Italian Deputy FM arrives in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa, 4 July 2014 (WIC)  – Italy's Deputy Foreign Minister Lapo Pistelli arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday for talks with Ethiopian officials.

The Italian diplomat is expected to meet with Ethiopian State Minister for Foreign Affairs Berhane Gebrekirstos for talks on bilateral relations and other issues of mutual concern.

In a statement on its webpage, the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry described relations between Ethiopia and Italy as "historical".

Trade relations between Ethiopia and Italy have continued to expand rapidly since 1997.

The volume of trade exchange between the two countries reached 3.8 billion birr in 2009, from only 1 billion birr in 1997.

The trade balance, however, remains firmly in Italy's favor with Ethiopian exports amounting to 561 million birr in 2010 and imports from Italy reaching 3.21 billion birr.

The main commodities that Ethiopia exports to Italy are coffee, hides and skin, while imports include manufacturing goods and construction equipment.
On Wednesday, Pistelli visited Eritrea and met with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki. (AA)