H.E. Mr Meles Zenawi, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia visited India.
Prime Minister Meles Zenawi underscored Ethiopia’s keen interest to play a full role in the Forum of Federations in his speech to the 4th International Conference on Federalism in New Delhi, India. New to the Forum, Ethiopia is keen to draw lessons from other members with rich experience in managing federal government structures. The members of the Forum of Federations, which Ethiopia joined last year, are Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, India, Mexico, Nigeria and Switzerland, though there are 24 states in the world with federal constitutions. The high level Ethiopian delegation, which was led by Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, participated on the 4th Conference on Federalism which was held from 5th – 7th November 2007. The aim of the Conference on Federalism is to promote dialogue on the renewal and development of federalism and greater cooperation among practitioners in pursuit of good governance. Prime Minister Meles told the conference that a new democracy was taking hold in Ethiopia following the country’s adoption of federalism as a form of government. Ethiopia’s Constitution guarantees the sovereignty of the peoples of Ethiopia and enshrines the exercise of their right to nurture their languages and cultures and manage their own affairs through their elected representatives. Home to over 80 nations and nationalities with diverse cultures, Ethiopia hoped to gain a great deal from the course of the deliberations at the Conference convened under the theme "Unity under Diversity- Learning from each other". As an expression of its commitment to the success of the Forum, Prime Minister Meles announced Ethiopia's interest to host the 5th International Conference on Federalism. This was unanimously accepted by participants.
During his visit to India Prime Minister Meles held talks with Dr. Manmohan Singh. In their discussions in New Delhi, Prime Minister Singh expressed the desire of his government to strengthen ties with Ethiopia in the areas of trade and investment. He pledged Indian support to enhance development endeavors in Ethiopia, and help Ethiopia's effort to diversify export goods. Prime Minister Singh invited Prime Minister Meles to visit India for the India-Africa Conference taking place next year and to help boost India-Africa ties. Relations between India and Ethiopia have steadily been gaining momentum; there is a commitment by both parties to enhance cooperation in the spheres of education, trade and investment. Prime Minister Meles particularly commended Indian support for the education sector and for the expansion of the sugar industry, where India has made available US$ 640 million in loans. He assured his Indian counterpart of Ethiopia's resolve to promote Africa-India cooperation. Prime Minister Meles also met other Indian officials and held talks with the President of the Indian National Congress Party, Mrs. Sonya Gandhi.