Netanyahu, Kenyan President, Pledge to Cooperate on Water, Security

YERUSHALAYIM -
Prime Minister Binyjamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, February 23, 2016. Photo by Haim Zach/GPO
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu meets with Kenyan president Uhuru Kenyatta, Tuesday. (Haim Zach/GPO)

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met Tuesday with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta in Yerushalayim with the two signing a joint statement focusing on cooperation on water and agricultural issues, and establishing a joint bilateral committee to develop new projects together. The two countries have collaborated in these areas for decades; among other things, hundreds of Kenyans over the years have been brought to Israel to study better farming techniques.

Israeli officials have also traveled to Kenya, where they have trained thousands of farm workers at a special school the Israeli government established for that purpose.

After the signing, the two met privately and then held an expanded meeting in which they and their delegations discussed security and the fight against terrorism as well as bilateral cooperation on cybersecurity, energy, agriculture, water, irrigation, and public health issues.

“We have had a remarkable relationship between our two peoples,” Netanyahu told his guest. “It’s a partnership that dates back over half a century. Your father, Jomo Kenyatta, is the founding father of the Kenyan nation, and the leader of your country’s struggle for independence. He was also the architect of the friendship between Israel and Kenya. He demonstrated that friendship most dramatically 40 years ago by helping Israel in the raid in Entebbe to rescue our hostages. This is something that has left a deep imprint on Israel. The people of Israel are grateful for that. And I’m personally grateful for that.

“We have since developed our relationship in so many areas and it’s a growing relationship. We speak regularly on the phone. We try in many ways to improve our relationship and bring it to new heights in so many areas,” Netanyahu added.

In his comments, Kenyatta said that both his country and Israel were fighting Islamic terrorism. “We both live in challenging neighborhoods with similar security concerns and the cooperation between our two governments since the time of our independence has been formidable and we look forward that this particular trip will strengthen those ties even further. We have no room for extremism, we must do everything that we can to protect the freedoms and the beliefs and the principles and the common values that we share and we look forward to further strengthening our cooperation in the security area.”

In 2013, Islamic terrorists attacked the Westgate Shopping Mall in Nairobi. The mall was owned by Israelis. The attack resulted in at least 67 deaths, and more than 175 people were reportedly wounded in the mass shooting. Islamist terror group al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the attack, which it said was in response to Kenyan military activity against Somalian Islamists.