Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen apparently met the leader of an Islamic country that does not have diplomatic relations with the occupation state on Sunday, according to Israeli media reports today. The meeting took place in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on condition that the name of the country is not revealed.
Cohen was in Nairobi at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto and his Kenyan counterpart Alfred Mutua, against the background of the biannual meeting of the African Union.
The Israeli foreign ministry said that Cohen met with unnamed African officials on the pretext of expanding the circle of normalised relations with African countries. Israel, it pointed out, is engaged in “normalisation contacts with several African countries including Niger, Mali and Mauritania.”
Mutua and Cohen discussed strengthening relations between Israel and Kenya and the African continent, and “expanding the circle of peace” with other African countries. The Israeli official referred to the strengthening of economic relations between the two countries in recent months and said that cooperation in the field of cyber defence and increasing the number of tourist flights between Israel and Kenya are both under discussion.
“Kenya’s regional position makes it a key partner of Israel in the East African region,” said the Israeli ministry. “Kenya’s membership on the board of the [UN] International Atomic Energy Agency allows it to influence the international supervision of Iranian violations [sic].”
Cohen claimed that his diplomatic visit to Nairobi was “of regional and strategic importance against the background of Iran’s attempts to expand its influence on the continent.” He thanked Ruto and Mutua “for their efforts to promote Israel’s position on the continent and to open doors for the State of Israel in countries on the continent with which we do not yet have diplomatic relations.”