Tuesday 22 January 2019

Taoiseach meets with Ethiopian President as part of week long visit to Africa

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work. Photo: Laura Larkin.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar with Ethiopian President Sahle-Work. Photo: Laura Larkin.
Laura Larkin

Laura Larkin

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has begun his first day of his visit to Ethiopia with meetings with both the President and the Prime Minister.

This morning the Fine Gael leader met with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The newly installed Prime Minister has been credited with ushering in significant political reforms in the country since he became prime minister in April 2018, succeeding Hailemariam Desagln who stepped down amid civil unrest.

Prime Minister Abiy has moved to settle relations with Eritrea following years of poor relations in the wake of a war between the two countries. The border between the two countries is being opened and the PM also ended a state of emergency in the county earlier than planned. He has pledged significant political and economic reforms for the country and has appointed a gender balanced Cabinet. 

The pair met at the prime minister's office where the Taoiseach was greeted by a military honour guard who played a rendition of Amhran Na Bhfiann. Mr Varadkar was presented with flowers by 11-year-old Mahlite Bertokan.

Following the bilateral with the prime minister the Taoiseach travelled to meet with President Sahle-Work, the first ever female president of Ethiopia.

Mr Varadkar also held a round table discussion with NGOs this morning and will visit a number of projects during his visit which lasts until Friday.

The visit is designed to mark 25 years of diplomacy but it is expected the Taoiseach will also bid to shore up support for Ireland's bid for a seat on the UN Security Council.

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