Friday, 3 May 2013

Ethiopia-France| Pres. Hollande, PM Hailemariam – Joint Press Briefing

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne made its first bilateral visit out of Africa this week to France, where he met French President Francois Hollande at Elysee Palace, in Paris.
Here is a transcription of the joint press statements of the two leaders on Friday.
[The original text was published in French (on Elysee Palace website) - translated by  Google, then further edited to make it comprehensible.]
THE PRESIDENT: Ladies and Gentlemen,President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne - Joint Press Briefing
I received this morning the Prime Minister of Ethiopia and Chairperson of the African Union, which will celebrate its 50th anniversary in Addis Ababa in a few weeks.
I attach high value to the intervention of the African Union in conflicts which, unfortunately, concerned not only Africa but the whole world.
I want to emphasize the special role of Ethiopia for the resolution of these conflicts. Including, Ethiopia’s commitment to the Sudans to reconcile their views,  facilitate dialogue and help the two countries establish the best possible relations.
I also want to point out the necessary intervention of Ethiopia, in an international context, in Somalia to help that country, which saw a destabilization for too many years, to find security.
I also know Ethiopia’s role throughout Central Africa, with us, to find a solution in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and I am pleased that the MONUSCO could be strengthened in its mandate to and the United Nations to ensure greater protection of the population in this part of the DRC.
I also thanked the Ethiopian Prime Minister, Chairman of the African Union for its support which was given us in the intervention of France in Mali. And we agreed that now is the time for the United Nations, as part of an operation to maintain peace, to ensure that not only Mali can not regain its sovereignty, integrity, security, but also secure its future. The Security Council, will discuss shortly, and we, Ethiopia and France, will be united in what will be committed to Mali as part of an operation to peacekeeping.
We also discussed the bilateral relations between France and Ethiopia.
First, I have said this several times, including my speech in Dakar, at the Senegalese National Assembly. I have confidence in the economic development of Africa. Africa is a continent of the future. Africa is a continent of growth. Africa is not just an accumulation of significant natural resources. It is not simply a population, a young population. Today, Africa is a set of countries that have made the effort to develop and which will now access technologies. Ethiopia is one of the most dynamic countries in Africa having long been in a situation of poverty caused by conflict.
France must invest in Ethiopia. This afternoon, there will be meetings between Ethiopian Prime Minister and French companies. French companies are present particularly in the field of energy and infrastructure. But we must do more. The level of our trade is not up to what we expect from France and hope for the development of Ethiopia.
We also agreed to intensify our cultural relations and I welcome what has been decided for the future of high school that was not only safe but at the same time, permanent. Because the French language must also be worn in countries that have so far another linguistic tradition.
We have also strengthened our relations in defense and hope to develop our cooperation on tourism. We will do everything possible to ensure the presence of French business in Ethiopia and also promote tourism because Ethiopia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world, with France!
Finally, we discussed the issue of security in many African countries.
ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you Mr. President.
I am happy and I thank you for the invitation. Invitation to visit you in France at this important time. I am very pleased that we can strengthen the cooperation between France and Ethiopia, as well as the African Union and Africa.
Thank you very much, Mr. President, once again, for this invitation. I totally agree with what the President said. This is actually the spirit of the discussions we had this morning. We talked about a number of issues of concern to both Africa, France and Ethiopia, including France and Ethiopia bilaterally.
With regard to peace and security is very important for Africa. We welcomed and thanked France for its support to peace and stability in Africa, especially at this time in Mali and the Central African Republic. And the support of France in other parts of Africa, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia and its role in the pacification of the Sudan and South Sudan. These are important areas of cooperation for us with France.
The African Union is also very committed to climate change. We want to work with France in this respect in the organization, including the 2015 meeting on climate change. France has really worked for this issue of climate change is so important to Africa. Africa, in fact, contributes very little to global warming.
We also discussed the issue of the Nile, the river that runs through a number of countries, which is the largest in Africa. We are neighboring countries and all the countries bordering use this natural resource. In this regard, I told the president that the Nile could be enough for all of us that we could cooperate and find an approach that works for everyone. We can, indeed, use the Nile waters without prejudice to other countries, particularly Egypt and Sudan, which are downstream.
I think a win-win solution is always the right approach and it is a new approach. In this regard, Ethiopia is quite determined to work closely with France, especially to find, once again, a win-win solution for the use of the Nile waters.
In addition we also talked about the fact that Africa is not only perceived as a continent facing conflict but Africa actually has a face that can show the world that Africa is growing. Of the ten fastest growing economies in the world, seven are in Africa.
During this century, economic attention should really be focused on Africa and I invited the president that French companies to invest in Africa and especially in my country where the opportunities are many. We attach great importance to investors who wish to come to our country.
We also have a democratic process, respect for human rights, which we are very attached. And we also want to provide better living conditions for all.
Mr. President, I fully agree with your remarks about the course cooperation between our two countries and I thank you.
[Questions from media]
QUESTION: I represent a Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. My question is to the president: On investment in Ethiopia, are there mechanisms to encourage French investment and different types of activities in Ethiopia?Second question: you are one of the countries that supports development activities in Ethiopia through different programs. In general terms, are you satisfied with the performance shown by Ethiopia?
THE PRESIDENT: France is no longer a traditional aid approach. France participates in projects. It responds to calls for tender. It supports investments that can create the infrastructure for development and growth. Thus we look Ethiopia.
I will make the French companies to meet all bids and ask for French companies to be fully able to meet all the needs of the Ethiopian economy. Regarding public support, there is what the French Development Agency and there are also a number of loans that we can provide. Regarding export financing, we will ensure to French companies are in the best conditions.
To summarize my remarks, I believe that Ethiopia is among the countries which have great potential in terms of development, in terms of energy especially. I hope that will be raised throughout the day in the meetings of the Ethiopian Prime Minister with French companies. There should be an increase in the level of our trade and our investment. Being the 11th or the 12th supplier of Ethiopia is not acceptable. It is not less than what France can do in this area and it will do more in the future.
QUESTION: There are many concerns about the skills of African ground troops in Mali, including a very marked from the time when France withdraw its troops concern that you announced a few weeks ago already … Is France is likely to reassess its withdrawal, slow pace and keep troops on the ground so that the situation does not change back to Mali? That is the question, and Mr. Prime Minister, I would like to know what is your perspective on these criticisms show that, even with a few months of training, would it be sufficient for African troops to secure the Mali?
THE PRESIDENT: France has not taken decision to withdraw regardless of the situation on the ground. Our withdrawal is linked to the situation in Mali. That is to say, when we liberated the whole country, most secure cities – the same all cities – we do not have to have the same presence. But at the same time, we must ensure that the troops, including African, will be able to be so effective, it will take time, where the training has been decided, and the role of Europeans.
It will take time, it requires logistics.  It will take time because it must also have a legal framework that we will do at the United Nations for the operation of peacekeeping. The withdrawal of France will be gradual and will depend on the situation because we want to ensure that terrorism will not return to Mali. But we have not finished. This is not because, though we eradicated, to a large extent, terrorism in Mali, a number of these terrorists took refuge in of other countries. And this is where we need the action of international cooperation, particularly in the context of deciding what the Africans themselves can do to ensure that terrorism does not resurface elsewhere.
ETHIOPIAN PRIME MINISTER: Thank you. I think we we should note that African troops have their own qualities and have their own advantages when it comes to work in Africa because these troops understand very well the situation on the African soil and African problems.
We also know that there are limits in terms of capacity of African troops, technical limitations, but we believe that with the support of the international community and using the advantages of African forces, through this joint effort. It is not for France to act alone or Africa alone, it is to act in concert. Our goal is to fight against terrorism through. The fight against terrorism is not a task of one country or another.
We all need, according to our methods and abilities, work together against terrorism in Africa and elsewhere. In this regard, we believe that with the support of the international community, the African troops can totally fulfill their mandate and provide this support.
Source: Official website of Elysee Palace – April 19, 2013.
Original text in French – translated by  Google, then further edited to make it comprehensible.

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