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We met today and confirmed the strategic relationship, 40 years strong, between the European Union and Ethiopia in promoting economic growth, enhancing peace and security in the region, managing migration and mobility and strengthening the foundations of democracy and inclusivity.
In this regard, we have agreed to elevate the level of our relations into a "Strategic Partnership". We will start a regular dialogue at foreign minister level, steering political dialogues that will include new areas of common interest and more regular meetings at ministerial level.
We recognised that our strong development cooperation should be supported by more private sector engagement. The EU already being Ethiopia's first trading partner, we are determined to enhance our economic relations by upgrading the existing EU-Ethiopia Business Forum and promoting investment from Europe into Ethiopia, creating more jobs and growth.
Migration is an issue that is of concern to the region, where Ethiopia is host to so many refugees, and for the European Union. We agreed on the principle of a Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility and have made considerable progress on its text that will guide our cooperation in this area. We agreed to work in particular together on tackling migrant smuggling and human trafficking, to support the reintegration of returned migrants, to support Ethiopia in its hospitality for refugees from neighbouring countries and to strengthen resilience of most vulnerable communities. We look forward to presenting the Joint Declaration on the Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility at the upcoming Valletta Summit.
Ethiopia's contribution to peace and security in the region, particularly the peace process in South Sudan and the state building in Somalia, was acknowledged. In this regard, we are determined to continue coordinating our efforts and to extend support through the African Union and the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD).