Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen begins his four-country tour of East Africa in Tanzania today.

Demeke Discusses Bilateral, Regional Issues with Tanzanian Leader

ADDIS ABABA – Deputy Premier and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen held talks with Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu as he begins a four-country tour of East Africa today.

The two sides discussed bilateral and regional issues during the meeting in which Demeke conveyed the message of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) said in a statement.

The Pretoria Peace Agreement, the current situation in Sudan, illegal migration and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) were among the issues discussed, according to MoFA.

Demeke explained the implementation status of the Pretoria peace deal and the efforts that the Government has been undertaking to solidify the peace process.

In response, the Tanzanian President appreciated the Ethiopian Government initiatives in solidifying the peace process.

The President also expressed her country’s keen interest in strengthening relations, notably in aviation, tourism, and culture.

The discussions also covered the GERD construction project which has been a source of diplomatic standoff between Ethiopia and downstream nations Egypt and Sudan.

Deputy Premier Demeke noted the need to resume the African Union-led tripartite negotiations.

The trilateral talks have been stalled since Egypt and Sudan circumvented the AU-led process and took the issue to the UN security council a year ago.

Addis Ababa says only good faith negotiations could resolve the dam dispute, stating Ethiopia’s commitment to the AU-led talks “guided by the maxim, African Solutions to African Problems”.

In Tanzania, Demek rebuked the unnecessary intervention of the League of Arab States that issued a “biased resolution” backing Egypt over the dispute.

FM Demeke and President Suluhu also spoke about the current state of affairs of Sudan in the meeting during which he reaffirmed the Government of Ethiopia’s readiness to extend all necessary support to resolve the problem peacefully.

The two parties also agreed to jointly combat illegal migration and human trafficking.

In connection with that, Demeke asked the President for better treatment of Ethiopian illegal migrants who are found in Tanzania’s prisons.

At least 2500 Ethiopian migrants were repatriated from Tanzania in the past few months, and the remaining will be repatriated soon, the foreign ministry says.

Th Foreign Minister’s ongoing East Africa trip includes visits to the Union of the Comoros, Burundi, and Uganda.

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