As part of the continuing sectoral dialogue under the EU-Ethiopia strategic engagement, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirut Zemene conferred with a delegation led by Koen Vervaeke, the Managing Director for East Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS) (April 24, 2018).
The EU and Ethiopia decided to enhance the level of the partnership on 14 June 2016, when the then Prime minister Hailemariam Desalegn and European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker signed a Joint Declaration towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement. This commits both sides to an annual Ministerial Meeting and six sectoral dialogues: Governance and Human Rights; Regional Peace and Security; Countering Terrorism and Violent Radicalization; Migration; Social and Economic Development, Investment and Trade; and Climate Change and Environmental Cooperation.
Today’s issue entitled “Sectoral Dialogue on Regional Peace and Security” is a second round talk following the launch of the strategic dialogue on”Human Rights and Governance” on April last year between the two sides.
State Minister Hirut, on the occasion, briefed the delegation the ongoing key reforms in the country that made its central locus on honing Government capacity towards ensuring a broader democratic space, building stronger Government organs free of maladministration and corruption, empowering women, further committing to inter-political party-dialogues and bolstering ties with neighboring countries as well as international partners. The State Minister assured Vervaeke and his delegation the election of a new Premier, the formation of his new cabinet and the continuous successful dialogues with different stakeholders in the country have showcased Government’s commitment to bring about the change the wider public has been demanding for. Calling the situation in the country, “an important departure”, Koen Vervaeke lauded the Government of Ethiopia for the way it has handled critical domestic issues over the months.
Praising the significant role the EU was playing in its continued support in financing AMISOM, Mrs. Hirut underlined the need to make the support to AMISOM as coordinated and as predictable as possible. Mrs. Hirut noted if Somalia National Security Sector is to take over AMISOM, it is then crucial to hone the capacity of the Somali National Security Forces. The State minister called for more international support on areas of institutional reform and economic development as well to witness a stronger and more prosperous Somalia.
Commending the progress in Somalia and Ethiopia’s role under AMISOM, Mr. Vervaeke pledged EU’s continued support. He further underscored the need for the Government of Somalia to put more efforts to building stronger institutes to shoulder upcoming responsibilities.
Following the decisions of the 61st Extraordinary Meeting on South Sudan, the IGAD Council of Ministers has started shuttle diplomacy with all parties to the Revitalization Process, according to State Minister Hirut. IGAD member states, added Mrs. Hirut, are now on a more unified and strong position to bring about the necessary peace and stability in the country. To ensure this, the State Minister reiterated the Revitalization Process comes as the last viable option. The second HLRF is scheduled to take place on the first week of May, 2018.
The two sides have also discussed on current issues of Horn of Africa-Gulf and other peace and security issues.