ADDIS ABABA – China stands ready to strengthen practical cooperation with Ethiopia in various fields, its Foreign Minister said.
The Chinese State Councilor and Foreign minister Wang Yi held a phone conversation with Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, on Wednesday.
The discussion has touched upon a range of issues from economic cooperation to the response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Wang said China and Ethiopia are each other’s comprehensive strategic cooperative partners, and bilateral relations have gone through tests and become stronger over time.
In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, he said the two countries have helped each other and deepened their friendship.
China is ready to continue close coordination and cooperation with Ethiopia in international affairs and safeguard the common interests of the two countries and other developing countries, Wang added.
Demeke, on the other hand, appreciated China’s strong support to his country in fighting the coronavirus and Ethiopia is committed to advancing the China-Ethiopia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership to a new level.
They also underscored that COVID 19 origin tracing should not be politicized but the matter should be handled following scientific procedures.
Ethiopia firmly opposes Western interference in other countries’ internal affairs under the excuse of human rights, he said.
China too opposes external interference
Demeke also spoke about the security situation in northern Ethiopia during the conversation saying TPLF, a group designated as terrorist by Ethiopian parliament, is escalating the conflict by invading the neighboring Amhara and Afar regions.
“The unwarranted invasion has left many civilians dead and displaced, as well as destroyed private and government-owned property,” he said.
Chinese FM said his country firmly supports Ethiopia’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty and independence, and believes that the Ethiopian government has the capacity and wisdom to properly handle its internal affairs.
“China will adhere to its consistent position and oppose external forces interfering in Ethiopia’s internal affairs under the pretext of human rights,” said Wang.
China hopes that the international community will support the position of the Ethiopian federal government on realizing a comprehensive and lasting ceasefire, and effectively promoting its national reconciliation.
The discussion has also raised the issue of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Deputy Prime Demeke said Tunisia’s attempt to submit a bipartisan resolution to the Security Council for the second time is unacceptable.
He also expressed his confidence that China would continue to support the AU-led process over the matter.
In this regard, Wang reiterated his country’s unflinching commitment to supporting the African Union Framework to handle the GERD file.
The two sides also talked about Ethiopia’s homegrown economic reform, where Demeke called on China to support Ethiopia’s quest to be considered in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative under Common Framework for Debt Treatments of the G- 20 countries.
Wang said China, as a member of the G-20, would continue its support in making Ethiopia one of the beneficiaries of the Common Framework for Debt Treatment.
China also believes that the soon to be held Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be key to further strengthening the two countries’ overall cooperation.
The forum is expected to review the tremendous progress made in China-Africa cooperation over the past three years, and plan the vision of cooperation for the next three years.
“We hope to take this opportunity to strengthen practical cooperation with Ethiopia in various fields and inject new impetus into China-Africa cooperation,” Chinese FM Wang said.