The Emir of the State of Qatar, HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Al Thani, and his accompanying delegation arrived in Ethiopia on Wednesday evening for a two days state visit.
He was received by Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn with a ceremony at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa.
He was accompanied during his visit by HE the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani and high level official delegation.
After a session of official talks chaired by HH the Emir and Prime Minister Desalegn at the presidential palace later the day, the two heads of states witnessed the signing of agreements and memorandum of understandings in the field of culture, education, higher education and Scientific Research, Qatar Airways flights services, the encouragement and reciprocal protection of investments, avoidance of double taxation and prevention of fiscal evasion with respect to taxes on income.
Ethiopia broke relations with Qatar in 2008 following allegations of Qatar’s unreserved support to arch-foe Eritrea and armed opposition groups in the Horn that opposed the government in Addis Ababa.
However, on the sidelines of the London Conference on Somalia in February 2012, the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi met with Qatari Prime Minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jabor al-Thani and agreed to re-establish relations by opening embassies in their respective capitals.
While Qatar’s unreserved relation and support to Eritrea still remains, the call to normalize its relation and the Emir’s willingness to pay a state visit to Ethiopia might have some positive implications for the future of Ethiopia-Eritrea relations.
Five days prior to Ethiopia visit, the Emir invited President Afwerki of Eritrea to Doha and hold a series of discussions on bilateral ties and issues of mutual concern to both countries, according to Qatar News Agency.
For a country whereby every diplomatic success represents a little more recognition of their increasingly important role as negotiators, bringing an end to the 15 year old border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea will be Doha’s biggest diplomatic success.
However, a carefully crafted statement by the foreign affairs ministry, after the Emir departs Addis Ababa, overshadowed such optimism
The statement states that Prime Minister Desalegn praised the Emir’s strong cross-border initiatives for global peace and stability. The statement adds, although Qatar has shown tremendous efforts in bringing peace to the troubled region of Darfur, Prime Minister Desalegn rather underlined that African problems are better left for Africa, to be able solved within the African context and under an African umbrella.
Looks like Ethiopia is more interested on Qatar’s investment and aid money than its support towards easing the unresolved border problem with neighboring Eritrea.
Because, it says that is an African Problem.