Africa-Press – Ethiopia. Ethiopia and Cuba have plenty of opportunities to explore for further improvement of their peoples and I believe both countries, along with other African countries, will work together to the benefit of the people of both continents, Coordinator of the Democracy Building Center at the Prime Minister’s Office, Minister Alemu Sime said.
The Cuban-African Fraternity Night Program, co-hosted by the Embassy of Cuba in Ethiopia and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was held last night at Elilly International Hotel. Speaking on the occasion, the minister said that Ethiopia is eternally grateful to Cuba and its people for standing with “us on the defense of our sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
He recalled that Cuba had sent over 17,000 soldiers to rebuff the belligerent attack of the expansionist regime of President Said Barre in 1977.
“Their presence, along with Soviet troops and equipment, helped Ethiopia’s victory in the first war in 1978. In 1984, the ‘Tiglachin Monument,’ was inaugurated in Addis Ababa as a memorial to the Ethiopian and Cuban soldiers involved in the defense of Ethiopian sovereignty.”
Since then, the relation between Ethiopia and Cuba has remained solid. The Cuban government has maintained offering annual scholarships to Ethiopian students to study in Cuba, Alemu said, noting that more than 5,000 Ethiopian students have graduated from Cuban universities since the 1970s. Yet, “Ethiopia believes that there are plenty of opportunities for us to explore for the betterment of our people.
And I believe that Ethiopia and Cuba, along with African countries, will work together for the benefit of the peoples of both continents,” the minister stressed.
He pointed out that Cuba’s pursuit for independence was not only confined to its national territory, but also to a struggle waged against colonialism and all forms of injustices in Cuba and Africa. At the event, which also highlighted Ethiopia’s best experience and project ideas, Alemu cited the Green Legacy Initiative as a good response to a worrying trend of global warming and environmental.
The idea is believed to be transcending borders not only in the continent but all over the world as humanity is threatened by the challenges of climate change.
The minister noted that Ethiopia has been implementing Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s Green Legacy Initiative. “By mobilizing over 20 million peoples during the span of four years, over 22 billion tree seedlings have been planted across the country….. It is also worth mentioning that Ethiopia ranks third after China in the exercise of planting trees.”
Cuba’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Lefebre Nicolas said on his part that Cuba is indisputably linked to Africa because of the rebellious spirit and courage inculcated by African ancestors.
The ambassador particularly mentioned Ethiopia’s spirit of preserving the historical legacy of the nation and not allowing it to be dominated by foreign occupiers. Ethiopia has demonstrated heroism in Adwa and in many other battles over the last centuries by fighting until defeating the enemy or dying in the attempt, he noted.
Ambassador Nicolas also mentioned the large number of Cuban soldiers who had supported Ethiopia’s war to defend its territorial integrity against the foreign invader in the 1970s.
“In the conflict, the blood of young Cubans and Ethiopians was mixed forever, and make the ties between our two countries especially strong and emotional today,” he underlined.
The ambassador pointed out that Ethiopia is today defending and resisting unnecessary sanctions and punishments from the Western powers, which his country Cuba has been experiencing for the last 60 years. However, “Ethiopia will overcome these moments with intelligence and skill; and as yesterday, can count on the solidarity and support of Cuba.”
European and American Affairs Director-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Eshete Tilahun appreciated the role of Cuba in standing with Ethiopia in defense of its sovereignty in difficult time.
“Cuba has taught us what solidarity means despite borders, oceans and the depth of the horizon by shading blood for what they believed and falling side by side with Ethiopians.”
The director-general said Ethiopia believes that it is important to further strengthen “our existing relationship with Cuba by creating new initiative that will involve the youth.”
The diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Cuba date back to 1975.