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The restoration of Ethio-Qatar diplomacy and the fate of Armed opposition groups?

Posted by Ethio Tribune on November 6, 2012

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia and Qatar resumed diplomatic and economic ties, the prime ministers of both countries said on Monday, ending a four-year row over claims that the Gulf state was backing armed opposition groups in the Horn of Africa.

“We are in a time where we can flourish and strengthen our relationship and our relationship is based on mutual trust as well as a good heart,” Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn told reporters after meeting his Qatari counterpart in Addis Ababa.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani

“Now we want to continue with this relationship for the future,” he added.

The two countries fell out in 2008, when Ethiopia’s late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi accused the Gulf Arab state of destabilizing the Horn of Africa by supporting armed opposition groups in the region, including in Ethiopia’s arch-foe Eritrea.

Hailemariam said the two countries would work together to boost economic ties, including allowing Qatari investors into Ethiopia, and would “work very closely” with Qatar to promote peace and security in the region.

Qatar Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem al-Thani said security was a priority for development in the Horn of Africa.

“We believe peace brings development, and these countries in this part of the world need a lot of development,” he said, adding that the high-level meeting between both countries was agreed when he met Meles in February.

The Ministers of Finance and Foreign Affairs from both countries signed a series of bilateral agreements after the two leaders met.

Eritrea broke away from Ethiopia and won independence in 1993 after a 30-year struggle.

The two countries fought a border war in 1998-2000, which left at least 70 000 people dead.

With an official growth rate of 11%, Ethiopia has one of the fastest growing economies in Africa and is luring foreign investors to boost its economy further, with the aim of achieving middle income status by 2025.

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