Ambassador Berhane, Acting Foreign Minister, has met an EU Parliamentary Delegation from new member states of the European Union, from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
Ambassador Berhane told the delegation that Africa was changing fast, and it felt that this century would be an African Century. He therefore urged the MPs to encourage their countries, as well as the EU as a whole, to continue to be strong partners for Africa.
Ambassador Berhane noted that Ethiopia's proximity to Europe made the continent an important trading partner and the relationship Ethiopia had with their countries was excellent. Ethiopia was aware there was great potential for closer relationships and sought to strengthen its cooperation in various priority development sectors. Ambassador Berhane also briefed the delegation about Ethiopia's contributions to building lasting peace in the region of the Horn of Africa region. Ethiopia, he said, had an excellent relationship with all its neighbors, except Eritrea.
He detailed Eritrea's destabilizing activities in the region, but made it clear Ethiopia was always ready to resolve its differences with Eritrea through dialogue. Ethiopia did not want to see any conflict in the region or any obstacles to its development efforts. The visiting MPs said that as new entrants to the European Union, they were looking to engage more with Africa.
They saw Ethiopia, the seat of the African Union, as the best place to start; they also emphasized their interest to cooperate in various development sectors through both governmental and private sector activity.