Rwanda and Ethiopia Sign Co-operation Pacts

Rwanda and Ethiopia
Meles Zenawi on a recent trip to Rwanda

Rwanda and Ethiopia on Thursday signed three bilateral agreements that will see the two countries boost ties in various areas.

The agreements included a document setting up Joint Permanent Commission to strengthen bilateral cooperation, a general cooperation agreement to shape and expand cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, education, health and other fields as well as another strategic partnership on issues of defence and security.

Rwanda’s foreign affairs Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo, and Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, signed the agreements on the margins of the AU Summit in Addis Ababa.

Under the general cooperation agreement, the parties reaffirm their commitment to the objectives and principles of the African Union, and undertake to further strengthen their bilateral relations and to this end, to shape and expand their cooperation in the political, economic, trade and investment, scientific, educational, health technical and other fields on the basis of the principle of sovereign equality of states.

The documents sets the agenda for cooperation in the areas of culture, literature, art, press, radio, television, cinema and sports, and exchange of experience for the purpose of a more profound understanding of the life, work and achievements of the peoples of the two countries.

Under the Strategic Partnership Agreement, the parties will cooperate in areas including the fields of diplomacy, defense and security affairs; economic and social affairs like investment and education.

Trade and investment will be through cooperation in creating conducive environment, business reforms and customs cooperation, trade and investment information sharing, among others.

There will be cooperation in education in areas of science and technological research, physical education and sport; experience sharing in the promotion of female and child education; promotion of alternative basic education; and others.

Defence and Military Cooperation will include military training, education and technical cooperation; sharing of peace keeping experiences and building peace support operation capabilities; and others.

Meanwhile the Rwanda-Ethiopia Permanent Ministerial Commission shall have the mandate of monitoring and reviewing bilateral cooperation between the parties in accordance with existing and future bilateral agreements; promoting and coordinating cooperation as well as exploring further areas of cooperation of mutual interest.

Mushikiwabo said: “The signature of strategic cooperation documents is timely and necessary; it will indeed go a long way in formalizing an effective cooperation framework which will further deepen our relations.”

“Our experts, during the recent Kigali meetings, explored as many cooperation areas as possible, in different sectors such as Trade and Investments; Agriculture, Defense and Security; Infrastructure, among others. Sector agreements in the above areas will in due course be completed by our respective sector Ministries.”