SA forges partnership with Ethiopian defence

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Pretoria - South Africa and Ethiopia are expected to sign an agreement aimed at strengthening cooperation in matters of defence.

Defence Minister Charles Nqakula departed for the Horn of Africa country on Thursday for a two-day visit where the Agreement on Defence Cooperation between South Africa and the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will be signed.

Through the agreement, both countries will work towards developing and formulating procedures for military cooperation between their respective armed forces, promoting the training of military personnel through the exchange of trainees, instructors and observers and promoting technical cooperation.

This will also include cooperation in the field of military medical services, cooperation in the exchange of knowledge and training in the field of United Nations and African Union peacekeeping operations and encouraging the exchange of military personnel at all levels to enhance sport and cultural links between the Armed Forces of the two countries.

According to a statement, in 2004, Ethiopia joined forces with South Africa during their peacekeeping operations in Burundi.

The agreement will also seek to promote close cooperation, mutual understanding and collaboration between the two countries in matters of defence, including in peace operations of the African Union and the United Nations.

The department said Ethiopia is one of the major role-players in the Horn of Africa region and as such South Africa views this agreement as strategic in the context of peace, stability and development on the African continent.