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On Kenya visit, Cohen meets leader of African country with no ties to Israel

Israel’s Foreign Minister Eli Cohen flew to Kenya for a short visit to expand the circle of peace, curb Iranian influence in the continent and promote Jerusalem’s bid to be accepted as an observer in the African Union organization.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua.

On an official trip to Kenya, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen on Sunday met in Nairobi with a counterpart of an African Muslim country that does not maintain diplomatic relations with Israel. The meeting was reported by the Foreign Ministry only after Cohen returned to Jerusalem and without offering any additional details or the name of the African Muslim country in question. 

Cohen traveled to Kenya for a 10-hour visit on the backdrop of the biannual coordination meeting of the African Union. The minister did not participate in the meeting of the African Union, but the event offered him an occasion to meet with several African leaders present in Nairobi.  

Cohen's visit, in the works for several weeks, came at the invitation of Kenyan President William Ruto and Kenyan Foreign Minister Alfred Mutua. A statement issued by the Foreign Ministry said that in his meetings, Cohen discussed the strengthening of ties between Israel and the African continent, efforts to confirm Israel’s status as an observer country to the African Union and efforts to expand the circle of peace.  

Cohen was quoted in the statement as saying, ‘’The visit in Nairobi was of regional and strategic importance, on the backdrop of Iranian efforts to expand its influence in the continent. Kenya’s regional position makes it a key partner of Israel in the East African region."

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