Jerusalem, Israel - Feb. 23, 2016 - Tuesday morning, Israeli President Reuven Rivlin hosted at his residence Beit Hanasi, an official welcome ceremony for the President of Kenya, H.E. Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta, who was on a state visit to Israel.
The Israeli President welcomed his guest on the red carpet before they both stood for the national anthems and reviewed a military honor guard. Rain during the ceremony did not dampen the good feelings between the Presidents who went on to deliver statements, before holding a working meeting during which they discussed the strengthening of bilateral ties between the two countries.
In his remarks to the media, President Rivlin welcomed President Kenyatta to Israel and spoke of the shared pain both nations had felt as a result of terrorism. He said, "When I heard of the terror attack in Somalia where many of your soldiers were killed, I was reminded of the terror attack in 2002 at the hotel in Mombasa, where 3 Israeli citizens were killed. In Israel today we face the ongoing threat of terror and hatred. We feel the pain together with you. Israel stands together with Kenya against those who pretend to speak in the name of Islam, as they murder innocent men, women, and children from all religions and nations."
President Rivlin spoke of the importance of the cooperation between the two nations, especially in the field of development. He noted, "Israel is proud of the cooperation between our peoples. Thanks to MASHAV we are working to educate people, develop agriculture, and protect the environment. It is my hope this cooperation will continue to grow and that the close ties between our people will become stronger. Your visit is an important step in building this friendship."
President Kenyatta thanked the President for his warm welcome and said, "It is my sincere hope that this visit will cement the bonds that are already strong, and link our two countries. Let me assure you Mr. President that we in Kenya hold Israel as a dear and very special friend. This is a friendship not only born out of a long history of fraternal relations, but is also manifested in very real and concrete corporation in a number of important areas," which he noted included, "defense, water resource management, fisheries, education, technology and scientific corporation." President Kenyatta added, "The war on terrorism is international and we must all join hands together to defeat it."
The two Presidents then went on to hold an extended meeting in which they discussed in greater depth the regional situation in Africa and the Middle East, as well as efforts to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
Later this evening, the President and First Lady Rivlin will host a state dinner at their residence in honor of the President of Kenya's visit.