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Statement by External Affairs Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on his departure from Ethiopia on 06.07.2007
Source : www.meaindia.nic.in

My delegation and I were extremely happy to be in Ethiopia. We spent three days on Ethiopian soil and have been touched by the warmth of the welcome and the generous hospitality extended to us by the government and people of Ethiopia. Our historical ties go back in history and we have civilisational links.

My visit was at the invitation of H.E. Mr. Seyoum Mesfin, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. The main purpose was to deepen and widen our traditionally warm relations. We look forward to regular exchange of such visits. I have invited His Excellency the Foreign Minister of Ethiopia to visit India in 2008.

An important result of my meeting with the Foreign Minister was to formalize regular bilateral dialogue focussing on bilateral, regional and global issues among the Foreign Offices and to establish a Joint Commission. I also had productive meetings with Their Excellencies the President, Prime Minister, and the Hon`ble Speaker of Ethiopia, apart from discussions with senior cabinet ministers.
In our bilateral discussions, we have drawn up a forward looking agenda of engagement in the political, trade, economic, science and technology, agriculture, culture, education and other sectors. We have agreed to expand the scope of our cooperation in capacity building, cooperation in education, health care etc.

Statement by External Affairs Minister, Shri Pranab Mukherjee on his departure from Ethiopia on 06.07.2007

      The Agreement on Science and Technology and the Education Exchange Programme which we signed will help accelerate the ongoing capacity building efforts including in agriculture and human resource development.
Our bilateral relationship is to be further diversified and expanded. It was decided to enhance economic and business linkages in both public and private sectors with a greater participation by Indian entities in the infrastructural development of Ethiopia. We signed the bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement and decided to speed up the finalisation of the Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement to provide the necessary incentives and institutional framework.

We have also discussed regional issues including those pertaining to African integration, Darfur and Somalia and other international issues engaging the attention of the international community such as the fight against terrorism, climate change, trade issues and UN reforms.

Today, I inaugurated the pilot projects of tele-education and tele-medicine, which India will be implementing on an Africa wide basis. This is a positive example of South South cooperation which uses IT and space technology and generates a multiplier developmental effect.

This morning, I had the privilege of addressing the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Security Committee and the Ethiopia-India Parliamentary Friendship Group of the Ethiopian Parliament. I spoke about our commitment to work towards a substantive enhancement of the broad-based bilateral relationship between the two democracies which also share developmental goals.

In my meeting with the Hon`ble Speaker of the House of Representatives, we discussed ways and means of developing closer association between the Ethiopian and Indian Parliaments. I reiterated India`s support for the development of democratic institutions in Ethiopia. We agreed to enhance parliamentary exchanges and agreed to have an Indian parliamentary delegation visit Ethiopia in the near future.

Some of the other highlights of our discussions include:

1. Invitation to Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia to visit India. PM Meles Zenawi has already accepted our Prime Minister`s invitation to visit India in November this year for the Federalism Conference.
2. Participation by India in Ethiopian millennium celebrations to revive our ancient civilisational links.
3. Agreement to continue to
a) Cooperate against international terrorism including cross border terrorism

b) Sustain common positions on climate change, UN Reforms including the need for Africa to be represented as a permanent member on an expanded UNSC


An understanding of how the process of integration is going to work in Africa including the move towards greater consolidation of regional economic groupings.

I took the opportunity of my presence in Addis Ababa, the diplomatic capital of Africa, to chair the Conference of Indian Heads of Missions in Sub-Sahara Africa. The purpose was to take stock of our overall relations and see how best we can move these forward to further mutual benefit.

I also met with the AU Chairperson H.E. Prof Alpha Oumar Konare to carry forward the dialogue we began when he visited India in December last year. We discussed ways and means of further strengthening the India-Africa partnership.

All in all, I have had an extremely satisfying visit. It will be our endeavour to build on the understandings reached during this visit.
New Delhi
July 6, 2007

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