PM Netanyahu Meets with Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his wife Sara, this afternoon (Tuesday, 6 June 2017), welcomed Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and his wife Roman Tesfaye at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem with an honor guard.
Following the ceremony the prime ministers held a meeting with their expanded teams. Attending for the Israeli side were Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman, Regional Cooperation Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, Agriculture and Rural Development Minister Uri Ariel, Communications Minister Ayoob Kara and Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Michael Oren. Attending for the Ethiopian side were Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Defense Minister Siraj Fegeta, Education Minister Shiferaw Tekelemariam, Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Tefera Deribew, Water and Energy Minister Alemayehu Tegenu, Culture and Tourism Minister Amin Abdulkadir and Trade and Investment Minister Abdurahman Shek Mohammed, et al. Agriculture, defense and public security were among the issues discussed.
Agriculture Minister Ariel and Ethiopian Agriculture and Natural Resources Minister Deribew signed agricultural agreements.
Prime Minister Netanyahu and his wife will, this evening, at the Prime Minister's Residence in Jerusalem, host Ethiopian Prime Minister Desalegn and his wife for dinner.
At the joint statement, Prime Minister Netanyahu made the following remarks:
"Welcome on behalf of the people of Israel and the Government of Israel, I welcome you to Jerusalem. I must say that I remember with tremendous warmth and emotion the historic visit to Ethiopia, which was part of the great return of Israel to Africa. But it was a particularly moving experience for me and the members of my delegation to come to your ancient land that has not only the roots of humanity but the roots of our common civilization. I said to you at the time that it won't be 3,000 years that are required for our return visit from the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon. Well, I came there. Now you’re back again. It hasn't taken 3,000 years, and we'll continue to do this over and over again, because we have a great friendship.
I've just returned from ECOWAS. Israel is returning to Africa, and Africa is returning to Israel. But it was made possible by your friendship and your leadership, along with several of your colleagues and I deeply appreciate that. We view Africa as a continent on the rise. We understand that there are challenges – we have them too. But we sense that there is an opportunity to seize the future. Since my visit to Ethiopia, we've increased our economic cooperation, and I look forward to deepening that today, particularly in water. This is an area that Prime Minister Desalegn knows particularly well – he is a great engineer of water and he understands the full potential of what can be done with it. In agriculture as well, in heath, security, in all these areas and many others. Israel is a world leader in these fields and we hope that by working together we can solve some pressing problems, and just provide a better future for both our peoples. So we intend to cooperate today in areas or irrigation, local development, fishing, milk, cattle.
I want to congratulate your representative who has become head of the World Health Organization. Needless to say, Israel supported his election and I hope that you will support Israel's return to the African Union as an observer state. I think and I believe that this is not only in our interest but it's in the interest of Africa.
The Ethiopian community, Mr. Prime Minister, is a human bridge between our two nations. Member of parliament and Acting Speaker of the Knesset Dr. Neguise is a testament to the contribution of this community. We have a deep sentiment, a deep affinity and a deep sympathy to your nation and we understand too that we face a common challenge. Ethiopia takes a strong stand in the fight against terrorism, particular against Al-Shabaab. We must continue to work together to defeat this scourge, across the world, in Africa, in Europe, in London – just recently, in America, in Asia, we have to fight together against these forces of barbarism because we must seize the future, we must advance modernity.
So it's in this spirit of true partnership and an ancient friendship renewed that I warmly welcome you and your delegation to Jerusalem. Welcome friend."
Prime Minister Netanyahu added:
"Before we sign agreements, I want to say a word to you about the city that you are visiting here. It has old and new.
Old – in the old city of Jerusalem, the City of David, the Temple Mount, it's where the Queen of Sheba visited King Solomon.
New – a few hundred meters from here, a company, a part of many companies, high-tech companies, that was purchased for 15 billion dollars by Intel, and they gave this company the keys and said, all the automotive technology, autonomous car businesses in the world, we want you to do this from Jerusalem. So the word comes out from Jerusalem, technology comes out from Jerusalem. And we just heard today that the United States Senate voted unanimously to recognize Israel as the undivided capital of Jerusalem, of Israel. I'm certainly not going to argue with the American Senate. Welcome again to the eternal undivided capital of Israel. Welcome."