President Rivlin meets with Rwandan President Kagame, together with PM Netanyahu
(Communicated by the President’s Spokesperson)
President Reuven Rivlin this morning (Monday), was joined by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the President’s Residence, as he welcomed President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame, who was visiting Israel.
Both President Rivlin and Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed President Kagame on the red carpet, and stood for the national anthems of both countries, before the three men went on to make brief public statements.
President Rivlin began by welcoming President Kagame who had been to Israel on several occasions before, and said, “I know that this visit in particular, will serve to strengthen the friendship between our peoples.” He added, “Mr. President, I want to congratulate you on your recent speech at AIPAC, and I would like to use your words to say, ‘Israel is, without question, a friend of Rwanda’.”
The President went on to say, “We are two nations who understand the horror of genocide, and we must show what humanity can achieve with cooperation and understanding. Indeed, we are not just friends - through MASHAV and other cooperation and partnership, we are working together to solve some of the biggest issues facing humanity; water and food security.”
The President noted, “We know that Rwanda is now going to be member of the UN Human Rights Council. This is a body which is always against Israel, so we welcome all those who are prepared to speak for us,” he added, “we appreciate your support very much. It is a pleasure to welcome you here in Jerusalem.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said, “We see how you stand up for Israel in international forums, and you already expressed a simple principle that we did which is that bilateral relationships should be reflected in multilateral forums. There is a dissonance between us and a few other nations still. We saw that in the absurd voting in UNESCO that said King David was not in Jerusalem, he was in Tibet. His son Solomon, did not build the Temple here, he built in South America. It’s absurd, the whole denial of history, of the Bible.”
He added, “These absurdities still take place in international forums, and they cause damage to those forums. They cannot change the truth. My hope is that over time, over a decade, this will change in international forums.”
President Kagame thanked the President and Prime Minister for their hospitality and warm words. He said, “I am very pleased to be back in Israel and I want to thank the President, the Prime Minister, and the Government of Israel for this opportunity to reaffirm and deepen our very friendly relationship, between Israel and Rwanda.”
He noted, “Cooperation between our countries has blossomed in many areas among them technology, agriculture, and energy, as well as security. We appreciate what Israel has to offer in these and other fields, and we are very happy to be working with you. Trade and investment links have also multiplied. Rwanda is open for business and we look forward to welcoming private sector delegations from Israel even more frequently in the future. Ever since the Prime Minister’s visit to west Africa last year, Israel has continued to follow through on its commitments and objective of scaling up engagement across Africa this is a very positive trend which can only be welcomed and merits our support.”
President Kagame concluded, “We are looking forward to reinforcing our cooperation with Israel on common challenges and issues of mutual interest.”
Presidents Rivlin and Kagame then went on to hold an extended working meeting, during which President Rivlin noted, “The phrase ‘Never Again’ is not just a lesson for the Jewish People, it is a lesson for the whole world. We are a member of the family of nations, and we have mutual responsibility to one another.”
The President also emphasized that the presence of countries with whom Israel had friendly relations, in forums like UNESCO encouraged Israel and raised the hope that political and distorted decisions would encounter greater resistance and a stronger demand for the truth.