Countries of the Horn of Africa

When we speak of relations with other countries, we should first speak of our neighbors in the Horn of Africa; namely: the Sudan,Eritrea, Djibouti, Somalia, and Kenya. In this world so closely interconnected through globalization, civil society has started to play a more important role in relations between countries. Religious organizations, professional associations and NGOs have been building links with fraternal organizations all over the world and are striving to spread the benefits of globalization around. In this way, they contribute to development and the building of democracy. They are becoming new forms of inter-country interchange. The government should take note of this growing phenomenon and encourage and even help coordinate Ethiopian civil society so that one's interests and security are respected. It is when we strengthen our networking, when we seek the widest participation, and when we play a key coordinating role that we can build our capacity to deliver what is needed to protect our interests and security. These countries have long standing links with Ethiopia in such areas as language, culture, history, natural resources, and so on. Changes in Ethiopia affect them directly, and what happens to them has an impact on us. There are rivers that connect us and have a direct bearing on our development. This is particularly true of Sudan, Somalia and also Kenya. Ethiopia is landlocked,while all our neighbors have ports that can provide services. We need to consider our strong ties with our neighbors and chart out the appropriate policy towards them. 1.1 General Policy The relations we have with a given country or group of countries is based on the protection of national interests and security, and as such, is linked to our democratization and opment goals. Our relations with countries in the Horn, therefore, should be seen from the vantage point of how relations could help us promote our agenda of democracy and development. With our eyes firmly on fundamental national interests, we need to draft a policy on the basis of a sober analysis of the value and role of these countries vis a vis our own interests. possibilities fully and as the region develops, opportunities will grow. But in the present day context, the role of investment, trade and development finance originating from our region, on our development is quite limited. As regards natural resources, disagreements of differing degrees might be expected to arise with the Sudan, Somalia and Kenya. However, the capacity of our neighbors to utilize water resources is low, and our assessments indicate that the basis for conflicts of interest is not sound. The Horn countries can neither be obstacles for our utilization of water resources nor can they assist us to do so. Ethiopia has had a history of both friendship and hostility with these countries in the Horn, and there is a risk of being guided by emotion in assessing the value of our neighbors. There could be the tendency to exaggerate or minimize their influence of our neighbors in our effort to develop and democratize. It is important to be free of emotions in analyzing the situation. Our neighbors have ports and we do not, and as we develop, the need for efficient service rendering ports will be important. Port service provision is to the mutual benefit of both the provider and the recipient of the service. In fact, if some of our neighbors were not to provide port services to Ethiopia, the damage to their economies would be substantial. Therefore, if seen from the economic and mutual benefit point of views; port services would be provided steadily and predictably, and that is the way it should be.

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