Ethiopians Celebrate National Day [Archives:1998/22/Law & Diplomacy]

June 1 1998

The Ethiopian community in Yemen has on Thursday, May 28, celebrated national day – the 7th anniversary of the establishment of democracy and constituional rule.
A party was held at the Ethiopian Embassy Compound to mark this happy occasion. The celebrations were attended by several senior Yemeni officials, foreign ambassadors, and a large number of Ethiopian and Yemeni personalities and prominent figures.
On this occasion, Anwar Al-Sayyadi of Yemen Times met HE the Ambassador of Ethiopia, Mr. Teketel Forssido, and filed the following interview.
Q: How do you evaluate the present Yemeni-Ethiopian relationship? Will this relationship be further strengthened in the future and how?
A: The Yemeni-Ethiopian relations have completely changed, since the new democratic governments were established in both countries. I can say with full confidence that a new chapter in the relationship was opened following the visit of the then Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Yemeni (the present Prime Minister), Dr. Abdulkarim Al-Iryani to Ethiopia.
Both Yemen and Ethiopia have free-market economy policies with the free and fair participation of private investors. Due to this reason, they agreed to implement the memorandum of understanding signed in 1992 to promote bilateral cooperation in the economic, social, cultural and trade fields.
Q: What are the major democratic developments in Ethiopia today?
A: The Government of Ethiopia has several democratic policies, and as a result devolution of power from the centre to the regions (states) has provided the various nationalities with opportunities to be responsible for their administrative affairs within their own regions.
Strong administrative and judicial bodies have been organized on democratic foundations both in the Federal Government and in the regional states, which have enabled the country to have durable peace and stability. At the establishment of the rule of law and good governance, the country now is engaged in economic development endeavors that increased the infrastructure development, health and educational facilities improvement, agriculture and food production, trade, tourism and increased investment, activities.
Q: What is the position of Ethiopia regarding regional issues?
A: Ethiopians have the characteristic attitude towards peaceful co-existence with all their neighbors at all times. As the country is the home of different nations and nationalities, it boasts of the proud and historic unity in diversity. The friendly attitude of Ethiopia towards its neighbors originates from its own internal values. It is our committed intention that we live in peace with all our neighbors, and thus one can see the role of Ethiopia today in both local and regional issues.
Regarding the Hunaish Island dispute, it is Ethiopia’s intention that any boarder dispute, be it that of water, island, or any other, should only be resolved through peaceful negotiations. The Hunaish issue is now on the right avenue.
Hence, Ethiopia admires the position of Yemen which allowed the rule of law and peaceful negotiation in place of armed conflict.
With regards to the dispute that arose now between Ethiopia and Eritrea, our position is the same – peaceful negotiation.
Ethiopia still believes that the people of Eritrea at large would not like to go to war. If the Eritrean government has a civilized claim at all, there is a civilized way of solving the issue.
Q: What are the future plans of Ethiopia regarding the economy and attracting investors?
A: Building strong economy is our priority. We have all the basic resources for development. The country is endowed with natural and mineral resources, as well as fertile land. The fauna and flora of Ethiopia are rich and diverse. Rivers, lakes and other water sources provide the country with continuous water availability throughout the year. Old, historical and archeological sites provide additional resources for the development of the country.
With regards to attracting investors, we have the resources, we have a large population that is hospitable, hard-working and well disciplined. Second, we have attractive investment provisions for both domestic and foreign investment. The bid to make Ethiopia more attractive for investment is in high gear and it will continue so.
Q: How do you evaluate the current volume of trade exchange between Ethiopia and Yemen?
A: The volume of trade between the two brotherly countries has not been quite significant. This was probably due to the non-seriousness on the parts of the business sectors. The business community of both Ethiopia and Yemen did not consider the markets existing in both countries.
The population of Ethiopia is close to 60 million, while the Yemenis are close to some 18 million. You can imagine the volume of consumption of such a huge population. Therefore, it is high time that business groups, investors as well as trade and tourism operators pay serious attention to this matter. At present there are strong signals of increasing trade exchanges taking place gradually.
Q: Any last comment?
A: Since my arrival here in Yemen, I have been witnessing continuous growth in our relations. I have also seen more business development between our two countries. I would like to see these two countries to be definitely engaged in serious economic ties. But more so, I would like to see Ethiopia & Yemen play a visible role in the peace and stability of the region whereby such a role will be seen as exemplary for the rest of the countries in the region.