Ethiopia and Benin signed a General Cooperation Agreement today (January 28th) here at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The agreement was signed between Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Mr. Nassirou Boko-Arifari, Minister of Foreign Affairs, African Integration, Francophonie and the Beninese Diaspora. Dr Tedros noted that "as much as we are satisfied with the current level of cooperation at the leadership level, we believe we have not fully utilized the full potential of our close relationship". He stressed the importance of "employing the utmost endeavor, particularly in the economic sphere, to expand and deepen our overall relationships".
He expressed his hope that the signing of the agreement would serve as the basis for further future cooperation in other fields. He hailed the signing of the agreement as important step in the relationship of the two countries. He said that although Benin opened an embassy in Addis Ababa in 2005, the two countries had never been involved in any bilateral engagement. He said "the decision to strengthen relations was made by President Boni Yayi and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn in October 2012.
Mr. Boko-Arifari praised Ethiopian Airlines for its excellent service in transporting 4,000 Beninese pilgrims from Benin to Mecca following a special arrangement made between Ethiopian and the government of Benin. Ethiopian Airlines now flies three times a week to Cotonou. The Minister expressed his hope that the two countries would now be able to sign agreements covering cooperation in the areas of agriculture, education and science.