Sunday 11 December 2016

Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu visits Rwandan genocide memorial

Published 06/07/2016 | 17:26

Benjamin Netanyahu, with his wife Sara, laid a wreath at the memorial to victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide (AP)
Benjamin Netanyahu, with his wife Sara, laid a wreath at the memorial to victims of the 1994 Rwandan genocide (AP)

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has toured a memorial for victims of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

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His tour is part of the first visit by a sitting Israeli premier to sub-Saharan Africa in three decades.

Mr Netanyahu laid a wreath at the mass graves honouring the 800,000-plus victims of the genocide perpetrated by Hutu extremists against the Tutsi ethnic group and moderate Hutus.

"We are deeply moved by this memorial to the victims of one of history's greatest crimes and reminded of the haunting similarities to the genocide of our own people," he and his wife, Sara, wrote in the visitors' book.

He called genocide "a unique bond that neither one of our peoples will prefer to have" but said both countries have persevered to become "successful states and models for partners."

Mr Netanyahu, who is pursuing closer security and other ties with African nations, has already been to Uganda and Kenya this week and was moving on to Ethiopia later on Wednesday.

In exchange for its expertise in security and other fields, Israel wants African states to support it at the United Nations, where the Palestinians were recognized as a non-member observer state in 2012.

Israel played a prominent role in assisting newly independent African countries in the 1960s.

Those relations crumbled in the 1970s when Arab countries, promising aid, pressured African nations to limit or cut ties with Israel.

African states were also opposed to Israel's close ties to South Africa's apartheid government.

AP

Press Association

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