The 3rd Ethio-Switzerland Bilateral Political Consultation marks a new height of cooperation: State Minister Hirut

Ethiopia and Switzerland on Wednesday (February 28) held their 3rd round political consultation in Bern, Switzerland during which the two sides made an extensive exchange of ideas on how to further take the ties to a new high.

The High Level delegations led by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirut Zemene and State Secretary for Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) of Switzerland Pascale Baeriswyl made its central focus on bilateral as well as multilateral matters under two separate discussions.

The first session of the dialogue started with State Minister Hirut's briefing on the current situations in the country where she noted as countries invest heavily on education, health, infrastructure and other socio-economic services, the demand of the youth for a shared and equitable economic growth as well as better political space increases. This was what exactly engendered a political reform agenda and human rights issues, the engagement of the political parties in the democratization process of the country and release of prisoners in Ethiopia. She added anti-corruption efforts have been redoubled and measures to reform inefficient institutional working systems have been set in motion. Noting the move by the Government of Ethiopia as praiseworthy, State Secretary Pascale underscored the need to keep the reform of inclusivity to ensure the sustainable growth of the country and make best use of the recently reinstated State of Emergency.

Ambassador Negash Kibret urged the need to establish the Ethio-Swiss Business council to further propel the business ties to a new level. Mrs. Pascale noted she equally share the urgent need to establish the council and stressed on the need to further scale up collective endeavors to garner the many possibilities that lies untapped between the two countries.

Mrs. Laurence Roth, Deputy Head of Bilateral Financial Relations, explained the readiness to sign the agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation with only few procedures left to do so. Mrs. Hirut requested the Swiss side to expedite the process and expressed her hope that the Agreement would be signed as early as the beginning of summer 2018. Draft agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation has been

The two sides noted with satisfactions that after a series of discussions the Ethiopian Airlines could be able to start a direct flight three times a week to Geneva, Switzerland from June 3, 2018.

Albeit a weak implementation, the two countries have signed an agreement on scientific and technological cooperation. The Ethiopian side noted its Science and Technology Ministry is highly keen to reinforce collaboration with Swiss institutions in areas such as technology transfer, human resource capacity building, research and development and etc.

Switzerland is a partner of Ethiopia in federalism and governance. Recalling the visits by the Ethiopian House of Federation and Ministry of Federal and Pastoralist Affairs on several occasions, Mrs. Hirut commended the Swiss Government for its openness to share its experiences in Federalism and expressed her hope that it would further continue. The two sides agreed to establish a Joint Parliamentarian Council to give further impetus to the ongoing exchanges of experiences on Federalism and governance.

The two sides, on the second session, have held talks on multilateral relations and regional issues. As the non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, the Ethiopian side has shared its experiences and its activities at the UNSC. Switzerland has never been elected, to a non-permanent seat of the UN Security Council and its 2023/2024 candidacy will be its first time in its history.