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Israel’s Netanyahu in Uganda to strengthen African ties

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrived in Uganda on Monday, saying his country is ”returning to Africa in a big way.”

Before departing Israel, Netanyahu spoke of “very important diplomatic, economic and security ties that will yet be told about.” He said that at the end of his visit to the East African nation he hopes to “have very good news” for Israel.

The Israeli leader was welcomed by Uganda’s prime minister at the international airport in Entebbe, where Netanyahu’s brother Yonatan was fatally struck by a bullet as he led Israeli commandos in a daring mission to rescue hijacked Israeli passengers in 1976. Israel’s success in the raid humiliated then-Ugandan President Idi Amin.

Netanyahu was set to meet with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and other officials. Ugandan authorities did not immediately give details.

Israel has long courted African support. In exchange for its expertise in security and other fields, Israel wants African states to side with it at the U.N. General Assembly, which overwhelmingly recognized Palestine as a non-member observer state in 2012.

Reports in Israel in recent years have suggested it might normalize diplomatic relations with several Muslim countries in Africa. Israel renewed diplomatic relations with Guinea in 2016. After Netanyahu visited Chad for a renewal of ties in 2019, it was reported that Israel was working to formalize ties with Sudan.

Yoweri Museveni, Uganda’s longtime leader, has repeatedly said his government supports a two-state solution to the Palestinian issue. During Netanyahu’s trip to Uganda in 2016, Museveni urged both sides to live “side by side in two states … in peace and with recognized borders.”

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