Ethiopia and Uganda agree a Strategic Partnership

Posted on 01/08/2011


On Friday last week, July 22nd, Ethiopia and Uganda established a Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC). Ethiopia’s delegation to the bilateral meeting in Kampala was headed by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ato Hailemariam, and the Ugandan delegation was led by the Honorable Sam K. Kutesa, Uganda’s Minister for Foreign Affairs. Other ministers and senior officials took part in the discussions.

In his opening remarks, Mr. Kutesa welcomed the delegation from Ethiopia and thanked it for coming to Kampala to establish the Joint Ministerial Commission (JMC). Ato Hailemariam expressed his appreciation to the Government of Uganda for hosting the meeting for the establishment of the JMC. Discussions covered a wide range of issues including defense and security, education, agriculture and food security, culture, gender, infrastructure, trade, investment, health, immigration, fight against terrorism legal and judicial cooperation as well as regional integration. The Ministers exchanged views on matters of regional peace and security with emphasis on the situation in Somalia and the outstanding issues relating to the Republic of South Sudan, as well as the fight against terrorism and the role of Eritrea in regional destabilization. 

The two sides expressed their willingness to diversify their relationship. The Deputy Prime Minister noted that there were many mutual benefits to be obtained from cooperation: “We have made considerable progress, but the challenge Somalia poses for our region and the continent at large remains centered on the activities of Al Shabaab, supported by various actors both in the region and beyond. We need to expand our joint activities because the situation in Somalia still requires serious and close attention. Somalia indeed would certainly be one of the issues that a strategic partnership would deal with”, he said. Ensuring the viability and freedom of the new state of South Sudan, he added, called for economic, political and security cooperation in the regional context. “Viable peace and security for South Sudan is critical to Ethiopia, Uganda and the whole region at large. Any setback to its stability will have a real impact on the region”.

At the end of the bilateral discussions the Ministers signed agreements establishing the Joint Ministerial Commission and a Declaration on Strategic Partnership, covering all the other areas where the Ministers agreed that the various sectors should develop, negotiate and conclude separate agreements and Memoranda of Understanding. These should cover the areas of Defense and Security, Agriculture and Food Security, Education, Health, Culture, Gender, Infrastructure, Water and Energy, Trade and Investment, Immigration, the Fight against Terrorism and Legal and Judicial Cooperation as well as Regional Integration, Peace and Security. Other areas which will fall under the agreed framework include exemption of double taxation, extradition, and the principle of reciprocity on immigration and visas. These will be worked out during subsequent detailed discussions and then ratified by the respective parliaments. 

Officials from the different sectors will be expected to report on the implementation of the respective agreements at the next meeting of the Joint Ministerial Commission, scheduled for 2013. In the meantime, to follow up progress and encourage full implementation of the decisions taken, the Joint Ministerial Commission agreed to convene a review session of senior officials of the relevant ministries before the next JMC meeting. This will be held in Ethiopia at a date to be agreed. The JMC also agreed that officials of the various sectors should remain in regular consultation on all matters of mutual concern.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Posted in: African papers