Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn (L) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gesture after delivering joint statements in Jerusalem June 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun - RTX39AGA

Ethiopian PM meets counterpart Netanyahu during first state visit to Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed to Jerusalem his Ethiopian counterpart Hailemariam Desalegn, for the first state visit by the African leader to the Jewish state. During a joint press conference, Prime Minister Desalegn declared that his state visit indicates the return of Africa to Israel.

“Now upon your visit to Africa and I’m also very happy that you visit West Africa because recently that as per your words you are practically showing that you are coming back to Africa my visit today is also to show that Africa is coming to Israel.” Said Desalegn.

The Ethiopian leader also pointed to the fact that many of the terrorists threatening the world are rooted in both Africa and the Middle East, a reality that elevates the dire need for closer cooperation between African states and Israel.

“I think this clock now is in a position that we need to strengthen our ties because we have many things in common we have to fight terrorism as you mentioned this is our common trait we have to you know work out extremism which is now creating havoc wrecking havoc in the global situation and I think this without Israel and Africa coming together is not possible because Eastern Africa and the Horn of Africa and the Middle East are the areas where these terrorist groups are harbored and I think we have very much in common and we need to strengthen our efforts,” added Desalegn.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked his Ethiopian counterpart for being a key ingredient in Israel’s return to Africa, a continent the Israeli leader said, “is on the rise,” while reiterating his position that cooperation between Israel and the continent of Africa, provides opportunities to seize the future.

“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 the several of your colleagues and I deeply appreciate that we do Africa is a continent on the rise we understand that there are challenges we have them too but we are we sense that there is an opportunity to seize the future,” said Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Netanyahu also joined his counterpart Desalegn in urging the international community to join forces in the battle against terrorism, which he referred to as ‘barbarism’.

“Across the world in Africa in Europe in London just recently in America and we have to fight together against these forces of barbarism because we must seize the future we must advance modernity,” said Netanyahu.

Prime Minister Netanyahu’s recent visit to Africa, which took place earlier this week in the West African state of Liberia, had a primary objective “to reduce in number the 54 African countries that represent the basis for the automatic majority against Israel in the United Nations and other international forums.” Netanyahu declared the visit a success, pointing to the growing number of African states seeking to bolster their bilateral relations with the Jewish state.