In a meeting held between Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and Koen Vervaeke, Managing Director for East Africa at the European External Action Service (EEAS) on Friday (January 28, 2017), the two sides affirmed the need to forge strategic engagements to further bolster long standing ties. The Managing Director, Koen Vervaeke, mentioning the Strategic Engagement signed on June, 2016 between the two sides called for more dialogues for effective implementation. Mr. Koen underlined the need to work closely so as to best exploit the 5th Summit is scheduled to take place in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, on 28-29 November 2017. He noted that the Africa-EU Partnership is adapting to the changing realities through constant formal dialogue between African and European counterparts at different levels. EU-Africa Summits of Heads of States and Governments take place every three years alternatively in Africa and Europe. These Summits take stock of the progress made in the implementation of commitments made and provide political guidance for further work. On the Occasion, Mr Koen praised the many bold moves taken by the government of Ethiopia in addressing the problems in some parts of Oromia and Amhara Regional States some few months ago.
Dr. Workneh said, “We greatly value the notable relationship we have with the European Union.” Regarding the government’s effort to put in place necessary conditions to bring the country to normalcy and tranquility, the Foreign Minister noted that along with the positive effect garnered from the State of Emergency the deep reforms would surely have far reaching positive socio-political and economic changes on the wider public. He mentioned the government’s solid commitment to address legitimate grievances of different segments of the society, particularly the deep seated problems within the youth, unemployment. Dr. Workneh pointed out the recent endeavor by the government in preparing inclusive dialogues with different political parties and mentioned innovative schemes and upgraded codes of ethics mapped out by the government to incorporate and encourage new political parties to join the political field.
The two sides also discussed on pressing regional issues giving particular emphasis on the election in Somalia. Dr. Workneh would make his trip to the European Union in Brussels, Belgium making his first trip to Europe as a Foreign Minister since he assumed power in October.