President Museveni has said that Uganda is willing to open up an embassy in Jerusalem but also allow Israel open theirs in Kampala following a meeting with Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
On Monday, Netanyahu had a one-day official visit to Uganda in which he held a closed-door meeting with his Ugandan host.
Speaking to journalists following the meeting, the Israel Prime Minister asked his host to open up an embassy in Jerusalem to become the third country to do so, after the US and Guatemala.
“I have a simple suggestion that you will have time to consider. You open an embassy in Jerusalem and I will open one in Kampala. We hope to do it in the near future,” Netanyahu asked Museveni.
Speaking in response to the request by his visitor, Museveni said he is seriously considering working on the same and that with time, they would announce the outcome.
“If a friend says I want your embassy here, rather than there, I don’t see why we would refuse. We are really working on it. We are studying that,”Museveni said.
Opening up an embassy in Jerusalem, rather than the capital Tel Aviv is expected to brew controversy like it was when the US opened one in 2018 but also when a similar move by Paraguay saw the South American country rescind the decision since the city is claimed by both Israel and Palestine.
However, speaking about the controversy, Museveni said it is not a big deal.
“The good with all controversies is that there is a part of Jerusalem which under the partition plan was in Israel and was not part of the argument. At least that one is not part of the arguments,”Museveni said.
This was Netanyahu’s second visit to Uganda in a period of four years after the July 2016 visit to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Israel government’s raid at Entebbe airport to rescue their citizens who had been held hostage in 1976 by the Palestine Liberation Organisation.
Speaking about the visit, the Israel Prime Minister said whenever he lands at Entebbe his memory is taken back to his brother who was killed during the operation named Thunderbolt.
“This is my 5th visit to Uganda that began many decades ago and every visit is hurry moving. I will never forget your friendship with Israel. This is my 5th visit to Africa in more than three years but Israel is coming back to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel in a big way,” Netanyahu said.
“The journey begun here in Uganda and continues in Uganda.
He applauded Museveni for putting Uganda and Africa on the world stage and noted that his country is open to cooperation with Uganda in various fields.
Netanyahu also asked his host to allow for direct flights from Israel to Entebbe as one of the ways to cement the relations between the two countries.
In response, Museveni said since Uganda revived the national carrier when it starts long journeys, Israel will be top on their destinations.
“Definitely we will work on that. I would like to invite EL AL (Israel national airline)to fly directly to Uganda . Even if it is once a week, it would be very good,”Museveni noted.
Museveni noted that both leaders agreed to cooperate closely in the fields of defence, security and agriculture.
The Ugandan delegation also included the Prime Minister, Dr.Ruhakana Rugunda, Foreign Affairs Minister, Sam Kutesa, First Lady Janet Museveni , Attorney General William Byaruhanga, Minister for Presidency, Esther Mbayo, Chief of Defence Forces in the UPDF, Gen. David Muhoozi and ESO Director-General, Ambassador Joseph Ocwet among other officials.
The Israel Prime Minister was escorted by other government officials from Tel Aviv.