and continuing: “we are really working, we’re studying that.”
“You open an embassy in Jerusalem and I will open an embassy in Kampala,” promised Netanyahu. “We hope to do this in the near future.”
Uganda and Israel currently have no embassy in each other’s country, though Museveni is a long-standing ally of Israel, which trains some elements of the Ugandan security forces.
Israel‘s embassy in Nairobi, in neighboring Kenya, currently handles its relations with Uganda.
Uganda’s Entebbe airport was the scene in 1976 of a dramatic rescue operation conducted by Israeli commandos to save nearly 100 mostly Israeli passengers on board an Air France airliner hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists.
Netanyahu, whose elder brother Yonatan, a commander in the operation, was killed in the incident, said he found every visit to Uganda “profoundly moving” for this reason. Three passengers and all the hostage takers also died in the operation.
As well as the embassy issue, Netanyahu said Israel and Uganda were exploring the possibility of having direct flights and of closer cooperation in cyber security.
“Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel in a big way,” he said.