'Open an embassy in Jerusalem', Netanyahu tells Uganda

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni give a joint press conference at the State House in Entebbe, Uganda. (SUMY SADURNI / AFP)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (L) and Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni give a joint press conference at the State House in Entebbe, Uganda. (SUMY SADURNI / AFP)
SUMY SADURNI

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday held talks with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and called for the opening of missions in each others' countries, during a visit aimed at boosting ties.

Netanyahu last visited Uganda in July 2016 to mark the 40th anniversary of a hostage rescue at Entebbe airport, in which his brother Yonatan died.

"There are two things we very much want to achieve... one is direct flights from Israel to Uganda," Netanyahu told Museveni at a joint press conference.

"And second... you open an embassy in Jerusalem, I'll open an embassy in Kampala," he added.

"We are studying that," Museveni replied.

Traditionally, most diplomatic missions in Israel have been in Tel Aviv as countries maintained a neutral stance over the status of Jerusalem.

But US President Donald Trump shocked the world in December 2017 by recognising Jerusalem as Israel's capital and shifting the US embassy from Tel-Aviv to that city.

In recent years, Israel has boosted its links with African nations, improving ties following a difficult period when many post-independence African leaders sided with Israel's Arab rivals, and viewed Israel's support for apartheid South Africa with intense suspicion.

Israel now has diplomatic relations with 39 of 47 sub-Saharan African states.

Netanyahu is on his fifth visit to Africa in less than four years. The continent is a lucrative market for defence equipment and the agriculture sector.

As Israeli expertise in military and agricultural technology has developed, the opportunity for trade with Africa has grown.

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