President of Benin, in West Africa, Following his Inauguration, Tells Specially Invited AJCongress Delegation of His Concern for Israel and the Jewish People

Apr 13, 2001, 01:00 ET from American Jewish Congress

    NEW YORK, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- An American Jewish Congress delegation,
 invited to attend this month's inauguration of  President Mathieu Kerekou of
 the West African nation Benin, held a one-hour meeting in the Presidential
 Palace in Cotonou with Kerekou, in which the President and the delegation
 discussed issues of worldwide importance to the Jewish people and Israel.
     The invitation from the government of Benin to AJCongress resulted from
 the initiative taken by the organization at the United Nations during the
 course of its Annual Meeting last spring, at which AJCongress pledged to
 "redouble its efforts to secure economic self-reliance for African countries
 committed to economic and political reforms by working to increase U.S. aid to
 Africa, promoting international debt relief and supporting efforts to secure
 free-trade benefits for African states."
     The delegation consisted of Dennis F. Klein, AJCongress' representative to
 the U.N., in addition to being President of the organization's New Jersey
 Region; and Neil Goldstein, AJCongress Director of National Affairs.
     Benin, previously known as Dahomey and located between Nigeria and Togo,
 has a population of more than six million that is 70 percent animist,
 15 percent Muslim, and 15 percent Christian; President Kerekou is a Christian.
 The country has been a democracy for the past four decades. Also attending the
 inauguration were the United States' Ambassador to Benin, Israel's Ambassador
 to Nigeria and 12 heads of state.
     "Our discussions included our plans for assisting Africa with its economic
 development and health needs, as well as President Kerekou's strong support
 for Israel, the Jewish people and peace in the Middle East," said Goldstein,
 upon the delegation's return. "Benin's President is sincerely concerned about
 these topics and about the welfare and safety of Jews throughout the world."
     "It was extraordinary that the President afforded us a full hour during
 this busy time, when 12 other heads of state and their delegations were in the
 country," added Klein. "This was indicative of his intense interest in the
 welfare of the Jewish people and Israel."
     Klein and Goldstein briefed the Israeli and U.S. Ambassadors on the
 meeting. As official guests of the government, they sat in a special section
 at the inauguration for foreign dignitaries, attended a special inaugural
 banquet, and traveled in a motorcade from Cotonou to the inauguration ceremony
 in Porto Novo, the nation's administrative capital.
 
 

SOURCE American Jewish Congress
    NEW YORK, April 13 /PRNewswire/ -- An American Jewish Congress delegation,
 invited to attend this month's inauguration of  President Mathieu Kerekou of
 the West African nation Benin, held a one-hour meeting in the Presidential
 Palace in Cotonou with Kerekou, in which the President and the delegation
 discussed issues of worldwide importance to the Jewish people and Israel.
     The invitation from the government of Benin to AJCongress resulted from
 the initiative taken by the organization at the United Nations during the
 course of its Annual Meeting last spring, at which AJCongress pledged to
 "redouble its efforts to secure economic self-reliance for African countries
 committed to economic and political reforms by working to increase U.S. aid to
 Africa, promoting international debt relief and supporting efforts to secure
 free-trade benefits for African states."
     The delegation consisted of Dennis F. Klein, AJCongress' representative to
 the U.N., in addition to being President of the organization's New Jersey
 Region; and Neil Goldstein, AJCongress Director of National Affairs.
     Benin, previously known as Dahomey and located between Nigeria and Togo,
 has a population of more than six million that is 70 percent animist,
 15 percent Muslim, and 15 percent Christian; President Kerekou is a Christian.
 The country has been a democracy for the past four decades. Also attending the
 inauguration were the United States' Ambassador to Benin, Israel's Ambassador
 to Nigeria and 12 heads of state.
     "Our discussions included our plans for assisting Africa with its economic
 development and health needs, as well as President Kerekou's strong support
 for Israel, the Jewish people and peace in the Middle East," said Goldstein,
 upon the delegation's return. "Benin's President is sincerely concerned about
 these topics and about the welfare and safety of Jews throughout the world."
     "It was extraordinary that the President afforded us a full hour during
 this busy time, when 12 other heads of state and their delegations were in the
 country," added Klein. "This was indicative of his intense interest in the
 welfare of the Jewish people and Israel."
     Klein and Goldstein briefed the Israeli and U.S. Ambassadors on the
 meeting. As official guests of the government, they sat in a special section
 at the inauguration for foreign dignitaries, attended a special inaugural
 banquet, and traveled in a motorcade from Cotonou to the inauguration ceremony
 in Porto Novo, the nation's administrative capital.
 
 SOURCE  American Jewish Congress