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H.E. Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu وركنِه جيبيُّو
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Excellencies Ministers of the Ethiopian and Egyptian delegations
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Allow me at the outset to warmly welcome you in Cairo, and I hope that our Ethiopian brothers and sisters are enjoying their stay in their second home.
I would also like to wish you a happy New Year 2018, may it bring progress and prosperity to both the Egyptian and Ethiopian people.
Egyptians and Ethiopians have enjoyed longstanding historical relations for millenia. Our countries established diplomatic relations as early as 1927, to mark one of the oldest diplomatic ties within Africa, and I’m sure we are all keen to exert our utmost efforts to sustain and further develop our historical relations, and realize its full potential.
The Egyptian Ethiopian Joint Commission has convened before for 5 sessions, the last of which was in 2014 in Addis Ababa. I am glad that we are able today to convene in Cairo for the first time the Egyptian Ethiopian High-level Joint Commission, at the level of the leaders of both countries. I am sure upgrading the level of our Joint Commission, in accordance with the agreement of our leaders in 2015, will give significant impetus to our bilateral relations.
I would also like to point out that the timing of convening this Joint Commission and of H.E. Prime Minister Desalegn’s visit to Cairo is of great significance, being a clear indication of our joint political will to overcome any obstacles that may derail the path towards the promising horizons that our relations are destined for.
I would like to commend the efforts of the senior officials and experts during their meetings in the past couple of days, which were followed by our ministerial meetings today. I’m glad that the outcomes of our deliberations furnish a modus operandi for steering joint successful cooperation in the fields of agriculture, trade, investment, mining, health, industry, culture and education.
I would, thus, like to express my satisfaction with what has been achieved during our meetings, particularly as we have agreed on several bilateral legal instruments that we shall sign tomorrow in the presence of our principals. There are other draft legal instruments that remain pending finalization, in the fields of telecommunications, exemption of diplomatic and service passports from the requirement of prior obtainment of visas, (as well as cooperation in customs), and I am sure we will continue close coordination in order to conclude them soon. It is also equally important to maintain close follow up of what has been agreed.
I would like to confirm, Excellencies, Egypt’s dedication to enhancing cooperation with Ethiopia in all fields of mutual interest. I believe it is our joint duty, officials from both governments, to closely cooperate in order to increase the volume of trade, pave the way for more Egyptian investments in Ethiopia, particularly in the sectors of agriculture, industry and pharmaceuticals. It is Egypt's conviction that there is ample potential for economic integration between us that is not yet properly exploited. There is also no doubt that enhancing security cooperation between the two countries is essential, particularly due to the imminent threats of terrorism.
I wish to take this opportunity to reiterate Egypt's commitment to the full implementation of the Agreement on Declaration of Principles (DoP) signed by Egypt, Ethiopia and the Sudan on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), which we will be – upon full implementation - a successful model of cooperation in the Nile basin.
I would like to thank the two delegations, once again, for working diligently to explore wider areas of cooperation, and I would, finally, like to reiterate Egypt’s unwavering commitment to establish strategic cooperation with Ethiopia, to the benefit of our sisterly nations.