President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues, friends. I am delighted to welcome all of you here.
First of all, of course, I would like to congratulate you, Mr Prime Minister, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize. This is a well-deserved acknowledgement of your valuable role in the Ethiopian-Eritrean settlement and your country’s efforts to stabilise the overall situation in East Africa.
I appreciate your and your delegation’s participation in the first Russia−Africa Summit. At the beginning of our conversation, I would like to note that Russia and Ethiopia have enjoyed very warm relations for many-many years. The history of the diplomatic relations between our states is over 120 years long. Russia actively helped Ethiopia to defend its independence in the early 20th century. Many of our distinguished compatriots have connections to your country, including poet Nikolai Gumilev and scientist Nikolai Vavilov. A long time ago, in 1898, a Russian hospital was opened in Addis Ababa that was the first medical facility in Ethiopia and operated for eight years. It was succeeded by a hospital of the Russian Red Cross Society that exists up to this very day.
Our economic ties are developing consistently – although, of course, as I said at the plenary session with the business community today, our mutual trade is too small and, of course, befitting of neither Russia nor Ethiopia. We absolutely must and, I hope, will do much more than what we can see today.
Our countries are partners on the international arena, including for the benefit of ensuring sustainable peace on the African continent. In this context, I would like to note the role of the Intergovernmental Development Organisation where Ethiopia is presiding at the moment.
We are satisfied with the level of cooperation between our countries in the UN General Assembly. We appreciated your long-term support and, in some cases, co-authoring Russia’s resolutions for the UN General Assembly.
We are delighted to see you here in Sochi. Welcome, Mr Prime Minister!
Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed: Mr President, it is a great pleasure to meet with you today for the second time. And thank you for the warm welcome accorded to and my delegation.
I would like to thank the Government of Russia for always standing alongside Ethiopia when it was forced to defend its independence and sovereignty. We acknowledge Russia as a key partner in our development in the world and Ethiopia wants to further strengthen this cooperation.
Mr President, I would like to inform you about the reform we have been undertaking in Ethiopia. Our economic reform has paved the path for the development of home-grown reform agenda. Our plan is to make the country one of the top five economies in Africa within the next decade. Privatisation of state-owned sectors, including telecom, sugar industry, many more are underway to privatise the public sector.