Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen has today discussed with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Schallenberg at his office on a range of issues including recent developments in Ethiopia and the region.
At the meeting, Demeke said Ethiopia and Austria enjoy a long-standing bilateral relationship that is a century old and remains firm today with cooperation between the two countries growing strong on various fronts.
FM Demeke underscored the fact that ever since the new administration has assumed power, it has contributed enormously to the positive developments registered in the Sub-region to ensure sustainable peace and development.
The two foreign ministers exchanged views on the already completed law enforcement Operation in Tigray region, developments on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the current situation between Ethiopia and Sudan.
Demeke explained to the Austrian Foreign Minister that Ethiopia started the law enforcement operation in Tigray following the atrocity the TPLF Clique committed against the Northern Command of the National Defence Force.
He told FM Alexander Schallenberg that federal government has successfully completed the law enforcement operation, captured a number of culprits and delivering humanitarian assistances to the affected people and restoring infrastructure in the region.
Regarding the GERD, Demeke underlined that Ethiopia is working to resolve the dispute with Egypt and Sudan through diplomatic dialogue via the tripartite talk being held under auspices of the African Union (AU).
Demeke further briefed the Austiran counterpart that Ethiopia constructing the GERD in a bid to utilize its natural resource for poverty eradication purpose without causing any significant harm to downstream countries. Ethiopia is working hard to bring African solution to this African problem, Demeke stressed.
FM Demeke, regarding the current border issue with Sudan, underlined that the Sudanese army has encroached territories of Ethiopia some 40 kilometers to the interior part, vandalized properties of citizens and attacked civilians. But, Demeke said, Ethiopia is working to address the issue with diplomatic way.
Schallenberg, on his part, said that Ethiopia is an important strategic country that plays a key role in the region and, as one of the priority countries for the Austrian development cooperation programme, it remains committed to continue to support the development efforts of the Ethiopian Government to bring about sustainable growth and development in the country.
He also underlined the need to continue with the progress achieved to ensure that the humanitarian assistance reaches the people in need and expressed the readiness of Austria to work together with the Ethiopian Government to continue to provide the necessary assistance to scale-up the work of humanitarian assistance and confidence building.
The Austrian Foreign Affairs Minister Alexander Schallenberg also appreciated Ethiopia for giving maximum care to civilians in the region while taking the law enforcement measures.
FM Alexander Schallenberg further reaffirmed the commitment of Austria to support the humanitarian activities Ethiopia is undertaking in Tigray. He also commended Ethiopia’s diplomatic approach to the issues with Sudan.
Austria is ready to share its best practices in utilizing its river for hydroelectric dam, FM Alexander Schallenberg who compared the case with that of the GERD.
Both Ministers have agreed to continue to work together to further strengthen the long-standing relations that exist between the two sisterly countries and to enhance collaboration in multilateral diplomacy.
The two further explored ways to further enhance cooperation between their two countries in the trade, tourism and other social and economic sectors.