Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed arrived in neighbouring Djibouti on Saturday in what was his first foreign trip since taking office in early April 2018.
Abiy met with Djiboutian president Omar Guelleh with the two leaders discussing issues of mutual interest to their countries and the Horn of Africa region at large.
The Prime Minister is tasked with undertaking crucial political and democratic reforms in Ethiopia after over three years of unrest started by allegations of land grabs and widening into anti-government sentiments.
Former Prime Minester Hailemariam Desalegn quit to allow a new leader pursue the reform agenda promised by the ruling EPRDF coalition. SInce taking office, the 41-year-old has toured key regions across the country with a message of peace and promise to open up the political space.
Guelleh is however not the first leader he is meeting. Last week whiles attending the Tana Forum in Bahir Dar, Amhara region, Abiy met with Sudanese leader Omar al-Bashir.
A leading Ethiopian pro-democracy activist based in the United States, Jawar Mohammed, lauded the PM’s decision to visit Djibouti on his first foreign trip.
“The Prime Minester making his first foreign visit to Djibouti is great move. There has been a misguided belief both by ruling party and the opposition for long time that prioritizes diplomatic relation with Western and super powers over immediate neighbours.
“In reality we need our neighbours more than the far flung countries no matter how powerful and rich they are. There is more economic and security benefit from strengthening relation with neighbours. So good move,” he wrote in a social media post.