The HR/VP Federica Mogherini and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides met Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, in Brussels, at the margins of the European Development Days.

This meeting follows up the signature yesterday, by Prime Minister Hailemariam and President Juncker, of a Joint Declaration “Towards an EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement”.

HR/VP Mogherini and Prime Minister Hailemariam had constructive talks about the Strategic Engagement, including the six sectoral dialogues which are part of the new relationship: regional peace and security; countering terrorism and violent radicalization; migration; social and economic development, investment and trade; governance and human rights; climate change and environmental cooperation.

Both discussed on the migration challenges commonly shared by the EU and Ethiopia. HR/VP Mogherini reminded that Ethiopia currently hosts the largest refugee community in Africa, and welcomed the ongoing cooperation under the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, signed in November last year at the margins of the Valletta Summit on Migration. The recent Commission’s proposal to work towards Migration Compacts with priority partner countries, including Ethiopia, was also discussed. Both sides agreed on the need to further implement commitments made in Valletta, notably protecting people’s lives, ensuring effective returns and helping tackling the root causes of irregular migration. In this context, the HRVP confirmed that implementation of three actions under the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa for an amount of € 97 million would  start shortly, with a particular focus on support to refugees and host communities; job creation for potential migrants and returnees; and building resilience of most vulnerable communities.

The situation in the Horn of Africa and the wider Red Sea region was on the agenda. The HRVP recognized Ethiopia’s  crucial role on regional peace and security. On the recent military actions on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border, HR/VP Mogherini called for restraint from both sides and reiterated that only a peaceful resolution will lead to a lasting solution of the border conflict.

Governance and human rights were also on the agenda, as HR/VP Mogherini highlighted the need for inclusiveness, accountability and open dialogue. On the situation in Oromia, including the fate of individuals arrested in the context of the recent protests, HR/VP Mogherini recalled the EU readiness to support broadening the democratic environment.

Finally, The HRVP and the Ethiopian Prime Minister also discussed the upcoming EU-Ethiopia Business Forum which should be held in Brussels by the end of 2016, with a view to increase private sector’s involvement in the country.

Source: European Union
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