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President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador  Vhangha Patrice Koffi, the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire

 

President Rivlin received diplomatic credentials from the new Ambassadors of Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Uganda and Iceland to the State of Israel

New ambassadors from Cote d’Ivoire, Cape Verde, Uganda and Iceland presented their credentials to President Rivlin today, Monday 17 November / 9 Tevet, in an official ceremony at Beit HaNasi, as they began their terms as ambassadors of their countries to the State of Israel. Each ceremony began with the raising of their national flag, inspecting a IDF guard of honor and the playing of the national anthem of their country by the Israel Police Band. The new ambassadors presented their credentials to the president and were then received in the Jerusalem Room for a meeting with the president. At the end of the ceremony they signed the guest book and ‘Hatikva’, the national anthem of the State of Israel, was played.

The first to present his credentials was Vhangha Patrice Koffi, the ambassador of Cote d’Ivoire. The president welcomed the ambassador, saying “the relations between Israel and Cote d’Ivoire go back many years, to your independence. Recently relations have become stronger, particularly in the field of counter-terrorism and cyber warfare.” The president said, “I know you toured the northern border recently and saw for yourself the attack tunnels built by Hizbollah and funded by Iran. We hope that you will speak out in international organizations against their terrorist policies. We also hope that our friends in Africa, including Cote d’Ivoire, will support the return of Israel as an observer to the African Union.”

Ambassador Koffi thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “the cooperation between our two countries began when we gained independence and today we are benefiting from Israel’s technological advances. You are flourishing in many fields and we hope to learn from you and your knowledge. Our cooperation is based on agreements from the 1960s, and I believe we need to modernize and update them so that we can work more effectively together.”

 

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador Carlos Wahnon Veiga, the ambassador of Cape Verde

 

The next to present his credentials to the president was Carlos Wahnon Veiga, the ambassador of Cape Verde. The president welcomed him and remarked that he was the first ambassador of his country to Israel for 12 years. “Our peoples are old friends,” said the president, “and there were Jews on Cape Verde for hundreds of years.” President Rivlin thanked the ambassador for his country’s vote in favor of condemning Hamas terrorism at the UN, for the restoration of the Jewish cemetery on Sao Antao and for protecting Jewish heritage in the country. He also expressed his hopes of strengthened relations between the countries, greater cooperation and cultural exchanges.

The ambassador of Cape Verde presented his credentials to the president and said, “thank you , Mr President, for your warm welcome. It is a great honor to be my country’s ambassador to the State of Israel. I will fight for my country to have a resident ambassador here, because it is what the relations between our two peoples deserve. I will do my utmost to strengthen and deepen the relations between us. We have much to learn from you, and much in common. It is our duty to ensure we have good relations with Israel.”

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador of Uganda, Sam Sebuliba Male

 

The president received the credentials of ambassador of Uganda, Sam Sebuliba Male, and said, “the links between our two countries are wide and deep and go back many years.” The president noted that each year some 220 Ugandan agricultural students come to Israel and emphasized “Africa is the youngest continent and the future of humanity. The key to our relations is people-to-people contact, not just government-to-government. I believe that the return of Israel to the African Union as an observer can bring great benefit to all parties.” The president noted the ambassador’s contacts across the Middle East and asked him to promote regional discussions to limit the influence of Iran.

The Ugandan ambassador thanked the president for his remarks and said, “I bring warm regards, Mr President, from the President of Uganda. The relations between our two countries are flourishing, despite ups and downs in the past. Yesterday, I visited Yad Vashem and I want to express our sadness and sympathy. We will never let it happen again. Thank you for the warm reception.”

 

President Rivlin receiving credentials from Ambassador Oskarsson of Iceland

 

Finally, Thordur Aegir Oskarsson, presented his credentials to President Rivlin. “I want to thank your government and the people of Iceland for their decision to vote for the resolution condemning Hamas terrorism at the United Nations,” said the president. “We value your support greatly. I would also like to congratulate Iceland on becoming deputy chair of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva next year. We hope that with Iceland’s leadership the flood of anti-Israel resolutions and double standards will stop. Deepening our relations means developing contacts between peoples, not just governments,” he added. “I hope that we can work together on innovation, bringing young leaders together in the fields of technology, health and education.”

Ambassador Oskarsson thanked the president for his warm welcome and said, “thank you, Mr President, for your kind welcome. It is true that we do not always agree on everything, but we are proud that Iceland supported Israel’s independence in 1947. The current government seeks balanced and sensible relations with Israel. The new “open skies” agreement and the opening of direct flights between our countries will help a great deal and is key to closer relations between the countries and the people. I hope we are able to develop our economic relations, which are very limited at present. I bring greetings from the president of Iceland and from the whole government.”

Photo credit: Haim Zach (GPO)