The Ethiopian Prime Minister and his delegation arrived in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Friday to participate in the inaugural Saudi-Africa Summit.
This marks the first time that Saudi Arabia has organized the “Saudi-Africa” Summit, with sources indicating that the summit aims to enhance cooperation between African countries and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Arab news cited the Crown Prince as saying, “We are eager to develop cooperation, partnership, and trade ties and are pleased to announce the launch of the King Salman Development Initiative in Africa.” The primary focus is on strengthening cooperation and coordination in the areas of politics, regional security, and economic partnership.
Various summits for Africa have been organized by China, France, Russia, Turkey, and the United States.
Among the attendees at the inaugural Saudi-Africa summit are Djibouti, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, and Tanzania.
In his speech at the “Saudi-Africa” summit, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, “There is great complementarity in our development aspirations as adopted continentally in the AU’s Agenda 2063, in the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and in Saudi’s Vision 2030. We must deepen cooperation, placing development financing high on the agenda of Saudi-Africa cooperation to seize the economic advancement opportunities presented in these visions.”
The Office of the Prime Minister has announced that Abiy Ahmed met with the leaders of Djibouti and Somalia on the sidelines of the Saudi-Africa submit.
“On the sidelines of the Saudi-Africa Summit, I have conferred with my brothers President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti and President Hassan Sheikh Mohamed of Somalia on bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest,” the Prime Minister wrote on his social media page.
Abiy Ahmed’s recent claim over the Red Sea has caused tension and concern for a possible war in the region, particularly between Eritrea and Ethiopia. Abiy Ahmed stated that it is not right for Ethiopia to not have a say on the Red Sea issue and that access to the sea must be pursued by any means. Following growing condemnation from countries in the region, the Ethiopian government emphasized that Ethiopia’s pursuit of access to the sea is “peaceful.” The issue of Red Sea access has dominated state-owned media outlets in Ethiopia since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed made public his intention to access the sea.
In 2020, a regional council of the Red Sea Corridor was established, with Saudi Arabia and Egypt being the heavyweights in the group. The Council has eight member states: Djibouti, Eritrea, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen.
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