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Ethiopia’s sturdy diplomatic relations

Tesfaye Lemma 11-13-17

If we go back to some three decades ago, the Ethiopian diplomatic situation was so deteriorated.  The country was isolated from the rest of the world. Most countries in the Horn of Africa had also ill relations with Ethiopia. The previous regimes had no intention to look inward rather they were blaming those countries as if they had been acting against the Ethiopian people. As a result, Ethiopia had no good relation with those countries.

Ethiopia also had a significant impact due to its poor diplomacy with other countries. For instance, almost all countries were unwilling to support Ethiopia to develop any development project in its resources like the Nile Basin. Egypt had been enjoying that supremacy in convincing developed countries to restrain in helping Ethiopians.

 However, the situation is altered just following the coming of EPRDF into power. The country’s foreign policy has absolutely changed that it was designed on mutual interests and respect. Nowadays, even the relations with Egypt have changed.

No matter how strong that country resist to fully endorse and accept Ethiopia’s right to develop using its natural resources, it has already failed to maintain its previous influences on other countries to restrain to support Ethiopia. The relations between countries along the Nile Basin and Ethiopia has been growing from time to time these days due to the diplomatic efforts that Ethiopia has exerted so far. 

Since the past fifteen years Ethiopia has been attempting to establish a strong diplomatic relations with countries around the world. Its foreign policy mainly focuses on mutual benefit and cooperation as well as non-interference in other countries internal affairs.

The United Kingdom, United States of America, Ireland, German, France, China, India, South Korea and Arab countries could be some of the typical examples that Ethiopia has established a sturdy trade and investment relations.

As a result, many of the top officials of these countries had visited Ethiopia and had signed various agreements of development cooperation. Recently, when Crown Prince of Norway Haakon aid a working visit to Ethiopia, Norway affirmed it is keen to open a new chapter of bilateral ties with Ethiopia. The two countries agreed to enhance their economic cooperation through large scale private sector economic engagement.

The Heads of States of Ethiopia and Norway have agreed to renew their ties.  Of the different economic collaborations that the two countries have agreed to enhance, respective ministers of Ethiopia and Norway have signed. One of these is cooperating in large scale potash production.

Norway will cooperate with Ethiopia in different areas.  Green development initiatives, education, health, climate and humanitarian aids are some among many others.  Norway is also keen to support Ethiopia in industrialization and refugee management. It has also been cooperating with Ethiopia peace building and conflict resolution in the volatile Horn of Africa.

Ethiopia and Norway also determined to cooperate for the effective realization of Sustainable Development Goals.  The two countries have agreed to cooperate in climate change and green economy development.

It is keen to support the Ethiopian Climate Resilient Green Economy Strategy that envisioned moving the country to middle-income status in 2025.  The prince promised that Norway will help Ethiopia in its efforts to meet its plans to avoid greenhouse gas emissions.  

The country’s diplomatic relation is not restricted to a few countries. It has been making a tremendous effort to cooperate with any country around the world based on respect and mutual benefits. It has also been enjoying good diplomatic relations with all its neighbors without Eritrea.

This has emanated from the very foundation of Ethiopia’s foreign policy and strategy.  Non-interference with other countries internal affairs, fighting poverty, ensuring sustainable economic growth and building peace and democratization are among the basic foundations of Ethiopia’s foreign policy.

It is crystal clear that Ethiopia has keen interest in advancing its bilateral relations with all countries mainly its regional relations on the basis of mutual interest.

Ethiopia’s efforts to bring together neighboring countries in the quest for peace, stability and economic development has added to have more friends than enemies. Its irreplaceable participation in the African Union as well as IGAD has contributed to the creation of a cooperative framework among countries in the region on issues of common concern including peace initiatives, conflict resolution, early warning systems and economic integration.

The bilateral relations between Ethiopia and the Sudan was weak and with full of suspicions during the military regime. Following the coming of EPRDF into power, the relationship between the two countries has opened a new chapter, which is mainly based on friendship and mutual respect. They have been cooperating in peace security issues along their common boundary.

It is also worth mentioning that Ethiopia enjoys its bilateral relations with Kenya. The two countries have not only steadily economic cooperation and people-to-people relations but also in other border securities. The same is true that Ethiopia has also established an excellent relation with Djibouti.

These two countries have strengthened their cultural and economic ties and they have fraternal links between the peoples on both sides at borders.  The three major areas of cooperation between the two countries are peace, security, trade and investment.

In case, of these two countries, port Djibouti has a significant role. Ethiopia’s 95 percent of import and export pass through this rout. It is Djibouti’s biggest customer and these two countries have been attempting to bring economic integration among the countries in the Horn of Africa.

All this is due to the policies and strategies in Ethiopia. These policies and strategies mainly focus on peaceful relations based on the principle of mutual respect, the existence of enduring security, economic and political ties.   Ethiopia’s role the regional organization IGAD, in the African Union and in the International arena has played a remarkable role in improved diplomatic relations.

Many political analysts argue that Ethiopia has become one of the successful countries in its diplomacy with other countries due to its economic growth in the past twenty six years. As the economy of the country has began to boom, its negotiating ability has raised which also tributes to develop its acceptance at regional, continental and international levels.

Ethiopia has made a dramatic change in this regard. Its relation with all countries around the world has strengthened from time to time. The development supports and aid it gets from different countries has also grown. The trade and investment relations with those countries have also strengthening. At this time in point, the booming investment in Ethiopia has been creating job opportunities to millions of Ethiopian youths. All these are the results of the country’s foreign policy and its appropriate implementation.


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