Diplomatic Hub of Africa

As a founding member of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, Ethiopia continuously fought for the realization of the objectives of the OAU. It did its level best, both covertly and overtly, to assist the countries under colonialism to gain their independence.

Even when the record in domestic policies was decidedly counter-productive, the policy and practice towards Africa pursued by past Ethiopian governments was outstanding, enabling the country to discharge its African responsibilities and to gain the respect of our African brothers and sisters. Ethiopia all along steadfastly championed the cause of Africa and Africans dating back to a time when it stood virtually alone. There has never been a time when Ethiopian governments shied away from taking up their responsibilities towards Africa. It can also be said that there was hardly any occasion when Ethiopia was refused political and diplomatic support from Africa when it was needed.

Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union, the successor organization of the OAU. As the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy clearly points out, this naturally means that Ethiopia carries a special responsibility for the organization. Certainly, Ethiopia fully subscribes to the AU's vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa providing and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. Ethiopia has been in the forefront of the efforts to achieve this African vision and at no time has it shifted its attention away from addressing the age-old problems that have bedevilled Africa for so long.

The Rising African Cosmopolitan

Wide tree-lined streets, fine architecture, glorious weather, and the incongruity of donkey trains trolling along the boulevards make Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, a delightful place to explore. It is a city of surprises characterized by remarkable di¬versity and contrasts.Abundant eucalyptus trees and crisp, clear mountain air endow Addis Ababa with the bracing atmosphere of a highland summer resort. Its cosy espresso bars and patisseries are reminiscent of Rome and the Mediterranean, and its bustling outdoor markets are colourful reminders of more traditional ways of life. The people, the bursts of music from cafes or shops, the aromas of spicy cooking, of coffee and incense, form a unique Ethiopian pastiche.

Vibrant Addis Ababa is as cosmopolitan as any of the world's great metropolises, and the architecture is as varied as the city itself. Tall office buildings, elegant villas, functional bungalows, flats, fashionable hotels, conference halls, and theatres ¬gleaming in their marble and anodized aluminium - vie for attention alongside traditional homes of wattle and daub, surrounded by cattle, sheep, goats, and chickens. There is no designated 'city centre' because, until very recently, there was no urban planning. Addis Ababa simply grew in a natural, organic way, and its present appearance reflects this unforced and unstructured evolution.Set in rising countryside between 2,300 to 2,500 metres (7,500 to 8,200 feet) in altitude on the southern-facing slopes of the 3,000-metre-high (9,840-foot-high) Entoto mountain range immediately to the north, Ethiopia's largest city has grown at astonishing speed since it was founded just over a century ago. Covering 250 square kilometres (97 square miles), the city rambles pleasantly across many wooded hillsides and gullies cut through with fast ¬flowing streams.

Despite its proximity to the equator, its lofty altitude - the third-highest capital in the world - means that it enjoys a mild climate with an average temperature of 16°C (61°F). The hottest, driest months are usually April and May, when the days are pleasantly warm to hot and the nights are cool. During the main rainy season, from June to mid-September, both days and nights are cool by local standards. Between late October and mid-January night-time temperatures can drop to below 4°C (40°F), although day temperatures in the sun exceed 20°C (68°F). Visitors coming from the cold European winter, however, will probably find Addis Ababa's climate ideal.

Host for International Conferences & Events

Ethiopia is a founding member of numerous international organizations which formulate laws that affect inter-state relations and serve as forums to oversee respect for the rules which govern international engagement. It is the conviction of Ethiopia  that international organizations play an irreplaceable role in ensuring peace and the primacy of international law as well as in strengthening cooperation between countries. It is these same organizations that have also provided the forums in which Ethiopia has been playing by the rules in the present globalized world. This is where Ethiopia, along with other countries in similar conditions, takes into account the rules of the international game as well as the interests of others.

Ethiopia's role in, and cooperation with, the United Nations is one pre-eminent element of the country's engagement with international organizations. Ethiopia is one of the only two African founding members of the United Nations Organization set up following the end of the Second World War; the other being Liberia. And ever since the creation of the UN, Ethiopia has been committed to the organization. The principle of collective security at the heart of the UN charter has particular significance for Ethiopia as this was seen as an improvement on the failed attempts of the League of Nations to bring world peace. The League of Nations of which Ethiopia was also a member was of course the organization that preceded the UN, and history remembers the failure of the League of Nations to live up to its obligations when Ethiopia was attacked by fascist Italy in the run up to the Second World War. Emperor Haile Selassie's famous speech admonishing the League for its failure to assist Ethiopia was later to haunt many in the international community. This indeed was one of the major reasons behind the adoption of collective security and the cooperation that formed the basis of the UN charter.

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