In the first visit of an Israeli minister to Ethiopia in five years, Regional Cooperation Minister Silvan Shalom blocked an anti-Israel decision from being passed at a the Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), which met Monday in Addis Ababa.
Shalom arrived in the Ethiopian capital as head of a Knesset delegation to the event, accompanied by MK Shlomo Mula (Kadima) and Cabinet Secretary Eyal Yinon.
He told Ynet that the delegation succeeded in blocking an Iran-led effort to add to the agenda at the last minute a discussion on Israel's recent operation in Gaza.
According to Shalom, the objective of this discussion was to pass an anti-Israel statement and his meetings with the president of the IPU and other representatives put an end to the effort to change the agenda in this way.
However, the possibility of adding the issue to the agenda will be reassessed at the IPU's next meeting, scheduled in six months in Geneva.
Shalom met Tuesday with Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, as well as with Ethiopian Foreign Minister. He told them that Israel's government "seeks peace" and emphasized the importance of strengthening ties between Israel and Ethiopia.
"Israel sees an ally in Ethiopia, in the struggle against radical Islam and the Iranian threat," he said.
Zenawi wished the new government well and said he was committed to improving ties between the two countries, saying that ending the conflict with the Arab world, it would be much easier to transfer the focus to the fight with extremists.
It was agreed at the meeting that Israel would transfer medical aid package of $100,000 to Ethiopia.
Following the meeting, Ethiopian representatives joined the delegation in a visit to Addis Ababa's synagogue, where they met members of the local Jewish community. Shalom brought them matzot.