22 June 2016

Tanzania: Minister - Embassy in Israel Is for Promoting Economic Diplomacy

Dodoma — The government has said it has decided to open an embassy in Israel in a move aimed to promote economic diplomacy as enunciated in the country's foreign policy.

Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Ms Susan Kolimba, told the National Assembly here that the government started to reshape on its diplomacy with Israel in 1995 when the world was changing its focus on the country.

Answering a basic question by Ally Saleh Ally (Malindi-CUF), who wanted to know the reasons which made the country to change its early decision and choice to open up an embassy in Israel, Ms Kolimba said in 2001 the government changed its foreign policy focusing on economic development diplomacy.

She said it was true that in 1973 the country decided to sever relations with Israel as far as diplomacy was concerned following a decision by the then Organisation of African Union (OAU) to its members due conflicts between Israel and Palestine.

"Following the economic development Israel has made in agriculture, science and technology, the Fifth Phase Government has decided to cement the bilateral relations with Israel, including opening up an embassy," she said.

She added that it was true that the cost of opening up an embassy are high but they do so taking into consideration the profit and benefit that will result from that embassy and that the embassies will only be opened depending on availability of resources.

However, she said, the country stand on the matter is for Israel and Palestine to end their conflict in a peaceful manner by each having its own government.

Cosato Chumi (Mafinga-CCM) asked a supplementary question as to when the government will strengthen economic ties with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), especially along the Lubumbashi area where most business transactions are conducted.

Responding, Ms Kolimba said a joint four ministries team is meeting to work out how best they will improve on the economic ties between the two countries. She said the ministries are meeting together to deal with an existing coordination problems which the business people face in their trade transaction with the DRC.

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