MOHAMMAD RECEIVES ETHIOPIA’S PM
LEADER CALLS ON ETHIOPIAN DIASPORA TO DEVELOP RELATIONS AND INVEST IN THEIR COUNTRY’S FUTURE
■His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received Dr Abiy Ahmad, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, at Zabeel Palace yesterday. Ahmad later addressed 6,000 Ethiopians at Shabab Al Ahli Club in Al Aweer.
With promise of lasting peace anchored on economic progress, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad, who is in the UAE for a state visit, has called on the Ethiopian diaspora to forge ties and invest in their country’s future.
Addressing a crowd of around 6,000 Ethiopian expatriates yesterday at Shabab Al Ahli Club in Al Aweer, Ahmad — who spoke in Amharic and Oromifaa, the two main languages of Ethiopia — said: “I promise there will be a just and lasting peace in our country, where kids can play safely and the elderly can rest.”
An estimated 100,000 Ethiopians live in the UAE, with a large number of them employed as domestic workers, labourers and service staff.
“The diaspora will stop and Ethiopians will no longer be forced to migrate to other countries to work because we have made economic progress in our land,” added Ahmad, 43, who was awarded the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts in ending decades of internecine war between Ethiopia and neighbouring Eritrea.
‘Come back home’
The crowd met the prime minister’s message with chants and ululations as he continued: “I call on you [Ethiopians] to come back home soon. Invest in Ethiopia whatever way you can. You are our most valuable treasure. The umbilical ties between you and the motherland are strong,” Abiy underlined.
“The Ethiopia that we envision is a country where the future generation will enjoy the hard work we are doing today. They will go abroad not to work as labourers or domestic helpers but as professionals,” he added.
A large part of Ahmad’s speech was also dedicated to thanking the UAE and its leaders for being welcoming to Ethiopian expatriates. He also dwelt on the friendship and cooperation between the UAE and Ethiopia. He talked about ways to tackle issues of mutual interest.
Ahmad also told his people to take inspiration from the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, UAE’s Founding Father, “who developed a country based on mutual cooperation among peoples of various cultures.”
A son of a Muslim father and an Orthodox Christian mother, Ahmad also praised the UAE for its religious tolerance.
“Ethiopians are very closed with our Middle Eastern neighbours
because we share the same history with them.”
He noted that Ethiopia was the first country in history to accept migrant Muslims.
“When Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) saw his followers were persecuted in Makkah, he told them to find safe haven in northern Ethiopia, Abyssinia. It was the first hijra (migration) in Islam history,” he noted.
Ahmad, known as a devout Evangelical Pentecostal Christian, also said that Ethiopia is one of the oldest Christian states in the world.
He reiterated that Ethiopian culture values inclusion and cooperation. He stressed the need for lasting peace in the country, “there should be a social compact for Ethiopians to build a democratic and humane society.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmad’s photo and the colours of the national flag adorn ■ a screen at Shabab Al Ahli Club in Al Aweer yesterday.
Ethiopian expatriates soak up the moment as Prime Minister ■ Abiy Ahmad addresses the gathering at Shabab Al Ahli Club.