Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (2 May) prior to his departure for Ethiopia and Tanzania:
I am looking forward to my first trip to Africa as German Foreign Minister. We have close and special relations with many African countries. These relations are important to us and we want to foster and expand them.
We value the role of the African Union and African regional organisations in conflict prevention and peacekeeping. That is why we are one of the African Union’s closest bilateral partners and why we seek close exchange, especially on the topics of peace and security and as regards our cooperation at global level.
Despite the ongoing state of emergency in Ethiopia, the latest signs of reconciliation provide grounds for optimism. I will use my talks with the Government and representatives of other parties and civil society to encourage Ethiopia to launch the reforms that will bring the country lasting stability, internal peace and development.
In Tanzania, I will meet school pupils who are learning German at one of our partner schools. In a frank discussion with the Government and opposition, my aim will be to convey that lasting economic development is fostered by political and economic freedom and the rule of law. And above all, 100 years after the end of the First World War, I would like to remember the African victims of this war, who all too often are forgotten in Europe.