Uhuru clinches deal for Kenya, Israel direct flights



President Uhuru Kenyatta jetted back into the country Friday evening from a three-day State visit to Israel.

The visit saw a number of agreements signed between Kenya and Israel, including an agreement on direct flights between the two countries and a bilateral agreement for closer collaboration in water and irrigation.

President Kenyatta and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed to strengthen the existing security cooperation between the two countries, especially in the war against terrorism.

The plane carrying President Kenyatta and his entourage touched down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport shortly before 8.00 p.m on Friday.

Before embarking on his return journey the President wrapped up his historic visit to Israel by visiting the Wolfson Medical Centre in Holon, Tel Aviv where more than 20 Kenyan children have undergone heart surgeries.

The initiative is undertaken through the Save a Child’s Heart Kenya, a non-governmental organisation headquartered in Israel.

Another four Kenyan children are currently admitted and awaiting heart surgery at the hospital while another 20 in Kenya are waiting to be airlifted to the hospital for the same procedure.

President Kenyatta attended a meeting with officials of the hospital and the NGO and assured that the Government will work more closely with them.

“I thank you for everything you have done for the children of Kenya. You have given life where a life was about to cease,” said the President.

President Kenyatta said the Government will cater for the transport costs of the children when they travel to Israel for the surgery.

The President said the Ministry of Health of Kenya will work closely with the Wolfson Medical Centre to boost the experience of Kenyan doctors for the benefit of Kenyans.

“We will explore how we can work together with the possibility of you opening a branch in Kenya,” said President Kenyatta.

On air travel, President Kenyatta disclosed that one of the major agreement reached between Kenya and Israel during the 3-day visit was the agreement on direct flights between Nairobi and Tel Aviv. This paved the way for the clearance of direct flights between Nairobi and Tel Aviv.

Currently, travelers between Kenya and Israel have to pass through a third country thereby limiting movement of people between the two countries.

Kenya and Israel have also agreed to increase the number of Kenyan students studying drylands farming technologies and automated agriculture in Israeli institutions in a technology transfer pact.

Currently, there are 75 students undergoing various courses in Israel with 25 each from Egerton University and the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology. The rest of the students are from the Kenya Water Institute.

The President met the students when he visited a Kibbutz where some of them are undertaking courses in intensive agriculture productions techniques, design and application of automated agriculture and irrigation systems.

President Kenyatta and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a bilateral agreement paving the way for closer collaboration in water and irrigation. The agreement includes the cooperation in implementing the Galana-Kulalu Irrigation Scheme.

The President, who arrived in Jerusalem on Monday, was making the first visit by a Kenyan President in 22 years to Kenya’s close ally, Israel.


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