Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovenia Tanja Fajon visited Addis Ababa, invited by Ethiopian Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen Hassen. This was the first visit at foreign minister level and a significant step in strengthening bilateral relations between Slovenia and Ethiopia, as well as in the light of the forthcoming opening of the Slovenian Embassy in Addis Ababa.
“Although Slovenia and Ethiopia established diplomatic relations 31 years ago, I am the first Slovenian foreign minister to visit Addis Ababa,” said Minister Fajon. “I would like to see the two countries strengthen bilateral cooperation, which is one of the reasons for opening the Slovenian Embassy in Addis Ababa. In addition, Ethiopia has an important role to play in ensuring stability in the region,” she added.
The two parts also discussed cooperation between countries in multilateral forums and current international issues, including Slovenian humanitarian aid projects. Among the areas of cooperation, they highlighted artificial intelligence, technologies, tourism, student exchanges and the pharmaceutical industry.
The minister met with Minister for Trade and Regional Integration Gebremeskel Challa to discuss opportunities to strengthen trade cooperation, particularly in the field of beekeeping. Minister Challa expressed interest in Slovenia’s expertise in beekeeping and related modern technologies, as Ethiopia is home to six million bees.
Minister Fajon and Dr Lia Tadesse, Minister of Health, discussed the health reform in Ethiopia, where 80% of the population live in rural areas and the provision of primary health care remains a major challenge, as is minimising maternal and infant mortality at birth. Minister Tadesse welcomed the fact that the Ethiopian Medicines Agency has allowed the import of pharmaceutical products from Slovenia.
Minister Fajon briefed the high officials on Slovenia’s candidacy for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council. She also briefed about the Africa Day international conference in Slovenia on 20–21 April 2023, and the diplomatic conference to adopt the Convention on International Cooperation in the Investigation and Prosecution of Genocide, Crimes against Humanity, War Crimes and other International Crimes (MLA Convention), which will be hosted by Slovenia from 15–26 May 2023. If adopted, the Convention will be the first major international treaty in international criminal law since the Rome Statute.
Minister Fajon also met with the Minister of Women and Social Affairs, Dr Ergoge Tesfayo, and the Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat.
Ministers Fajon and Tesfayo agreed to cooperate in the empowerment of women.
“Especially in rural areas, the stronger role of women is associated with greater family well-being. For gender equality, we need solidarity among women in the world,” tweeted the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovenia.