China, Ethiopia pledge to push for new progress in bilateral relations

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Addis Ababa, 5 May 2014 (WIC) - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and his Ethiopian counterpart, Hailemariam Desalegn, vowed here Sunday to strive for new progress in the development of the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership.

 

In his talks with the Ethiopian prime minister, Li lauded the profound traditional friendship between the two countries and the steady deepening of bilateral cooperation, expressing the hope that his visit will further consolidate China-Ethiopia friendship and steer China-Ethiopia and China-Africa relations toward new achievements.

 

Noting that strengthening bilateral cooperation serves the fundamental and long-term interests of both sides, Li stressed that his country stands ready to make concerted efforts with Ethiopia to maintain the momentum of high-level mutual visits so as to further cement mutual political trust.

 

The two sides, Li proposed, should prioritize cooperation in infrastructure construction and development of energy and resources while expanding mutual beneficial collaboration in such fields as light rail and highway construction.

 

Beijing supports Ethiopia's efforts in establishing special economic zones and industrial parks, and is willing to share experience with Ethiopia in this regard in an unreserved manner and transfer to Ethiopia industries and technologies that suit the development needs of local communities, added Li.

 

China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises and financial institutions to invest in Ethiopia's domestic construction, Li said, adding that Beijing hopes that the Ethiopian side will provide a better business environment and investment facilitation measures for Chinese firms.

 

Meanwhile, China is also ready to work with Ethiopia to boost cooperation in such areas as culture, education, health, technology and tourism, and enhance bilateral communication and coordination on major global and regional affairs so as to safeguard the legitimate rights of development countries.

 

For his part, Hailemariam extended a warm welcome for the Chinese leader, saying the comprehensive cooperation between Ethiopia and China has promoted Ethiopia's economic growth and transformation.

 

Thanking China for its long-term, sincere and selfless assistance, he said Ethiopia is ready to further strengthen high-level engagement with China and work with China to map out a future strategic plan for bilateral cooperation.

 

Ethiopia, he added, welcomes more investment from Chinese enterprises and is willing to provide them with more facilitation measures. African countries will carry out closer cooperation with China under the frameworks such as the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, and join hands with China to play a more active role in global and regional affairs, he said.

 

After their hour-long talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several cooperation deals covering such areas as technology, industry, infrastructure and finance.

 

"I believe the cooperation between China and Ethiopia will bring real benefit to the two countries and two peoples," Li told reporters after the signing ceremony. "We are willing to see Ethiopia moving fast and steadily on the track of development and make greater achievements in its efforts of poverty reduction."

 

Hailemariam described his country's ties with China as "strategic," and hailed the development of bilateral relations over the decades.

 

China is the largest developing country and Ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economy in the world, he said, adding that the two countries share a "common destiny" and should work together to achieve common development.

 

At a joint press conference after the signing ceremony, Li pointed out that the destinies of China and Africa, which have always supported each other and treated each other as equals during the course of national liberalization and construction, are closely linked.

 

"We believe Africa deserves an important place and should have an important role in the international political landscape," said the Chinese premier.

 

Noting that China is the world's largest developing country and Africa is the continent with the highest ratio of developing countries, Li said the two sides are in pursuit of common development.

 

Cooperation between the Asian giant and the land of hope, he said, will not only bring forth mutually beneficial and win-win results, but also help promote world economic balance and inclusive growth.

 

China-Africa relations also feature exchanges and mutual learning in terms of civilization and culture, Li said, adding that respect and learning between different civilizations and cultures is conducive to diversity of world civilizations and multi-polarization.

 

Also speaking at the press conference, Hailemariam said Africa and China share a common destiny, noting that Ethiopia-China and Africa-China relations are built on mutual trust, mutual understanding and mutual benefit on an equal footing.

 

Ethiopia, he added, is ready to learn from China's development experience and continue to deepen bilateral strategic cooperation in the fields of politics, international affairs, economy and people-to-people exchange so as to uplift the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to higher levels.

 

Li arrived here earlier in the day for an official visit to the East African country, during which he is also to pay a visit to the African Union headquarters and deliver a speech there to expound on China's Africa policy.

 

The Horn of Africa country is the first leg of Li's four-nation tour, his first to the promising continent since he took over the Chinese premiership in March last year. He will also visit Nigeria, Angola and Kenya.

 

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