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Welcoming remarks by the Speaker of the House of People's Representatives of Ethiopia, Hon. Abadula Gemeda Dago at the 26th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly, 25 November 2013

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Your Excellency, Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Hon. Joyce Laboso, Co-President of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly
Hon. Patrice Tirolien, Vice President of the ACP-EU JPA
Mr Alhaji Muhammad Mumuni, Co-Secretary General of the ACP-EU JPA
Mr Luis Marco Aguiriano Malda, CO-Secretary General of the ACP-EU JPA
Fellow Parliamentarians
Distinguished guests
It is with great pride that the people of Ethiopia join me in welcoming you all Parliamentarians, delegates and special guests to Addis Ababa participate in the 26th session of the ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to you on behalf of the House of People’s Representatives of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia for choosing our country to host this important meeting at this moment. We are also profoundly honoured by East African countries for their unanimous support, which is the manifestation of trust and confidence they have placed upon our country Ethiopia to host this important Assembly.
Ethiopia is not only a cradle of humanity, where mankind began to walk upright, but also gifted with ancient and diverse cultures, great hospitality of its people and 13 months of sunshine. So you are all welcome to Ethiopia, your ancient ancestors’ home and where you originally belong.
Your Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemen
This formal opening sitting will feel the absence of the Honourable Louis Michel, the EU Co-president of the Joint Parliamentary Assembly whom I understand is unavailable on account of some more pressing official international engagements to do with Africa. As parliamentarians, we have a lot to learn from this great friend of Africa, a principled and sincere politician that stands firmly to strengthen the ACP-EU partnership.
Your Excellencies
Ladies and gentlemen
Ethiopia is the home of more than 80 Nations, Nationalities and people with more than 70 languages and different religions. Our constitution is the aspiration of these Nations and Nationalities to live in peace, harmony, equality, Democracy and rule of law for the realization of one Political and Economic Society. Based on the above aspiration, the Ethiopian People have embarked on a system capable to accommodate diversity.
The attainment of rapid economic growth, democratisation, good governance and peace became fundamental to the survival of Ethiopia. Thus, Ethiopia has followed the path of sustainable economic development to eradicate poverty. According, we have exerted maximum effort to achieve consecutive double digit economic growth and became one of the fastest growing nations in the world. We have also achieved alto in building Democracy, Peace and Good Governance.
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen
AS you all know, over the years, ACP-EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly has exhibited progress as an effective instrument of parliamentary cooperation to fend off challenges of development in the Member Stats, notably in the ACP countries; as well as promoting human rights, democracy and the common values of humanity. Let us therefore, never underestimate what we have achieved so far. Our record of success should give us courage to ace the future with hope and confidence.
Your Excellency PM Hailemariam Desalegan
Ladies and Gentlemen
Advancing democracy is one of the commitments of the ACP-EU partnership agreement. The ACP-EU is a forum of diverse nations, cultures, traditional and values with the common bond of democracy. So it is important to appreciate cultures and values of each country where democracy has been rooted, or is growing. Democracy will truly flourish when these differences are best understood and respected in all or dealings with each other.
Our common concern becoming broadened as we are facing threats from climate chance, desertification on agriculture and food security, terrorism, human trafficking and economic crises, etc., regardless of our economic status, population size and other factors Our partnership is essentially vital to take collective action based on the principle of sovereign equality for the betterment of our interdependent world in social, economic and political spheres.
Finally, I wish you a very fruitful deliberations and progressive resolutions. I also invite you to take some time to visit and witness the unique heritages and hospitality of people of Ethiopia “Where it all began”.
I thank you.

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