Ethiopia- Spain relations
Ethiopia - Spain
The main objective of any state in its relations with other states is to direct and influence these relations for its own maximum advantage; but at the same time it has the responsibility of formulating its foreign policies towards other states and managing its relations in the interest of global peace and security. The Government of Ethiopia believes that Ethiopia's foreign relations with the rest of the world should be directed towards creating an atmosphere to encourage market opportunities, investment, technical support and technology transfer as well as soliciting grants and loans to finance the country's development endeavors; eliminating, or at least, reducing external security threats; minimizing the negative effects of globalization; and resisting external threats and reducing vulnerability, with democratization being a key element. Following these basic foreign policy objectives, set since the establishment of the federal form of Government in Ethiopia, Ethiopia's foreign relations with the rest of the world, including Spain, have grown rapidly.
Ethiopia and Spain established diplomatic relations in 1951 and the opening of Spanish Embassy in Addis Ababa followed in 1962. The relationship between Ethiopia and Spain today, following the introduction of the current Foreign Policy Strategy, has seen steadily strengthening trends in all areas. The relationship has been consolidated by many high level visits. Recent visits to Spain by Ethiopian officials have included Prime Minister Meles in July 2010, Ato Seyoum Mesfin, former Foreign Minister in March 2009, and by Dr. Tekeda Alemu, former State Minister for Foreign Affairs in March 2004 and in July 2007 as part of the regular political consultations between the two foreign ministries. Visits by Spanish officials have included visits by Prime Minister Jose Zapatero in January 2010, Mr. Miguel Angel Moratinos, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in January 2008, and by Mr. Ricardo Martinez, Director General of "Casa Africa" (African House) in December 2008. During the visit of Ato Seyoum to Spain in 2009 an agreement on the mutual protection and promotion of investment between the two countries was signed.
Apart from the regular political consultation program between the Foreign Ministries of the two countries, Ethiopia values its relation with Spain. It regards Spain as one of its major partners for economic cooperation; Ethiopia is a priority partner country for Spain. A three-year (2008-2010) Development Cooperation Agreement was signed in January 2008 with an allocated resource of 30 million Euros. Ethiopia has also started to benefit from the 528 million Euros Spanish Fund, channeled through the UN system to developing countries to assist in the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.
However, trade and investment relationships between Ethiopia and Spain are not as strong as they might be. At present, Spanish investment in Ethiopia amounts to no more than 14.8 million Birr. Given the growing investment and trade opportunities now available in Ethiopia, and the traditional relationship that has existed for the last 60 years between the two countries, Ethiopia believes that this relationship could be strengthened and expanded considerably. Indeed, it is Ethiopia's firm belief that the bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement signed between the two countries on 17th March 2009 should encourage significantly greater Spanish investment in Ethiopia. Ethiopia, while continuing its own efforts to attract more investors of Spanish origin, would also like to see the Spanish Government taking additional measures to encourage its citizens to invest in Ethiopia. Indeed, having put in place the necessary mechanisms to encourage intensive investment, Ethiopia has made it clear it is ready, as always, to welcome any initiatives by partner countries, including Spain, to establish their own specific Industrial Zones in Ethiopia.
One of the main interests of the Government of Spain in the Horn of Africa is the stability of the sub-region to which it attaches great importance. Spain commits about 50,000 Euros per year to IGAD's capacity building program for peace and security. It should also be recalled that Spain recently took a commendable measure to allocate 30 million Euros over the next three years for the African Union's capacity building. These financial contributions are a clear testimony of Spain's interest to work with Africa and with the regional body (IGAD). Spain, through the EU and together with other members of the international community, is also actively involved in the fight against piracy and terrorism, elements in which Ethiopia, of course, continues to have strong involvement and a considerable stake; Spain has deployed naval units along the coast of Somalia and Gulf of Aden under the EU deployment against piracy since April 2009. Ethiopia remains strongly convinced that Spain will continue to work with Africa and with IGAD on issues of regional and international concern.
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