(Communicated by the Foreign Minister's Bureau)
Deputy Foreign Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Avigdor Liberman, departed for Israel on Thursday (10 September) after concluding his visit to Africa.
FM Liberman visited Ethiopia, Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria and Uganda, where he met with foreign leaders, signed political, economic and development cooperation agreements. The Foreign Minister also inaugurated joint projects between Israel and the African host countries.
Before departing from Uganda, the Foreign Minister participated in a ceremony at Entebbe airport in honor of the fallen during the rescue operation of the hijacked Air France passengers and crew. At the ceremony, FM Liberman said that the Entebbe operation attested to Israel's determination to fight terrorism and to live as a free people in our own state. The Foreign Minister added that the Jewish people paid a profound price for not having a state of their own 70 years ago, while today we know the importance for the Jewish people of having an independent state, with a strong army and air force. Foreign Minister Liberman expressed his gratitude to the Government of Uganda for allowing the ceremony to take place.
Upon its conclusion, FM Liberman commented that his visit had been very successful and had achieved its objectives, mainly strengthening the historical ties with Africa which Israel had ignored for some time and improving Israel's economic relations with African states. The Foreign Minister noted that the host states expressed great interest in increasing ties with Israel, especially in the economic sphere, and that the large business delegation that accompanied him contributed greatly to this goal. The Minister also stated that he witnessed the great esteem with which MASHAV, the Israel Center for International Cooperation is held given its contribution to the people of Africa as they deal with developmental challenges.
Next week, Foreign Minster Liberman is expected to depart on 14 September for a three-day visit to Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro. During his visit, FM Liberman will sign an agreement with Serbia cancelling the need for visas for citizens of the two states.
This visit will constitute a further stage in the policy which FM Liberman established upon assuming his position, that of opening up new paths in Israel's foreign policy, in order to strengthen Israel's standing in states, regions and international organizations which had been neglected for many years.