“Weah Is Wonderful Man who Loves Israel” PM Netanyahu Says, Extols “Outstanding Cooperation” with Liberia
The weeklong visit by President George Manneh Weah and a high power government delegation to the State of Israel has apparently left loud echoes of positive tidings for the relations between the two countries. Before the 2017 polls in Liberia, the presidential ticket of the Coalition for Democratic Change visited holy sites in Israel to reportedly pray for a peaceful electoral process and perhaps for their victory in a hotly contested election. The ticket won bigly and there must be a feeling that the pre-electoral visit and prayers offered may have some place in victory. And gradually, the relations are ballooning between the two countries particularly bolstered by the recent of President Weah to that country. The host government was lavishly welcoming and appreciative, triggering a horde of returns for the visit, as The Analyst reports.
So much goodies were reportedly accrued from the visit of President George Manneh Weah and entourage to the State of Israel.
Snapshots of Goodies
According to a statement issued at the end of the visit, it was agreed that the Israeli Agency for International Development and Cooperation (MASHAV) will host an unlimited number of trainees from Liberia in its Training Center, in the fields of agriculture, health and women empowerment.
It was also agreed that an 11-month intensive agricultural training program will commence in 2019 in which Liberian students will study and work in Israel.
In the field of health, it was also agreed that MASHAV will continue to carry out capacity-building courses on emergency preparedness in Liberia. In addition, Israeli NGO’s will carry out neo-natal treatments and establish mobile clinics in peripheral regions.
On business and investments, it was concluded that both sides would enhance their cooperation in their respective private sectors, particularly regarding the more than 40 projects presented to the Liberian delegation in Tel Aviv by the Israeli business community.
Both sides will make efforts to ensure that these projects are supported at the governmental level. The projects cover a variety of sectors, including infrastructure, agricultural technology and innovation, information and communications technology, tourism, mining, and security, among others.
The parties also agreed to deepen and intensify their collaboration on the countering of sources of extremism and terrorism, and to continue to cooperate in the international arena.
During the visit, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara hosted Liberian President George Manneh Weah and his wife Clar, for breakfast at the Prime Minister’s Residence in Jerusalem.
Prime Minister Netanyahu, who was reportedly fond of the Liberian visit, said during a breakfast meeting: “My wife and I are delighted to have you, Mr. President, and your wife, in Israel Liberia and Israel have a wonderful friendship. I visited your country recently. You are now visiting Israel and Jerusalem.”
He continued: “We have common traditions and a common desire to see a better future for our people, and this visit, I’m sure, will enhance it. Aside from the fact that I’ve been a longtime admirer of a great athlete who is now a great leader.”
Prime Minister Netanyahu said after the visit: “This morning I had a special pleasure. My wife and I hosted George Weah and his wife. Today George Weah is the President of Liberia but you might remember him as one of the greatest football players of all time, a wonderful man who loves Israel.
“I have met him many times and I said that I would invite him to Israel when he is president and I have kept my promise. He came and was extraordinarily impressed by the country. I told him that the next time he comes maybe we will play a little football but beyond this we are cooperating in an outstanding manner. Israel is returning to Africa in a big way. Africa is coming to Israel and so is the entire world. We are turning Israel into a rising global power.”
Unique Visit by the President
The President of the Republic of Liberia, H. E. Dr. George Manneh Weah, paid an official visit to the State of Israel from February 26 to March 1, 2019.
The President was accompanied by a delegation comprised of the Minister of Foreign Affairs; the Minister of Finance and Development Planning; the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism; the Minister of Agriculture; the Minister of Health; and the Minister of Mines and Energy, amongst others.
President Weah and his delegation held fruitful and wide-ranging discussions that reflected the close and very important relations presently enjoyed by both countries.
In these discussions, Israel and Liberia decided to strengthen the already strong cooperation between their two countries, and agreed to further enhance their collaboration, based on the principles of the national development plan of Liberia, known as the Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development, particularly in the fields of agriculture, health, capacity-building, energy, infrastructure and counter-terrorism.
Israel feels Blessings of Weah’s Visit
It was inevitable that football would come into the discussion when President Reuven Rivlin, who lives and breathes the sport, welcomed Liberian President George Manna Weah, who arrived at the President’s Residence with a large delegation of ministers and aides.
Weah is a former international football star, considered to be among the best of Africa’s players.
Rivlin told him that he had seen him play in 2000 in the Football Association Cup Final at Wembley Stadium, when he was playing for the Chelsea Football Club, which defeated Aston Villa 1-0. Rivlin had also followed Weah’s career when he played for Manchester City.
Weah said that when he was still playing football, he had met up with an Israeli team and befriended one of the players, whom he told that he would love to come and play in Israel. It didn’t work out, but during his four-day visit, the two met again, and the Israeli had quipped that even if he hadn’t made it as a player in Israel, it was good that he’d come as a president.
Weah met with Rivlin at the tail end of his intensive visit that was aimed at boosting Israeli investments in Liberia. Rivlin greeted him by saying that Weah’s visit was a blessing because he’d brought the rain for which Jews pray three times a day.
Rivlin also thanked Weah for Liberia’s support at the United Nations in November 1947, when the State of Israel was voted into existence.
As he does with all African dignitaries, Rivlin told Weah that Israel would like to regain its observer status at the African Union and to co-operate more with Africa in general.
He made a point of saying that Israel is willing to share the know-how that it has amassed in many spheres.
Rivlin explained the current stalemate situation in the peace process with the Palestinians, and the existential threats that Israel faces from Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas.
Weah, who invited Rivlin to come to Liberia, said that like Israel, his country has also experienced war. The only way to peace and stability, he said, is through dialogue.
As far as Israel is concerned, Weah said that Liberia is “excited to rekindle relations,” and believes that Israel can be of great help in Liberia’s development.