Ethiopian PM to make first visit to France

4th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

ADDIS ABABA, April 4 (AFP) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will make his first official visit to France this month in a bid to boost French trade and investment in his country, officials said Monday.

ADDIS ABABA, April 4 (AFP) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will make his first official visit to France this month in a bid to boost French trade and investment in his country, officials said Monday.

Meles will be in Paris for meetings with French President Jacques Chirac and other senior French officials between April 14 and 16, according to the French embassy in Addis Ababa.

The Ethiopian foreign ministry said Meles would concentrate on economic issues during his trip and seek to boost bilateral trade with France which in 2004 amounted to only about EUR 50 million (USD 64.5 million) compared with about EUR 155 million (USD 200 million) between Ethiopia and China.

"One of the main purposes of the visit will be to strengthen the economic relationship between the two countries, achieve more markets for Ethiopian goods in France and have more French investment in Ethiopia," said Grum Abaye, director of the US and European office at the ministry.

"This will beef up the cultural and historical relationship we are already proud to have for more than a century," he told AFP.

Meles' trip will mark the first time since the reign of former emperor Haile Selassie that an Ethiopian head of government will make an official visit to France, officials said.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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