Foreign Ministry Holds Conference on Israeli Aid to Africa

(Communicated by the Foreign Ministry Spokesman)
June 15, 1997

Israel’s aid to the countries of Africa was the subject of a conference held on June 15, 1997, by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The conference, held at the initiative of the Ministry’s International Cooperation Department, was attended by the heads of African missions to Israel, foreign diplomats and Ministry personnel, as well as by specialists and professionals in related fields.

The opening statement was given by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Director-General, Eitan Bentsur, who called on the African countries to increase and expand their cooperation with Israel to areas beyond the current aid programs. In view of recent politicization trends within the United Nations and its organizations, he suggested, Israel and the African nations should work together to ensure that the UN is once again actively dedicated to the goals for which it was established. The political orientation of the UN’s activities, discussions and plans, he stated, comes at the expense of efforts which seek to confront the true problems and crises on the international agenda.

Director-General Bentsur stressed the importance placed by Israel on its ties to Africa, and the central part that its aid to the African countries plays in the work of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Activities in this sphere, he stated, are guided by a wish to share Israel’s experience and achievements, as an expression of its belief in the mutual responsibility and solidarity existing between the countries and peoples of the world. He specifically noted the extent and dimensions of Israeli aid to Africa and to the rest of the world, which resemble in scale similar activities carried out by the world’s largest, most advanced nations.

In 1996 alone, 906 Africans participated in training courses in Israel, joining almost 24 thousand who have done so since the 1960s.