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Ethiopia, Germany embrace a new chapter of bilateral cooperation

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German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel, who is on an official visit to Addis Abeba met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn this morning (October 10, 2016) at the National Palace. The two Heads of State discussed on a range of issues including; peace and security in the region; migration and refugees; natural resource conservation and development ; democracy and good governance and trade and investment as well as current situations in Ethiopia.

During a joint statement to the press, Prime Minister Hailemariam said the Chancellor's visit to Ethiopia marks the beginning of a new chapter in the longstanding bilateral relation and development cooperation between Ethiopia and Germany.

He said the visit reaffirms the two sides' commitment to lift the bilateral cooperation into a new high, adding that Ethiopia and Germany have had excellent cooperation in human resources development, particularly in areas of water, engineering and education, which has significantly assisted farmers in Ethiopia.

Asked about current situations in Ethiopia, the Premier said the government is now undertaking series of relevant reforms with the full measure of addressing public demands. One of such reforms he said was the government's commitment to reform the country's electoral laws, which will be implemented following dialogues with opposition parties. He added various democratic platforms will also be in place to maximize the full participation of all stakeholders and guarantee accountability and transparency.

Responding to whether security forces have used excessive force in a bid to contain the current protest and violence, Prime Minister Hailemariam said an investigation is underway by the Ethiopian Human rights commission. In this connection, he said, "We launched this investigation not to please the international community; but we are responsible to our citizens."

Chancellor Angela Merkel noted that Ethiopia and Germany have achieved tremendous results in human resource capacity building, agriculture and rural development endeavours.

She said Ethiopia was able to improve the living standards of its citizens much due to the activities of the country's poverty reduction efforts, which she said managed to lift several people out of poverty and offer educational opportunities for numerous youth in the past.

The Chancellor however stressed on the need to work hard to meet the growing demand of the youth, while also expressing her country's readiness to extend support to Ethiopia's efforts of responding to the demands of the youth. Touching upon the recent protests and violence in some parts of Ethiopia, Merkel while welcoming the government's reform agenda, emphasized the need for dialogues among stakeholders. "The government has correctly identified the problems and has set ways to address them," she added.

On the need to intensify cooperation with Africa on migration and refugees, Merkel said the EU was ready to work together with the continent. She said, "Africa's economic development means a lot to European stability." She further pledged to reinforce the financing of endeavours dedicated to dealing with migration and refugees.

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