Netanyahu: Israel is returning to Africa

PM meets Ethiopian counterpart to discuss cooperation in agriculture and security.

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Netanyahu with Ethiopian PM
Netanyahu with Ethiopian PM
Amos Ben Gershom - GPO

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and his wife received Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his wife at the Prime Minister's Office.

Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel and the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources of Ethiopia signed agreements on agriculture. At the end of the ceremony there was an extended meeting of the prime ministers with their entourages.

On the Israeli side were Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel, Communications Minister Ayoub Kara, and Deputy Minister in the Office of Prime Minister Michael Oren, the Minister of Defense, the Minister of Education, the Minister of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Minister of Water, Energy and Electricity, the Minister of Tourism and Culture, the Minister of Trade, the Minister of Agriculture and the Minister of Science and Technology.

The meeting discussed, among other things, agriculture, security and internal security.

In the joint statements, Netanyahu said, "On behalf of the people of Israel and the government of Israel, I welcome you in Jerusalem, and I mention that I remember with great warmth and excitement my historic visit to Ethiopia, which was part of Israel's great return to Africa. To your ancient land, from where not only the roots of humanity grew, but also the roots of our shared civilization."

"I told you at the time that it would not take 3,000 years for the Queen of Sheba to visit King Solomon, so I got there, and now you're here, it did not take 3,000 years, and we'll continue to do it again and again because we have a great friendship.

"I have just returned from ECOWAS, Israel is returning to Africa and Africa is coming back to Israel, and this is possible thanks to your friendship and leadership, as well as that of some of your colleagues, and I deeply appreciate it. We feel that there is an opportunity to hold onto the future," Netanyahu said.

According to Netanyahu, "Since my visit to Ethiopia, we have increased our economic cooperation, and I look forward to deepening it today, especially in the field of water, a field that Prime Minister Desalegn knows very well, and he understands the full potential of what can be done here. In the fields of agriculture, health, and security, Israel is a global leader, and we hope that through cooperation between us we will be able to solve some pressing problems and provide a better future for both our peoples. Fishing, milk, cattle."

Later, Netanyahu referred to the existence of a large Ethiopian community in Israel: "The Ethiopian community, Mr. Prime Minister, serves as a human bridge between our two peoples, and the speaker of the Knesset, Dr. Negosa, is a testimony to the contribution of this community. We have a deep affinity and a deep sympathy for your people and we also understand that we face a common challenge: Ethiopia has a strong position on the war on terrorism, especially against Al Shabab, and we must continue to work together to eradicate this plague. Recently, in America, in Asia - we must fight together against these barbaric forces that we must turn to the future and in the spirit of genuine partnership and in the spirit of renewing an ancient friendship, I warmly welcome you and the members of your entourage in Jerusalem."