FDFA and FDJP delegation holds political talks with Ethiopia and the African Union in Addis Ababa

Bern, 06.09.2022 - On 5 and 6 September 2022, a delegation from the FDFA and FDJP held political consultations in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. The talks focused on the priorities of the Federal Council's Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24, the conflict in northern Ethiopia, cooperation in the migration sector, as well as the country's current drought and humanitarian needs. Talks were also held with the African Union.

Ethiopia is an important partner for Switzerland in view of its significance for the political stability of the region as well as its economic potential. Since 2014, a memorandum of understanding has been in place to conduct political consultations. This most recent round of talks is the fifth in this format. The discussions covered the broad range of bilateral relations as well as multilateral issues, including Switzerland's upcoming term on the UN Security Council. As regards the conflict in northern Ethiopia, the delegation expressed concern about the resurgence of violence after the recent positive developments that had followed the ceasefire, and stressed the importance of international humanitarian law and the protection of human rights. The talks also centred on strengthening economic and trade relations, cooperation in the area of migration and the country's enormous humanitarian needs, caused, among other things, by the historically severe drought crisis affecting the region.

Observer status at the African Union

Switzerland believes it is in its interests for the African Union (AU) to be strong and thus to be able to contribute significantly to peace, security and development on the continent. Since 2006, Switzerland has had observer status at the AU, and in 2016 it signed a declaration on cooperation in the field of peace and security. Within the framework of its Sub-Saharan Africa Strategy 2021–24, Switzerland pursues the strategic goal of further expanding this cooperation and thereby supports the AU's work to promote peace and security. The bilateral talks with high-ranking officials of the AU Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security and the AU Secretary-General also focused on strengthening exchanges between the AU and Switzerland in the context of Switzerland's term on the UN Security Council (2023–24).

The Swiss delegation was led by Ambassador Siri Walt, head of the FDFA's Africa Division. Representatives of the FDFA's State Secretariat, Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, the State Secretariat for Migration and the Swiss embassy in Addis Ababa took part in the political consultations.

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Federal Department of Foreign Affairs