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Ethiopia, Turkey vow to boost bilateral ties

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) -- Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday met and held talks with Ethiopia's Prime Ministe Hailemariam Desalegn, pledging to deepen their bilateral relations in different fields.

During a press conference after their talks here in the capital of the East African nation, the two leaders said that they have discussed ways of deepening the bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Turkey.

They said the two countries are enjoying excellent relations with remarkable trade and investment ties.

The Ethiopian Premier noted that his country wants to see more Turkish investors, especially in light manufacturing sectors.

"We have been discussing issues of bilateral cooperation. We have excellent bilateral relations between our two countries. We want to deepen and strengthen this relationship. First of all our relationship in terms of trade and investment is remarkable," said Desalegn. "We want to see that more Turkish investors come to Ethiopia and invest, especially in light manufacturing sectors like textile and garment; and shoe and leather products, which is our comparative advantage; of course we have investors in construction materials production in my country," he said.

He also stated about interest of investment cooperation in terms of energy production and generation.

"Similarly, Turkey has been supporting us in infrastructure development, and we want to continue and deepen this infrastructure development engagement with Turkish companies," said Desalegn.

According to the Prime Minister, Ethiopia and Turkey want to raise the current trade volume between them of 400 million U.S. dollars to half a million dollars very soon.

"Trade and investment is now increasing; we agreed that we want to reach from the current 400 million U.S. dollars trade volume into half a billion dollars trade volume very soon within the agreement period," noted Desalegn.

"Similarly, we want to engage in WTO (World Trade Organization) negotiation bilaterally with Turkey very soon and our ministers will continue with that negotiation," said the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

The two sides have also agreed to work closely on issues of peace and security in the Horn of Africa, and in Somalia in particular, according to the Premier.

In this regard, Hailemariam said that the two countries work within the framework of IGAD (the Intergovernmental Authority on Development) as well as bilaterally for peace and security in the region.

They have also discussed ways of strengthening cultural exchanges, which in turn deepen the people-to-people relations between Ethiopia and Turkey.

They have also touched tourism sector and many other bilateral issues in their discussion today, according to the two leaders.

The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) Thursday for cooperation on science and technology.

The Turkish President expressed hope that the cooperation on the science and technology sector would be successful.

Stating that Ethiopia and Turkey have been enjoying frequent high-level visits, the President said that his latest visit aims at dwelling upon different bilateral issues including among others political, economy, cultural and trade related issues.

The President stated that Turkish investors are engaged in different sectors in Africa.

"It is a matter of pride and joy for us to see that the contracting companies of the Turkish origin are present in the African continent when it comes to infrastructure as well as the superstructure projects; not only that but also the Turkish companies seem to be very prevalent in the textile sector," he said.

"About the Turkish entrepreneurs perspective investing in Ethiopia, We have encouraged the field of energy to be a focal point. We will be able to guide our Turkish entrepreneurs to come and invest in the field of energy in Ethiopia, especially in the perspective of construction of hydroelectricity power plant in Ethiopia as water is an abundant source," he noted.

The two sides also held a business forum aiming at strengthening business ties between the two countries.

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