Minister Cowen following EU troika meeting with Ethiopian Prime Minister
Date: 6 Apr 2004
Policy Area: General Affairs and External
Content Type: Press Releases
The Minister for Foreign
Affairs today led an EU delegation in a troika meeting with the Ethiopian
Prime Minister Meles.
After the meeting, Minister
Cowen made the following remarks.
"We welcome the
opportunity to come to Addis to speak with Prime Minister Meles on the
current impasse in the Algiers Agreement. The EU and Ethiopia enjoy good
relations and a very constructive relationship on issues such as sustainable
development and poverty eradication.
Ethiopia is facing some
difficult decisions but the challenges posed by border demarcation are not
insurmountable. The EU stands ready to assist Ethiopia in finding a way forward
that will allow the decision of the Boundary Commission to be
We are disappointed at the
delay in border demarcation and that the rapid and constructive progress that
had been made under the Algiers Agreement has temporarily slowed down.
When we spoke with Prime
Minister Meles we reiterated the well known EU position that the decision of
the Boundary Commission is final and binding and should be implemented fully
and without delay. We understand that the issue of Badme is an emotive
one but we have urged the Government of Ethiopia to move forwards and not
backwards on the Algiers Agreement.
We welcome the openness of
Prime Minister Meles to dialogue on border demarcation and in particular we
are pleased to see Ethiopia engage with the UN Special Envoy, Lloyd
Axworthy. The EU believes that the Special Envoy has the primary role
in facilitating Ethiopia and Eritrea in resolving the current difficulties.
We have discussed ideas with
the Prime Minister on how Ethiopia can take some confidence building measures
which would allow for the progressive normalisation of relations with
The answer to the current
impasse lies solely with Eritrea and Ethiopia, but the EU stands ready to
help both of them in finding that answer."
Minister Cowen will travel to
Rwanda and Burundi on 7-8 April 2004. He will visit Rwanda tomorrow in
order to represent the European Union at the commemoration ceremonies which
the Government of Rwanda have organised to mark the tenth anniversary of the
genocide in that country which resulted in the indiscriminate killing of over
800,000 people in just 100 days.
Remarks by Minister Cowen
after Troika meeting with President Isaias of Eritrea