Major roads linking Rwanda’s capital Kigali to the main road from the airport were blocked off yesterday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in the country for a one day visit.
Upon arrival, he was welcomed by Mr Kagame at the airport where he inspected a Guard of Honour after which he proceeded to Kigali Genocide Memorial Centre at Gisozi. He was taken around the museum which contains records of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi.
Laying a wreath at the mass graves in honour of the more than 800,000 victims of the genocide perpetrated by Hutu extremists he said, “We are deeply moved by this memorial to the victims of one of history’s greatest crimes and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people.”
On his visit to Africa, Mr. Netanyahu said, “I’m in Africa because it is a continent on the rise, and because it hasn’t always gotten the attention it deserves, at least not from Israel. But it does now.” He said this while addressing a press conference with President Kagame.
Israel wants African states to support it at the United Nations, where the Palestinians were recognized as a non-member observer state in 2012 in exchange for its expertise in security and other fields.
Ties between Israel and Rwanda have been strengthened in recent years, with Rwanda opening a diplomatic mission in Tel Aviv in March 2015.
Mr. Netanyahu said both Israel and Rwanda have persevered to become “successful states and models for partners.”
The two states share a similar history with regard to the Tutsi Genocide and the Jewish Holocaust.
They also have in place trade and investment partnership agreements with the Israel pledging to support Rwanda in sectors such as ICT, agriculture and defence among others.