(December 4, 1996)

Following the government decision of November 22 regarding special aid for the refugees in Rwanda, Foreign Minister David Levy decided to dispatch a mission, headed by the Director of the African Affairs Division of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yigal Entebbi. The mission left immediately by special plane which carried food and medicines for the refugees. The mission included representatives of the Israeli Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Health and Agriculture.

Israel’s Ambassador to Rwanda, Shlomo Avital, had arrived in Kigali earlier to carry out all the preparations in advance of the mission’s arrival.

The supplies aboard the plane included 20 tons of flat beans, 15 tons of rice, two tons of cereals, and 2.5 tons of medicines. These were sent according to a list received from the Rwandan Government. The rice was donated by the Israeli Children’s Society for Aiding Rwanda’s Children.

The plane landed in Rwanda on Monday, December 2, and was met at the airport by the Rwandan Ministers of Rehabilitation, Health and Labor, as well as representatives of various international organizations W.F.P., F.A.O., W.H.O. and U.N.H.C.R. Local and international correspondents were also present.

The members of the Israeli mission visited the Runda transit camp, where food was distributed to refugees. In addition, they laid wreaths at the national Monument to Genocide, near Kigali. The Israeli mission was received by Rwandan ministers as well as the Vice President and Defense Minister, Paul Kagame. They all expressed their deep appreciation and esteem toward Israel for the dedicated, helpful and rapid aid operation.

In the evening, the Israeli Ambassador gave a dinner in honor of the mission, attended by ministers, representatives of international organizations, and ambassadors accredited to Rwanda.

The mission returned to Israel yesterday evening (Dec. 3) leaving behind two experts to carry out a survey and to submit recommendations within a week on continued assistance and cooperation activities in health and healing, agriculture and community development. It is planned to send another plane on the basis of the recommendations.

The mission’s visit won much acclaim from the Rwandan authorities and international organizations, and was given wide media coverage. On its return home, the Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister, David Levy, invited its members to report on the operation. The Foreign Ministry Director-General, Eitan Bentsur, and the Director of the Africa-2 Division, Avraham Toledo attended the meeting, at which the minister expressed his great appreciation to the delegation for its successful mission.