Prime Minister Hailemariam makes an official visit to Saudi Arabia

Prime Minister Hailemariam paid a two day official visit to Saudi Arabia on Sunday (November 20), during which he met and held talks with the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman Bin Abdulaziz, as well as with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif bin Abdulaziz, Deputy Premier and Minster of Interior, and other officials. The aim of the visit was to strengthen political and economic relations and to discuss a variety of economic, political and security issues as well as regional peace and development.

On arrival at the King Salman Air Base Airport at Riyadh, the Prime Minister was received by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif; Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the Governor of Riyadh; State Minister and member of the Cabinet, Usaed bin Mohammed Al-Aiban, and other senior government officials. The Prime Minister's delegation included Abraham Tekeste, Minister of Finance and Economic Cooperation; Siraj Fergessa, Minister of Defence; Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos, Special Envoy, and Sufian Ahmed, advisor on fiscal policy. The overall aim of the visit was to strengthen relations between the two countries in political and economic areas as well as encourage people-to-people relations.

The Prime Minister held talks with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif after his arrival, focusing on issues of the economy, trade, investment, terrorism and peace. The Prime Minister called upon Saudi investors to increase their investment in Ethiopia, particularly in agriculture, animal breeding and fattening, trade and leather industry. There has been a dramatic growth of Saudi investment in Ethiopia during the last two years. There are over 300 Saudi projects now operating in Ethiopia and investment between the two countries has reached SR 7 billion. These have created nearly 60,000 permanent and 190,000 temporary employment opportunities in Ethiopia. The two sides also discussed on how to co-operate on efforts to bring peace, security and stability in the Horn of Africa and the Middle East.

Following the talks, the Crown Prince hosted a lunch banquet in honor of the Prime Minister. Later the Prime Minister held meetings with Commerce and Investment Minister, Majid Al-Qassabi, and the Deputy Minister of Finance Hamad bin Sulaiman Al-Bazei. He also attended a reception hosted by Ethiopia's Ambassador to the Kingdom, Amin Abdulkadir and met members of the Ethiopian Diaspora. He met with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz on Monday (November 21).

During the visit, Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa, met with Ethiopian nationals and foreigners of Ethiopian origin from Riyadh and other areas, on Monday (November 21). He briefed the members of the Diaspora on the progress made in areas of peace, development and democracy as well as on the State of Emergency. He highlighted the hard work of the government in conjunction with the private sector and the people at large for development and noted the progress made in improving the livelihood of the people. The Defense Minister emphasized the State of Emergency was restoring peace in the country, and noted that the government was now responding to the demands raised by the people. The members of the Diaspora pledged to increase their contributions to the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and other ongoing development programs.