Calls for Ethiopia to join Arab League

Ethiopia should bolster its position within the Arab world, a conference in Addis Ababa was told on Monday.

According to Dr Hassen Meki, director of the Khartoum-based Institute of Africa, Ethiopia should promote greater ties and relations with its Arab neighbours. Speaking in Addis Ababa, he told a conference held to mark the Ethio-Arab cultural week, that Ethiopia should sign up to the Arab League.

Dr Hassen also said that Ethiopia and Sudan – with a combined population of 20 percent of the continent – should join forces to tackle poverty and end conflicts in the region.

“Instead of lamenting the situation of famine, civil war, western exploitation and poverty in Africa, why not contribute to the emergence of a new Africa by creating a successful model of integration between Ethiopia and Sudan?” he said.

“If Djibouti and Somalia are members of the Arab League, why not Ethiopia?” he added. "Ethiopia cannot escape its destiny.”

Dr Kinfe Abraham, president of the Ethiopian International Institute for Peace and Development which is hosting the conference, praised the historical links between Ethiopia and the
Arab world.

“The bond between Ethiopia and the Arab world is too strong and the history too deep to ignore,” he said.

The Nile River was one of the most important links between Sudan, Egypt and Ethiopia and a source of major benefits to all three countries, he pointed out.