Home | News    Wednesday 2 June 2004

Ethiopian PM in Israel to strength bilateral relations


By Herb Keinon

JERUSALEM, June 01, 2004 (Jerusalem Post) — Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi arrived in Israel on Tuesday for a three-day visit, a signal of the strengthening ties between the two countries.

"Prime ministerial visits are in general not very common," one Foreign Ministry official said. "This is a serious expression of the importance both sides attribute to the relationship."

Zenawi’s visit, the first by an Ethiopian prime minister since Israel and Ethiopia established diplomatic ties in 1989, comes fast on the heels of Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom’s visit to Ethiopia in January. Likewise, Ethiopia’s Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin was in Israel twice last year.

Diplomatic officials pointed out that Ethiopia was one of only a handful of countries that voted in the UN General Assembly at the end of last year against sending the security fence issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

Although one of the reasons for this vote seemed to be Addis Ababa’s concern that its own long-simmering conflict with Eritrea may be sent to the International Court of Justice, its siding with Israel in the UN was viewed in Jerusalem as a positive sign.

Ethiopia, because it hosts the African Union, formerly known as the Organization of African Unity, is considered a significant player in African politics, and - according to Israeli officials - "has taken a relatively positive position toward Israel."

Zenawi met Tuesday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and President Moshe Katsav. He is scheduled to meet Wednesday with Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom, Science and Technology Minister Eliezer Sandberg, Labor Party head Shimon Peres, and members of Israel’s 84,000-strong Ethiopian Jewish community.

The plight of the Falash Mura, descendents of Jews who converted to Christianity, will surly come up during Zenawi’s talks here, although this issue has ceased to be a source of friction between Jerusalem and Addis Ababa since Israel made it know that it is not planning any massive airlift of the Falash Mura. Instead, the immigrants are arriving here - with Ethiopian government approval - at the rate of about 300 a month.

According to a list drawn up by an Israeli government committee, there are currently some 20,000 Falash Mura eligible to immigrate to Israel.

Diplomatic officials said that the Ethiopian Jewish community in Israel has served as an important bridge in developing stronger ties with Addis Ababa.

Shalom will host Zenawi for a luncheon meeting on Wednesday, where the focus of talks will be on bilateral cooperation. Ethiopia is interested in encouraging Israeli investment in its agriculture and telecommunications infrastructure, and in January, Shalom took some 30 Israeli businessmen to Ethiopia with him.

Non-military Israeli-Ethiopian trade amounted to only $25 million in 2003, with $15 million of that being foodstuffs imported from Ethiopia for the Ethiopian immigrants living here. Israel’s exports to Ethiopia increased from $2.5 million in 2002, to $10 million in 2004. No figures were available on military trade.

Comments on the Sudan Tribune website must abide by the following rules. Contravention of these rules will lead to the user losing their Sudan Tribune account with immediate effect.

- No inciting violence
- No inappropriate or offensive language
- No racism, tribalism or sectarianism
- No inappropriate or derogatory remarks
- No deviation from the topic of the article
- No advertising, spamming or links
- No incomprehensible comments

Due to the unprecedented amount of racist and offensive language on the site, Sudan Tribune tries to vet all comments on the site.

There is now also a limit of 400 words per comment. If you want to express yourself in more detail than this allows, please e-mail your comment as an article to comment@sudantribune.com

Kind regards,

The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

Comment on this article

The following ads are provided by Google. SudanTribune has no authority on it.

Sudan Tribune

Promote your Page too

Latest Comments & Analysis

Another electoral farce Sudanese should expect in 2020 2018-06-18 02:08:16 Sudanese Elections Scheduled for 2020 will be Fraught with Dangers andCounterfeiting like its predecessors By Mahmoud A. Suleiman The National Congress Party (NCP) regime’s Elections Scheduled (...)

Salva Kiir’s kingdom of doom 2018-06-16 12:31:50 By Duop Chak Wuol Empires come and go, regardless of whether they are good or bad. One of the chief measures employed by historians is an investigatory examination into the legacies the empires (...)

Darfur remains at crossroads as Bashir takes it protective cover from ICC 2018-06-12 14:19:46 By Mahmoud A. Suleiman This article comes against the backdrop of the statement attributed to Sudan's ruling regime as saying that it is the “Time for UNAMID to leave Darfur” (...)


Latest Press Releases

The Suspension of Hurriyat Online Newspaper 2018-04-29 07:04:37 Sudan Democracy First Group 28 April 2018 The Sudanese civil and political circles and those concerned with Sudan were shocked by the news that the management of Hurriyat online newspaper has (...)

Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan 2018-04-22 10:01:20 UN Secretary-General, New York African Union Commission, Addis Ababa UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva Petition on the Deteriorating Human Rights and Humanitarian Situation in Sudan (...)

Abyei celebrates Mine Awareness Day 2018-04-05 08:52:03 4 April 2018 | Abyei - The United Nations Interim Security Force for Abyei (UNISFA) and the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) commemorated the International Day for Mine Awareness and (...)


Copyright © 2003-2018 SudanTribune - All rights reserved.