Dr. Workneh addresses the annual conference of Djiboutian Ambassadors

Ethiopia's Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, addressed the Annual Conference of Djiboutian Ambassadors last week on December 21. The Foreign Minister, who was invited by his Djiboutian counterpart Mahmoud Ali Youssuf, highlighted Ethiopia's foreign policy, its vision for regional integration, development and security and its international priorities. He also emphasized that his presence at the meeting reflected the fact that Ethiopia was firmly committed to the vision of elevating the already existing Ethio-Djiboutian strategic partnership to new and higher levels.

Dr. Workneh noted that the focus of Ethiopia's Foreign and National Security Policy was now based on national domestic needs and underlined that the shift in orientation of the country's foreign relations had injected fresh vitality into the overall development and democratization of the country over the last two decades. He also noted that the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy document, guided as it is by the constitution, identified the major threats and vulnerabilities facing the very existence and sovereignty of the country. He stressed that the policy document mapped out the future of the country, making the wellbeing, peace and security of the people the core mission of the country's foreign relations.

The Foreign Minister said Ethiopia's foreign policy identified poverty, backwardness, the absence of democracy, a lack of good governance and the rule of law as the major threats to national security. The Foreign and National Security Policy was devised with the aim of fast-tracking the fight against poverty and underdevelopment; and creating space for the promotion of democracy, good governance and the rule of law. The application of this Foreign and National Security Policy was also towards neighborhood diplomacy, to give a full play for the promotion of regional integration. This underlined the fact that Ethiopia shaped and directed its neighborhood diplomacy in the interests of regional development and security.

Dr. Workneh highlighted the point that Ethiopia now mainstreamed the importance of its national interest in perfect synchronization with the cause of regional integration. It placed sustainability at the heart of its development and security blueprint. It also made a shared future and common benefits central to its aims of upholding regional platforms, including the IGAD and AU, as mechanisms to promote regional peace and stability along with massive infrastructure development and regional integration.

The Foreign Minister explained that Ethiopia was guided by the vision and spirit of Pan-Africanism. It had made steady progress in deepening and strengthening its ties with other African countries and the African Union in addition to championing the cause of Africa and Africans in international fora and platforms. The country's policies also embodied common interests and shared benefits that constantly enriched relations with the countries of the Middle East, providing for various fields of cooperative partnership with the objective of renewing its historic inter-civilizational connectivity with the region.

He also noted that the promotion of common benefits and shared interests was a key element guiding Ethiopia's foreign relations with other countries in Asia, Europe and the Americas. Relations with those countries, he said, showcased concrete and practical steps in various fields of cooperation, resulting in noteworthy achievements ranging from generating foreign direct investment and trade inflows to gaining support in Ethiopia's efforts to build a democratic developmental state.

Dr. Workneh said that strategic application of Ethiopia's foreign policy in relation to ties with Djibouti had made steady advance. The comprehensive strategic partnership between Ethiopia and Djibouti now set an example for other countries to follow. Both Ethiopia and Djibouti now used their Joint Ministerial Commission to provide full spectrum diplomatic operations and take practical steps for the benefit of all, laying the foundation to forge ahead for greater progress. Connectivity through the Ethio-Djibouti railway, dubbed Africa's first modern electric railway, would, he added, help both countries to industrialize their economies.

Djibouti's Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali Yusuf responded to Dr. Workneh, pledging that Djibouti would work in concert with Ethiopia to speed up economic integration. Taking note of the various initiatives underway to fast track the agenda of economic integration, he also underlined that their policies offered a model for other African countries.