22 January 2019

East Africa: Italy to Finance Ethiopia, Eritrea Railway Link

Photo: New Times
(File photo).

Addis Ababa — The Government of Italy expressed its interest to help Ethiopia and Eritrea link via railway network.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who was on official visit to Italy, has discussed with his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, in Rome on Monday.

In a joint press conference after the meeting, PM Guiseppe Conte expressed his government's interest to cover the feasibility study cost for the railway project that links Addis Ababa with the port city of Massawa, Eritrea.

Commenting on Italy's support, Prime Minister Abiy expressed his gratitude for the government of Italy.

"The comprehensive discussion which I had with Giuseppe Conte in particular was important to take the bilateral relationship between Ethiopia and Italy to the next level," he said.

In response to the offer made by the Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Premier Abiy Ahmed said "We are excited and accept with great honor Italy's Plan to extend support on Ethiopia's plan to link Addis Ababa with Massawa via railway."

Prime Minister Conte has also expressed his government's plan to extend support to the soldiers returning from the Ethio-Eritrea border following the peace agreement between the two neighboring countries.

The Prime Minister also called for enhanced cooperation between Ethiopia and Italy in the areas of development, peace, and tourism.

It is to be noted that most of Ethiopia's hydropower dams including GERD under construction, are built by the Italian Company, Salini Impregilo.

In light with this Prime Minister Abiy conferred with Pope Francis at the Vatican Apostolic Palace upon which the Pope lauded the historic agreement signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea to end border standoff.

Common interest of both Ethiopia and the Vatican City State, including the peace accord with Eritrea was at core of the discussion.

Premier Abiy also discussed with Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of the Holy State of Vatican.

In another development, Premier Abiy Ahmed visited St. Stephen of the Abyssinians Church located in Vatican City on Monday.

Upon reaching, PM Abiy was received by Cardinal Berhane Yesus, who recognized the Premier for the peace bridge that has been built between Ethiopia and Eritrea on his initiation.

Concluding his two days visit in Italy, PM Abiy Ahmed has arrived in Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, according to Office of the prime Minister.

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