News update: UAE leader Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed arrives in Ethiopia for state visit

PM Abiy welcoming Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed at the Bole International Airport. Photo: PMO

Addis Abeba – Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Abu Dhabi, arrived in Addis Abeba this morning for official state visit to Ethiopia.

Upon arrival at the Bole International Airport in Addis Abeba, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed was received by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and senior government officials.

“The growing relations between our two countries is rooted in deep mutual respect and a shared vision for mutual progress. We will continue collaborating in pursuit of sustainable development,” said PM Abiy.

This is the first state visit by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed since he first visited Ethiopia as UAE’s Crown Prince in June 2018, shortly after Abiy was selected as Prime Minister in April of the same year. During the visit, the UAE pledged to give Ethiopia a US$3 billion in aid and investments.

The two leaders are believed to have close relations. According to Addis Standard’s diplomatic sources close to the matter, the UAE and Ethiopia are expected to sign several agreements, including possibly financial support to Ethiopia.

During Abiy’s state visit to the UAE in January this year, the two countries signed agreements, among others, to develop solar power projects with a total capacity of 500 megawatts as a first phase, with the potential to developing up to 2000 megawatts of similar projects in Ethiopia.

A year earlier in January 2022, PM Abiy and his delegation including the ministers for foreign affairs and defense, paid a state visit to the UAE, where he was accorded an official reception by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, then the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.

In November 2021, relations between the two countries came under global scrutiny due to Ethiopia’s two-years atrocious war in the Tigray region after media reports revealed that the UAE had “opened an air bridge to provide extensive military support to the Ethiopian government in its fight against forces from the northern Tigray region.” The UAE has also supplied Ethiopia with Chinese-made Wing Loong drones.

The gulf state was seen as major part of diplomatic efforts by the U.S. to end the war. The U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Jeffrey Feltman, traveled to the UAE and Turkey in December 2021, during the deadliest phase of the war, “to discuss opportunities to support a peaceful, stable, and prosperous Horn of Africa,” according to State Department’s readout. AS

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