By Tesfa-Alem Tekle
February 16, 2013 (ADDIS ABABA) - Ethiopia and Britain have vowed to jointly exert more support to ensure durable peace and stability in the volatile Horn of Africa region after a meeting between the United Kingdom’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg, and Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, on Friday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.
- The UK’s deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg (Flickr / creative commons)
According to government sources, the two sides discussed ways they could aid ongoing efforts to improve relations between Sudan and South Sudan, stressing the need for Juba and Khartoum to resolve all remaining issues outstanding from the South’s independence and establish friendly relations to bring development to their peoples.
A year after landlocked South Sudan proclaimed independence in July 2011 taking with it 75% of Sudan’s oil resources, the newest nation halted oil production over a transit fee dispute with Sudan. Although the two neighbours last September managed to resolve the deadlock over transit fees, oil production remains pending due to border and security issues.
With regard to Somalia, the Ethiopian premier said that Addis Ababa and London have reached an agreement to work jointly towards enabling last year’s London conference on Somalia to contribute in ensuring peace and stability in the region.
With Ethiopia the current chair of the African Union (AU) and Britain the current president of the G-8, the two countries said they will work together on building democracy, improving human rights, as well as on socio-economic and political affairs in the Horn of Africa.
Clegg has also held discussions with Ethiopia’s foreign minister, Tedros Adhanom, on a number of common concerns. “We had a very candid discussion, very honest one and very fruitful. And we hope this will take our partnership even to a higher level,” Tedros told local journalists.
After the meeting, Clegg described the meeting as “positive” and said it covered a number of issues. “We also talked about the importance of working together to enhance commercial opportunities,” he added.