ADDIS ABABA – Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Marina Sereni has begun her three-day-long official visit to Ethiopia on Monday.
Sereni arrived in Addis Ababa on Monday morning for her first visit to Africa, leading a high level Italian government delegation.
The Deputy FM and her delegation plan to hold “political meetings” with senior government officials including President Sahle-work Zewde, and visit various projects undergoing with Italy’s support in Ethiopia during their stay, according to Italian embassy in Addis Ababa.
She and her team held their first meeting with Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, on the day of their arrival.
At the onset of the meeting, the Deputy PM Demeke thanked the government of Italy for its uninterrupted development cooperation with Ethiopia, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
He also appreciated the outstanding construction works of “We build”, a construction firm formerly known as Salini Impregilo, in Ethiopia.
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam construction project is among the projects the company is currently involved in the country..
During the meeting, Demeke also briefed deputy Foreign Minister Sereni on the current situation in his country.
He described all of the positive measures that the government of Ethiopia has been undertaking to peacefully end the conflict in northern Ethiopia and establish long-lasting peace in the country, said MoFA in a statement issued after the meeting.
The federal government’s decision to withhold its troops from entering the Tigray region, the release of high-profile political figures from prison, and the formation of the Dialogue Commission to pave the way for national consensus were among his briefing points.
Demeke also stressed Ethiopia’s commitment to peace, mentioning the federal government’s ongoing effort to act according to the recommendations of the joint investigation of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office into alleged crimes committed in Tigray.
He said the government of Ethiopia wants the UN and the Ethiopian human rights institutions to conduct similar investigations into the atrocities committed by the TPLF in the Amhara and Afar regions.
In line with the concerns of the international community and the responsibility of the federal government, he explained all the efforts made to provide unfettered humanitarian access to the Tigray region.
However, “Despite all the encouraging steps taken by the federal government,” Demeke said the TPLF “failed to reciprocate and continued its provocative acts,” mentioning the recent attacks on Afar.
The Tplf has continued to massively recruit and train troops to further exercise its warmongering agenda on the neighboring regions disregarding peace efforts, he told Serine.
He said the International community, including Italy, should not be bought into the victimhood narratives of the TPLF that often use deception to conceal its anti-peace character.
Deputy Foreign Minister Sereni thanked Demeke for his briefing on the current situation in the country and for addressing the humanitarian and human rights concerns of Italy, expressing her appreciation about the encouraging efforts of the federal government to build peace in the country, reads MoFA’s statement.
Sereni further said Italy wants to keep on expanding its development partnership and diplomatic relationships with Ethiopia, an anchor state in the region.
According to MoFA, the discussion between the two sides was concluded in mutual understanding and pledges to further cement ties.