Policy Principle: One of the many results of the Foreign Policy and National Security Strategy of Ethiopia is that it has created a predictably solid basis on which the country's foreign relations are based. Clearly spelling out the main challenges that the country faces, the Policy indicates the major areas of focus for the diplomatic activities of the government of Ethiopia. These diplomatic priorities have been clearly redefined on the basis of fundamental principles. It has meant that even the most historic of relations with countries that Ethiopia had enjoyed for more than a century are now anchored on a more sustainable basis. Indeed, by clearly designating poverty as the country's most formidable enemy and making the fight against it a priority, the policy has gone a long way in providing a much more solid foundation for Ethiopia's relations with the rest of the world, whether bilaterally or multilaterally.

Ethiopia's relationship with the United Kingdom is one that has seen both qualitative and quantitative improvement since the adoption of the country's Foreign Policy and National Security Strategy. Ethiopia has had historic relations with the United Kingdom for centuries. The two countries have had rich diplomatic relations in the past covering a range of areas, including, but not limited to, trade, culture, education and development cooperation. In fact, Great Britain is among the first few countries to open an embassy in Addis Ababa well over a century ago. Ethiopians, of course, will never forget the role that British forces played in Ethiopia's fight against fascism during the Second World War and the sacrifices they made in support of Ethiopia's independence despite the major complications with respect to ensuring Ethiopia's full and complete independence after 1941. Moreover, both countries went a long way towards putting differences behind them and working resolutely towards creating mutually rewarding diplomatic relations. This was strained after the fall of the last Emperor and faced a lot of challenges during the military regime, challenges that lasted until the coming to power of the EPRDF. Ethiopia's relationship with the UK today is among the most dependable, mature and mutually beneficial of any that it has with other countries.

The two countries have a lot of issues of common concern, forming a sound basis for relations at bilateral, regional and global levels. At a regional level, both countries want to see a stable and secure environment in the Horn of Africa. Both are keenly aware of the importance of working together to ensure peace and stability in the region in general and in Somalia in particular. Their partnership for peace in Somaliland, formerly British Somaliland, and the political and economic development there have been particularly significant. Both countries see the significance of the example that Somaliland can provide for a democratic, stable and peaceful Somalia, and even more widely.
On the global level, both countries have found common interest in issues ranging from meeting Millennium Development Goals to the campaign to check the deleterious effects of climate change. The leaders of both countries have been active in various global forums dealing with these issues. This has been particularly true of their partnership and cooperation in such global forums as the G8 and G20. This has created more opportunities for cooperation among developed countries on one hand and developing nations, more particularly African states, on the other. There is every reason to believe that these relations will continue. We would certainly hope so.

Equally, and more importantly, on a bilateral level their partnership has led to effective development cooperation that has shown increased expansion over the last decade and half. Great Britain is one of the most dependable partners in Ethiopia's fight against poverty as its expanding development support has clearly indicated. Ethiopia today is the second largest recipient of the UK's development support next to India. And out of the total development aid that Ethiopia receives from the UK, nearly 80 per cent goes to the provision of social services such as education and healthcare and other direct development-related activities. This should indeed be used as an example by others.

Successive governments in the UK have demonstrated a conviction that their development cooperation must bring about clear transformation in the lives of beneficiaries. The UK Development Cooperation Ministry uses what it calls the "Value for Money" standard to determine whether such correlation exists between support provided and outcomes registered in the recipient country. Ethiopia's pro-poor policies over the years have demonstrated that this is indeed the case. As a clear indication of the extent to which Ethiopia's pro-poor policies are in fact paying dividends, the government has made it clear that it will continue to work with the Ethiopian government in the various areas.

As the visit by UK International Development Cooperation Minister, Andrew Mitchell, showed, bilateral cooperation between the UK and Ethiopia is producing encouraging progress. Further cooperation is set to continue on an even firmer basis. As the Minister himself indicated, the UK's development cooperation with Ethiopia will continue to grow, despite the current financial crisis facing the UK, simply because Ethiopia's pro-poor policies are proving that they work. This is a testament to the efficacy of the right mix of policies that the government of Ethiopia has put in place following its prioritization of poverty as the country's number one enemy. Equally, on a more fundamental level, the relationship between Ethiopia and the UK is an excellent example of the level of maturity that any such relationship can attain if it is based on clearly spelt out and mutually beneficial principles. It isn't likely to face the kind of turbulence that can characterize relationships after a change of government. It is, after all, based on verifiable grounds including Ethiopia's proper utilization of UK development aid. Equally important, both countries share a common vision of the kind of well-ordered global society that can ensure social justice and eradicate poverty through the expansion of social services. This is exactly where relations between Ethiopia and the United Kingdom are paying off; and as Minister Mitchell indicated during his recent visit, there is every reason to believe that this will continue to be the case.