Qatar's Foreign Minister on an official Visit to Ethiopia

A Qatari delegation led by the Foreign Minister of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Mohamed Abdulrahman Jassim Al-Thani, paid an official visit to Ethiopia this week (December 19-20). During the visit, Sheikh Mohammed met with President Dr. Mulatu Teshome, Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu and other high-level government officials.

President Dr. Mulatu Teshome held talks with the Qatari Foreign Minister on Tuesday (December 20). The discussions covered ways of enhancing cooperation between the two countries in terms of investment and financing development projects as well as strengthening people-to-people ties and cultural exchanges. President Mulatu emphasized the potential and the attractive investment environment in Ethiopia, and mentioned the various incentives for investment provided by the government of Ethiopia. The two sides also discussed possible new areas for investment projects and economic cooperation. President Mulatu recalled the recent reciprocal visits by high-level delegations from both countries, which, he noted, had resulted in the signing of a number of agreements. A road map to implement the signed agreements had also been prepared and would become effective in three months time.

Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed Abdulrahman Al-Thani said cooperation between Qatar and Ethiopia showed progress and economic and financial cooperation would be further strengthened for the mutual benefit of both countries. The Foreign Minister emphasized that Qatar wanted to play is proper role, together with Ethiopia, in helping to ensure peace and stability in South Sudan and Somalia. He said: "we have agreed on a road map that helps different government officials and business communities from Qatar to visit Ethiopia in the next three months and to identify concrete projects between our two countries in the years to come''.

The same day, Prime Minister Hailemariam also held talks with the Qatar Foreign Minister. They discussed ways to strengthen cooperation over a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. Speaking after the meeting, Ambassador Mesganu Arga, Ethiopian Ambassador to the State of Qatar, noted that the two countries had reached agreements to work together in rural investment and infrastructural development. Ambassador Mesganu said Ethiopia and Qatar had also agreed to work together in maintaining peace and stability in the Horn of Africa.

In his meeting with Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, Sheikh Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Thani discussed the road map of economic cooperation and the financing of infrastructural developments, as well as strengthening the historic ties between the two countries and fostering foreign relations. They discussed elevating their partnership and working closely on various issues in various bilateral, regional and multi-lateral fora. Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh emphasized the close long standing ties between Ethiopia and the State of Qatar and commended the agreement to establish a Joint Ministerial Commission. He welcomed and commended the recent exchange of high-level visits between the leaders of the two countries, and praised the growing partnership of the two countries in trade, investment and infrastructure development as well as security and stability. He called for further strengthening of cooperation in these sectors and for further exploration of cooperation in such areas as financing of public and private investments in the energy sector. At a joint press conference, Sheikh Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Thani said " We agreed to boost our relationship in the areas of investment, financing, infrastructure and tourism." Dr. Workneh said both countries had agreed to take their relations to the highest level, and had also on developments in various bilateral and multilateral relations to enhance the national interests of both countries, adding "to this end, we have signed 11 agreements and MoUs."       

Sheikh Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Thani, who said the occasion had been his first visit to Africa as well as to Ethiopia, commended the government and the people of Ethiopia for the warm hospitality accorded to his delegation. Emphasizing that it was in the interest of Qatar to work closely with Ethiopia, the Minister said Qatar was very willing to enhance cooperation with Ethiopia in different areas. Welcoming the increasing bilateral ties between the two countries, the Qatari Foreign Minister also stressed the need to further expand their investment and economic partnership. He noted the impressive and rapid growth of Ethiopia and the opportunities for partnership that had developed: the sectors for business and investment ties were widening and the potential for cooperation was high. Sheikh Mohamed Abdulrahman Al-Thani also congratulated Ethiopia on becoming a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council and looked forward to cooperation in the future.