The Knesset launched the Israel-Rwanda Parliamentary Friendship Group to be chaired by Ethiopian-Israeli MK Avraham Neguise (Likud), on Monday in an effort to build upon Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s efforts to expand ties with African countries.
“Both Rwanda and Israel built themselves after horrors their people had endured,” said MK Neguise at the launch ceremony. “Now we look to the future.”
“We now have the opportunity to further strengthen the relations between the countries in a variety of fields, specifically in parliamentary relations,” Neguise added.
Prime Minister Netanyahu had already expressed a desire on Israel’s part to seize upon the benefits of strong bilateral ties with Rwanda, during his visit to Rwanda last month.
“I’m excited about the future of your country, the future of your continent,” Netanyahu told Rwandan President Paul Kagame on July 6. “We’re determined to work together in so many fields to secure a future of security, prosperity and peace for all our peoples.”
Rwanda’s Ambassador to Israel Joseph Rutabana stressed at the launching ceremony in Jerusalem that Netanyahu’s visit to his country was a “milestone,” which moved Israeli-Rwandan relations forward and that the determination to build upon that milestone was mutual.
“On the Rwandan side, there is a significant desire to deepen the parliamentary ties,” the ambassador noted.
The Knesset demonstrated a practical interest in advancing ties with the African continent earlier this year in February, with the establishment of the Lobby for Relations Between Israel and African Countries, which is also chaired by MK Neguise.