|Annual Nation-Wide Address (1971)|
|Wednesday, November 3, 1971|
|Forty years ago today, We established for the first time in the history of Our country the legislative branch of the government. While the tradition of counsel has always been a part of our national ethos, We brought into being this institution of counsel - the Parliament - as a vital entity and distinct part of Our Government, so that it will share a part of Our responsibility and deliberate on matters affecting the welfare of Our people and the progress of Our country. Over the years We have witnessed the growth and strengthening of Our Parliament. We have also witnessed the foundation We laid for democratic and responsive administration develop on an ever-secure base. And for this, praise be to the Almighty who has blessed our labours.|
The president of neighbouring Sudan, His Excellency Major General Gafar Mohamed Nimeiri has been to Ethiopia on a number of occasions and knows our country Well. And so today, we, all of us, are particularly pleased to have His Excellency the President here in our midst as Our Guest of Honour.
With the passage of time and as the Parliament becomes more mature, it is but natural that the increasing duties and responsibilities devolving upon you, Parliamentarians, demand far-sightedness and profound insight. It is thus proper that We should review here today some of the main achievements and performances of Our government during the past twelve months and indicate the highlights of its major plans.
The Ethiopian Church
One of the outstanding events of the year 1963 EC, was the elevation to the Patriarchal Throne on Ethiopian soil of the second Ethiopian patriarch.
In accordance with Our Canon Law, His Holiness Abuna Theophilos was elected Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Church by an overwhelming majority The historic ceremony was conducted for the first time on Ethiopian soil on May 8th, 1971, in the august presence of religious leaders and delegates from Alexandria, members of the Oriental and Eastern Orthodox Churches, and invited guests from other religious denominations. We are gratified that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church has finally become the master of its own destiny and that the spiritual life of Our people is keeping pace with the material advancement of the nation. As We declared at the ceremony, We consider the effort We exerted to enable the Ethiopian Orthodox Church to stand on its own feet and to establish its independence, as one of the most fundamental contributions We have made for the over-all development of Ethiopia. Glory to the Almighty for enabling Us to witness the fruits of Our labour.
There is nothing as precious to man as a sound mind in a sound body. And it is essential that the physical well-being of our people merits as much attention as its spiritual welfare. In this respect, considerable attention is being paid to the promotion of public health. Most of the diseases which affect the health of the Ethiopian people can be controlled through preventive measures. That is why the public health programme drawn up by the Government leans more towards preventive measures. At the same time, however, curative measures directed towards adequately caring for the sick were never lacking. Many health stations and clinics were opened in various parts of the country in 1963 E.C, in accordance with the plan to strengthen the rural public health service. Various public health institutions were also strengthened financially and materially. Hospitals currently being built in Arba Mintch, Asbe Teferi and Bale Goba are expected to be completed and to render full medical services within the next two years. Over 500 Ethiopians who completed various courses of study in the different medical professions and vocations in 1963 E.C, are rendering meritorious services to the people by working in the country's medical institutions as physicians, pharmacists, health officers, nurses, medical inspectors and in other capacities.
There was an outbreak of cholera in some parts of Ethiopia at the beginning of the year 1963 E.C. The Ethiopian Government successfully combatted the epidemic and speedily brought it under control by mobilising its human and material resources and by judiciously utilizing the assistance rendered by international organizations. Thanks to the effective measures taken to control the epidemic in a relatively short period of time, the World Health Organization has designated Ethiopia as a cholera-free zone. The exemplary spirit of cooperation on the part of Our people and other organizations in this remarkable endeavour deserves to be highly commended.
We recall that the Malaria Eradication Service was established in Our country many years ago. In like manner, a three-year programme aimed at eradicating smallpox for Ethiopia was launched in 1963 E.C, in accordance with the plans of operation formulated after making a thorough study of the situation. And now, medical and public health personnel specifically designated for this operation are vaccinating people in all provinces. It is hoped that smallpox would be eradicated from Ethiopia within the coming few years.
The existence of a skilled and trained manpower is an absolute precondition for the progress and development of any country. And that is the reason why, among all the programmes initiated by Us for promoting the best interests to Our people, the expansion of education has always received the highest priority.
Our Government has formulated plans whereby educational opportunities would be made available to all and everyone, because life without learning is barren and meaningless. It is in pursuit of this sacred mission that within the limitations of available resources, elementary, secondary, and vocational schools were opened in every province.
Eighty-four fully equipped academic and comprehensive secondary schools were built at a total cost of $28 million, financed by government revenues and the first part of the educational project loans made available by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (the World Bank) . The second part of the educational loans from the World Bank will help finance the construction of additional secondary school's teacher training college and expand the existing high schools within the present year. It is estimated that the initial cost to construct, expand and equip these educational institutions will be $32.5 million.
Through the joint efforts of the Ethiopian Government and people and the assistance of the Swedish Government, an additional 874 classroom units of elementary schools were built in 1963 E.C.
It is encouraging to note the steady growth in the number of students enrolling and graduating from our institutions of higher learning. The Municipal Technical Training Institute, built through the assistance of the French Government, and which We were pleased to inaugurate last year, is bound to provide a new impetus for the continued expansion of higher education in accordance with existing plans.
The rate of educational development has been growing at an ever-faster pace and the student population has increased considerably. It is thus essential for the number of teachers, classroom units and the vital school equipment to keep pace with this increasing enrollment. Accordingly, the funds allocated for the improvement and expansion of education for 1964 E.C. show an increase of 27 percent over those allocated for the same purpose during 1963 E.C.
It grieves Us that the availability of educational opportunities falls short of Our expectations. The few who are fortunate enough to benefit from these limited opportunities and yet fail to make the best use of their time should regret the opportunities they are squandering. Obviously, such an unfortunate state of affairs cannot but grieve Us.
Therefore, it is the sacred duty and responsibility of students and parents to see to it that the mistakes of the past are not repeated and that time which should be devoted to the pursuit of learning is not wasted by students heedlessly, following the instigation of a few misguided trouble-makers who have yet to understand the value and true meaning of education.
Studies on the manpower resources of Ethiopia have been conducted to determine the kinds of skilled manpower required to accelerate the pace of the country's economic development. The studies indicate the number of workers of different skills and vocations currently engaged in various fields of national endeavour and forecast the quantity and the quality of the labour force which would be required for the period covering the Third and Fourth Five-Year Plans. The studies would help to harmonize the vocational training programmes of the country with the required manpower needs in such a way as to guide our country's economic development along the most efficient lines.
An essential pre-requisite for the harmonious progress and development of a country is the existence of an atmosphere of cooperation and sympathy between management and labour. Coordination of efforts and a spirit of mutual cooperation between the two parties help to promote not only their own interests but also stimulate the economic and social development of the country. It has been found prudent to revise the Labour Law of 1963, in order to enhance the economic development of the country by fostering the spirit of mutual cooperation between management and workers. The draft of the revised Labour Law will be submitted to you for your deliberation.
. . .Unemployment is harmful - it harms and damages the unemployed himself, his nation and his country. Employers should strive to create more jobs. Workers should do their work with diligence and vigour. These twin attributes are the cornerstones for progress.
A government cannot single-handedly stimulate, to the desirable extent, the economic growth and social development of a country. It is also indispensable for the people to prove, through concrete hard work and in a spirit of self-help and self-reliance, that they are ready to find satisfactory solutions to their manyfold social problems. The efforts being made by the people to promote the cause of self-help by pooling their resources to tackle their common problems and by following the counsel and directives of community development workers, have proved to be of vital assistance to the plans drawn up by the Government in the fields of social and community development.
Cooperatives established in various parts of the country have proved to be of considerable service and assistance to a large number of rural communities. It is our fervent hope that these cooperatives will continue to grow and expand.
The base of the economy of Ethiopia is agriculture and livestock. And this is duly reflected in the Third Five-Year Plan which accords the highest priority to the development of agricultural resources.
Regional agricultural projects and provincial agricultural schemes are steadily growing, based as they are on improved and productive practices.
We should like to mention in particular Ethiopia's pioneer regional comprehensive package project - the Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit (CADU). An agreement was signed last year with the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) under which CADU will be able to expand its activities and continue to render its services for the next five years. Ethiopia is greatly indebted to the Swedish Government which has agreed to bear the $18 million required for the project. This assistance will enable the Chilalo Agricultural Development Unit to render its vital service, not only throughout its own proper province, but also in the surrounding districts. During the past year CADU has rendered vital service to low income farmers, in particular by providing them with better-grade improved seeds and marketing facilities. These services are expected to grow and expand further during the next twelve months. The agricultural development work going on in the Awash Valley region is already showing good results.
During the year in review, another agricultural development package project established in Wollamo province distributed farmland and helped settle some three hundred farmers. It also created a number of marketing centres and provided various agricultural services to over 3500 farmers.
In accordance with a loan agreement concluded with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (World Bank), an agricultural development scheme centred at the Setit-Humera region was initiated last year in northwest Ethiopia.
The agricultural development projects and centres established earlier in Awassa and Arba Mintch have also shown satisfactory results. These agricultural projects are providing an invaluable service to the surrounding rural communities by training and guiding farmers and farm hands, by distributing better seeds and pesticides and by providing marketing outlets, in addition to the productive development ventures in which they themselves are engaged.
Plans are also underway to launch another agricultural development package project in Shashamane to be financed through loans and assistance made available by the government of the United States of America . The draft law of this loans was presented to you for approval last year. A similar project for Adwa is also planned. It is also hoped that another agricultural development package project would be established in eastern Wollega during the present year through an assistance to be provided by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany. Similar schemes are envisaged for other parts of the country.
Various agricultural development schemes were launched in 63 districts of the country in 1963 E.C., in cooperation with the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA). These schemes comprise 43 agricultural experimental stations in all the governorates-general, comprehensive modern farming centres in nine of the governorates-general, agricultural demonstration stations in six of the governorates-general, and agricultural credit-granting centres for the purchase of fertilizers in five provincial districts. The establishment of these institutions had provided a much needed impetus for the economic progress of Ethiopia by strengthening the country's agricultural base.
In the field of animal husbandry, livestock breeding centres were established last year in selected and favourable sites in each of our governorates-general. The world demand for meat is growing from year to year. In order to meet some of this demand, the campaign launched in collaboration with friendly countries and international organizations to eradicate veterinary diseases from our country was put on a more ambitious scale during the past year. During the same period alone, some 15 million head of cattle were vaccinated against various veterinary diseases. This was partly made possible through the production of over 20 million doses of vaccine at the Debre Zeit and the Asmara veterinary institutes. The vaccination campaign will proceed on an even larger scale during the present year. The Southern Ethiopia livestock breeding and pasture project has been considerably expanded. The area designated as pasture land is extensive and the project is bound to enhance the economy of the country.
An independent dairy organization capable of producing and distributing the dairy needs of Addis Ababa and the surrounding areas was also established in 1963 E.C., through loans secured from the World Bank. The establishment of this dairy industry is expected to obviate within a short time the shortage of milk in Addis Ababa and its surroundings. Studies have been made to establish similar but medium-sized modern dairies in various provincial centres during the present year.
In the development of forest resources, an urgent afforestation programme was launched in the northern and eastern regions of the country, particularly in Eritrea, Tigre, Wollo and Hararghie, in an effort to reclaim part of the country's vanished forestry. Many millions of various seedlings were planted within the past year. This urgent and pressing task will continue unabated.
Nine out of every ten Ethiopians earn their livelihood from farming and livestock breeding. And agriculture is the cornerstone of our country's economy. Sustained efforts are being therefore made in the development of agriculture not only to make the country self-supporting but also to produce sufficient farm surplus for export. As a result of these efforts, the methods of farming are being improved and these improved farming methods are achieving better and ever-increasing yields.
The soil of Ethiopia is a fertile soil. And it is loyal and dependable. Given but the proper attention and care, the Ethiopian soil remains, however much it is tilled, a dependable source of livelihood and dignity and wealth. It is thus ill-advised and indeed unreasonable to abandon the honourable and rewarding livelihood of farming in quest of other forms of employment in urban areas. A renewed dedication and diligence in farming would surely be a venture of more rewarding and lasting value.
It is not only that Ethiopia is ideal for the development of agriculture but the preponderant majority of its people also happen to earn their livelihood from farming. Draft legislations aimed at accelerating the tempo of agricultural development have been therefore prepared, following a thorough study of the existing systems of land administration and tenure in the various governorates-general.
One of these legislations is aimed at defining the relationship between landlords and tenants and its draft was submitted to your last year. The spirit of the draft law is based upon the traditional sentiments of mutual understanding and sympathy, indeed the familial concern, that exist between landlords and tenants. Animated as it is by this traditional spirit of mutual concern, the intent of the draft law is to define the rights, duties and responsibilities of tenants and landlords; to ensure a fair and equitable share of returns for both parties; to have a written agreement or document specifying their obligations; and to provide an incentive for a sustained increase in the income of both parties by establishing on a legal basis the traditional and customary system. It is Our hope, therefore, that the deliberations you have already started on the draft law would come to a successful conclusion during the current session of Parliament, leading to its promulgation.
A draft proclamation designed to improve the law regulating the registration of immovable property and a bill relating to the taxation of unused land will be submitted to you during this year.
We would wish therefore to impress upon you that you deliberate on these two major bills as soon as they are submitted and eventually adopt them.
The adoption by Parliament of these three draft laws relating to reforms of the system of land tenure would increase Ethiopia's agricultural productivity and enable our country to become the granary of the Middle East.
It may be recalled that in addition to the directives We had issued enabling those Ethiopians who do not own land of their own to be in possession of one, pilot resettlement schemes were initiated on Crown lands in Wollamo, Arba Mintch, and Bale. We have now issued directives for the expansion of the resettlement programmes on both Crown and abandoned land based on the experience gained from the pilot schemes.
It is vital that the economy of Ethiopia, which is based on agricultural produce, be strengthened by an intensive exploitation and efficient exploitation of mineral resources. A systematic geological survey is thus being conducted to determine the existence and extent of mineral deposits, particularly in those areas which are considered likely to possess mineral resources. A systematic geological survey, now being conducted by the Ministry of Mines, has indicated deposits of copper in the vicinity of Asmara. A concession for the exploitation and marketing of these mineral deposits was granted to the Nippon Company of Japan and it is hoped that the outcome of this venture would be satisfactory. The search for other mineral deposits and petroleum still goes on.
The geological mapping survey of the northern provinces has been completed. A similar survey of the Rift Lakes region is proceeding at an accelerated pace.
Various friendly governments and international organizations have been requested to participate in the exploitation going on to determine in the shortest possible time the qualitative and quantitative deposits of minerals in Ethiopia. The Canadian government is providing technical assistance in this field. The first study team has already started the survey with a view to investigating the mineral deposits in the Omo valley which encompasses the governorates of Illubabor, Kaffa, Gamu Gofa and parts of Sidamo. The technical assistance, provided by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany, is helping in carrying out the geological and cartographic survey of Hararghie to determine its mineral deposits. The geological ground survey, made in Northern Ethiopia by the Ministry of Mines, has been confirmed by an aerial photographic survey conducted by the British Government.
At the same time the preliminary survey of mineral resources in Wollega and Sidamo conducted in collaboration with, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been completed. In response to Our government's request, the United Nations Development Programme has agreed to continue its technical assistance programme for another three years. This will make it possible to carry out a thorough investigation of mineral deposits in the two regions. Moreover, hydrological survey of the thermal springs in the Danakil, the Awash Valley and the Rift Lakes region, which is being conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme, has made a good start.
The rights of foreign and local investors in prospecting for mineral is safeguarded by the Mining Law of 1963 E.C., the draft of which was discussed and approved by Parliament. We therefore once more extend an invitation to local and foreign investors to particular in the exploration and development of our country's mineral resources.
The expansion of industrial establishments to process the yields of agricultural and mineral resources and the growth in the volume of both internal and external trade through an efficient system of marketing are some of the fundamental pre-conditions for the economic development of a country. In this regard the efforts made by Our Government to achieve these desirable goals are indeed considerable.
In addition to the expansion of existing enterprises, twenty-eight new industrial enterprises were established during the past year. These establishments are food processing, textile, plywood, paper and pulp and metal factories. It is estimated that the value of the gross output of Ethiopia's industrial establishments during the same period is over $467 million.
The tyre factory under construction in Addis Ababa on the Debre Zeit road and the large tannery being built at Ejersa in the district of Koka are expected to begin production within the present year. The total investment in these two industrial establishments, financed from governmental budgetary sources and loans, is expected to be over $44.5 million.
The industrial concerns established last year and those being completed have created employment opportunities for many people. The expansion of Ethiopian industrial establishments serves the two-fold purpose of increasing the industrial labour force as well as the volume of manufactured commodities and is therefore of special significance. Thus, the economy of our country will be further strengthened and unemployment cut down, leading to an equitable share of the wealth which the Almighty has bestowed on our country.
The laws of foreign and domestic trade enacted following the deliberation and approval of Parliament are expected to accelerate the pace of commercial activities. A draft legislation relating to the control of commercial activities has been presented to you. It is expected to be enacted following your deliberation during the current session. The aim of the bill is to eliminate unfair trade practices, to supervise and control the price situation, the retail trade and monopolistic institutions, to prohibit improper advertising and to make it possible for trade marks to be registered. The bill should therefore be given the due consideration it deserves.
The standardization of consumer goods helps to safeguard the interest of consumers and to ensure the availability of foreign market outlets for the commodities . An institute in charge of Standards and Measurements has now been established and the relevant draft legislation vesting it with the requisite powers will be shortly submitted to you.
The Laws relating to standard weights and measures and the control of the insurance business are being implemented and have already proved of great help in safeguarding the interest of the public.
Banking and Trade
The National Bank of Ethiopia has achieved satisfactory results in making banking services accessible to the entire people, by making available to government and private organizations loans needed for industrial and commercial purposes, and by maintaining a favourable balance of the country's foreign exchange reserves. It shall receive Our continued assistance to help strengthen it further.
Members of the rural population are becoming more and more conscious of the intrinsic value of savings and investments and are realising the importance of banking services. It is therefore heartening to note that during the past few years, branch banking offices have been opened even in the smaller provincial towns of the country. This is indeed encouraging for the plans We have drawn up for the economic progress of Ethiopia.
It is a well-known fact that Ethiopia's foreign exchange policy adheres to the free-trade system. Ethiopia's foreign exchange payment during the past year was excessively high but we hope that the state of Ethiopia's foreign exchange reserves will not adversely affect the country's trade development. It is difficult to speak with any degree of certitude of the international monetary system as a result of the suspension of the standard exchange rate between the American dollar and gold. But international trade is inextricably linked with the prevailing monetary exchange system and everv possible precaution will be taken to obviate trade dislocation.
Transport and Communications
The existence and expansion of an efficient system of roads and communications constitute the fundamental basis for the development of communal activities. Considerable efforts have been made, therefore, to build highways and feeder-roads, improve harbours and airports, and to establish an effective and efficient network of telecommunications and postal services.
Various installations were erected during the past year in the ports of Massawa and Assab. Storage facilities, a quay and roads were built in the Massawa harbour and a new water supply system was installed in Assab. In like manner, new mooring facilities were built on the shores of Lakes Abiata and Chamo. The Ethiopian Shipping Lines is only six years old. But in that short period of time, this young maritime institution has rendered invaluable services by transporting on its own ships the goods and produce of Ethiopia to international markets.
In the field of air transport, expansion work directed to lengthen and strengthen the runways of both the Addis Ababa and Asmara airports and the installation of other modern facilities to enable many types of jetliners to land or take off at all times is nearing completion .
Additional telephone exchanges were installed in Addis Ababa and in provincial centres in the course of the past twelve months. Radio-telephone links were also established where the extension of conventional lines to certain areas was not found to be feasible. At the same time radio-telephone and telex links were established with various countries. All in all, an investment of over $9.5 million was made during the year in review for the improvement and expansion of telecommunication services.
The improvement of several inter-urban roads was also carried out. In accordance with the plans drawn up earlier, additional highways and feeder roads were built to facilitate matters both for the farmer and the trader in marketing their wares. The expansion of the network of highways and feeder roads will proceed according to plan.
Power and Irrigation
The hydrological survey of the most important rivers is still going on with a view to harnessing the abundant and God-given water resources of Ethiopia for power and irrigation. Among the hydrological surveys completed is that of the third Awash Hydro-Electric Power Station which began operation during the past year. The $75 million Fincha Hydro-Electric Power Project now under construction is expected to go into operation within the present year. When completed, this project would be capable of doubling the present total power output of the Ethiopian Electric Light and Power Authority.
The $10 million Mai Nefhi Dam Project at Asmara which will be completed this year will meet the water requirements of the residents of Asmara. Various efforts have been made over the years to ensure that those urban areas which have water shortage are served by an adequate supply of water. Feasibility studies of water supply systems for Shashemane, Ho-saana, Ginir, Lekempt, Jijiga, Kobo, Dangla and Axum have been completed. A loan agreement which would enable the construction of water systems for these urban areas has been signed with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany and the loan agreement will be duly submitted for your approval. Studies for the remaining other towns will continue to be made and steps will be taken in stages to solve their water supply problems.
Additional wells were drilled in various rural areas which have shortage of potable water. The drilling operation will continue according to plan.
Security and Peace
Ethiopia is a peace-loving nation. And except for those times when it had to rise up in arms to fight off aggression, or to advance the cause of collective security, there is not one instance in history of Ethiopia provoking a conflict by violating the territorial integrity or by interfering in the internal affairs of others. And there will never be any such instance. However, Ethiopia will never be found wanting in its efforts to strengthen its defence force, sustained as it is by the traditional valour of its gallant people, to thwart the designs of those who are bent on violating the freedom and unity of its people and its territorial integrity. Our vigilant Armed Forces are therefore always ready to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country and the freedom and unity of the Ethiopian people. The civic action performed by members of the Armed Forces and their participation in development projects of the country has been found useful and it is Our hope that it will continue to expand.
The Imperial Ethiopian Police Force has also discharged satisfactorily its high duties of safeguarding the internal security of the country. The Police Force is also being well provided, and will continue to be provided, with up-to-date equipment to help it carry out its task.
As we have made it abundantly clear on several occasions, Our foreign policy continued to be inspired by the fundamental principles of the United nations Charter. We adhere to the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of other countries and respect for territorial integrity. We believe in cooperation and collaboration to promote the cause of international security, the equality of man and the welfare of mankind. We believe in the peaceful settlement of all disputes without resorting to force. And in accordance with the Charter of the Organization of African Unity, we will strive to eradicate colonialism, racism and apartheid from the face of Africa, to frustrate the efforts being made by foreign powers to dictate the destiny of the African continent and we will continue to stand in union with the independent African States for the total independence and progress of Our Continent. The pursuit of the principles of non-alignment is also an inalienable part of Ethiopia's foreign policy. Guided by these principles Ethiopia has cultivated friendship with all countries.
In this respect, it is gratifying to note that the number of friendly governments opening diplomatic missions in Our capital has been growing from year to year. We are also pleased to note that our relations of amity have been immensely strengthened with those governments who have accredited envoys to Our capital. At the same time, Heads of State and Government and delegates are coming here from time to time to the seat of the Organization of African Unity and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa to attend conferences sponsored by both Organizations. This has provided Us with the added opportunity of exchanging views with them on matters of mutual concern.
The efforts We are making to strengthen the spirit of good-neighbourly relations across our frontiers are bearing fruitful results. The presence of our honoured guest, H.E. Major General Gaafar Mohamed Nimeiri, the President of Sudan, among us today, is in itself but another manifestation of the enduring spirit of brotherhood which exists between Ethiopia and the Sudan.
Ethiopia and the Sudan are linked by intimate geographical and historical ties and the peoples of the two neighbouring countries drink water drawn from the same river. Ethiopians consider the Sudanese as their own brothers. And the Sudanese have stood by the side of Ethiopians and shed their blood for the freedom of our country. Ethiopia will therefore never forget the debt it owes the Sudanese people.
During the year in review Ethiopia was pleased to play host to the leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, H.E. Major General Yakubu Gowon and Madam Gowon, and H.E. President Leopold Sedar Senghor of Senegal who made official visits to Our country. H.E. Spiro Agnew, the Vice-President of the United States, a country which has long-standing relations with Ethiopia, also visited Ethiopia.
The exchanges of views We had with these visiting leaders were not confined to a review of outstanding international and African issues. During the visit of the Nigerian leader an agreement was reached for representatives of the two countries to outline the areas of cooperation which would contribute towards the further strengthening of the existing friendly relations between Nigeria and Ethiopia. The visit of the President of Senegal resulted in a treaty of friendship and a cultural and commercial agreement. The visit of the American Vice-President has contributed greatly towards the strengthening of the existing friendly relations between Ethiopia and the United States.
We are convinced that in this fast-changing and eventful world, personal diplomacy, conducted through visits to friendly countries and talks at Head of State and Government level will help a great deal in resolving outstanding international issues and in outlining areas of collaboration in matters of mutual interest. It is in pursuit of this worthy objective that We have been visiting various friendly countries without regard to the discomfort and inconvenience of long-distance travel.
In response to the invitation extended to Us by H.E. President Giuseppe A. Saragat of Italy, His Holiness Pope Paul VI, H.E. Generalissimo Francisco Franco, Head of the Spanish Government, H.E. President Gregoire Kayibanda of Rwanda and H.E. Colonel Michel Micombero of Burundi, We visited Italy, the Vatican City, Spain, Rwanda and Burundi.
The historical relations between Italy and Ethiopia are familiar to all. Although the relations between the two countries go back many generations, the act of aggression committed by the Fascist Italian leader in the 1930's against Ethiopia was instrumental in creating, for a brief period of time, an atmosphere of enmity between the two countries. However, We owe it to God who crowned Our efforts with the ultimate victory to forgive those who transgress against us, and so We resumed friendly relations with Italy at the end of the Second World War. Finally, We accepted a long-standing and repeatedly made invitation extended to Us by the President of the new Italy to pay a visit to the country with a view to erasing any lingering sentiments of rancour and to strengthen friendly relations. We have been touched by the warm welcome accorded Us by the Italian people and the respect shown to Us by Government officials during Our visit to the Republic.
A basic agreement was signed in the course of Our visit to further strengthen the economic, commercial, cultural and technical relations and cooperation existing between Ethiopia and Italy. Moreover, the Italian government has also promised to render assistance by participating in Ethiopian development schemes.
Our visit to the Vatican City provided Us with another opportunity to renew our friendship with Pope Paul VI, whom We had met during Our visit to Geneva to attend the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and to review again with His Holiness matters pertaining to world peace.
During Our visit to Spain, representatives of the two countries signed an agreement on technical, cultural, touristic and commercial relations and cooperation to be established between the two countries.
During Our visit to Ruwanda and Burundi, We exchanged views with the leaders of both countries on matters of mutual interest and African solidarity.
It was while we were on Our visit to Italy that We heard the news of the death of Our long-time friend and former President of France, General Charles de Gaulle. We interrupted Our visit and attended the memorial services at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. It is an undeniable fact that the world has lost an outstanding and determined leader in the death of General de Gaulle.
We also attended in Monrovia the funeral services of Our close friend, the late President William Tubman of Liberia. Africa has lost a great leader in the untimely death of President Tubman.
Last year We established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China. As you know, Our government has been advocating for a long time now that the People's Republic of China should take up its rightful place in the comity of the nations of the world. And but three weeks ago, We visited that great and historic country in response to the invitation extended to Us by the Government of China.
Our historic visit to the People's Republic of China has enabled Us to hold extensive talks with the leaders of China, particularly with Chairman Mao Tse Tung and Prime Minister Chou En-Lai, on matters of mutual concern, on grave issues facing the world and on the establishment and purposes of the Organization of African Unity. Moreover, the visit has also gained Us a lasting friendship.
The warm welcome accorded Us by the hospitable Chinese people has assured Us of the love and esteem which the people of China have for Us and for the Ethiopian nation. The greatness of China is not due merely to the fact that it is the most populous country on earth. China is also great because of its history and its ancient civilization and culture. Thus, We are indeed pleased that China has at long last gained its rightful place at the United Nations.
As mentioned earlier the foreign policy of Ethiopia is guided by its faith in cooperation and collaboration for mutual interest, based on the principle of co-existence of different ideologies. It is thus Our firm belief that the economic and technical assistance which will be provided by the Chinese government and the Ethio-Chinese trade relations which will be expanded will prove to be of additional assistance to the socio-economic development of Ethiopia.
The agreement signed with representatives of the Chinese government will help correct the balance of trade between Ethiopia and China. Moreover, the long-term interest-free loan of Eth. $203 million, made available by China for economic development projects of Ethiopia, is a signal testimony to the determination of the Chinese government to help Ethiopia.
Ethiopia will never forget the debt it owes all those governments who have assisted it and who will assist it in the development of the country.
Two weeks ago We paid a State Visit to Iran as guest of Our friend the Shahanshah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi. During the visit We attended the 2,500th anniversary celebrations of the founding of the Empire of Iran by Cyrus the Great.
We are gratified that the occasion afforded Us the opportunity to renew Our long-standing friendship with the Emperor of Iran and to confer with ten Heads of State and Government and other prominent leaders on matters of mutual concern and international issues.
A few days ago We attended in Mogadisho the Seventh Conference of Heads of Governments of East and Central African States. We exchanged views with leaders of neighbouring countries on matters of common interest affecting our part of the continent.
We held three meetings with the leader of the Government of Somalia, H.E. Major General Siad Barre on mutual collaboration and other matters affecting our two neighbouring countries. And We hope that the talks We held will open a path leading to better understanding and closer collaboration between our two countries which are inextricably linked in history, adjoining border and mutual interests.
It is to be recalled that the Sixth Conference of Heads of State and Government of East and Central African States which was held in Khartoum had entrusted Us with the mission of urging the independent African states to increase the financial and material assistance they give to African freedom fighters. We duly dispatched the message to all the leaders of the independent African states. The response of the majority of African leaders has been most encouraging as they have assured us that they are rendering increased assistance. We are gratified that our African brethren, who are sacrificing themselves to throw off the yoke of colonialism, will be receiving the assistance they dearly need.
O.A.U. and The Middle East
Leaders of independent African states meet once a year to discuss matters pertaining to outstanding international issues, the development of their continent, the liquidation of colonialism and those related to African unity in general. The Eighth Annual Assembly of the Heads of State and Government of the Organization of African Unity was held in Addis Ababa last July. The conference set up a committee composed of ten leaders, including Ourself, charged with the challenging task of finding an African solution to the Middle East conflict. We, the members of the committee met in the Congolese capital of Kinshasa and explored ways and means of resolving the conflict. It was decided to dispatch a mission composed of four leaders to the Middle East to solicit the views of the concerned parties and to report back to the committee. The committee will meet in Dakar, Senegal, to confer on the peace proposals to be presented to the two parties. We pray for Divine guidance so that with the support of members of the United Nations the efforts being made by the committee of the Organization of African Unity to build a bridge of understanding between the two concerned parties will lead to a lasting and secure peace.
Solving and alleviating the manifold problems which beset the world does not devolve upon temporal powers alone. Spiritual leaders and laymen have also a sacred duty to coordinate their efforts to advance the cause of mankind. It is vital and useful for church leaders to meet from time to time to discuss outstanding international issues.
The Central Committee of the World Council of Churches held its 24th annual assembly here in Our capital last January. The resolutions it adopted dealing with world peace and justice, the promotion of human rights and the improvement of man's living standard, and the participation of the Church in social development are of profound significance. In particular, the resolutions adopted by the Committee on economic development, racism and the promotion of international justice prove, beyond any shadow of doubt, that many church leaders and their followers are determined to tackle the world's temporal problems in a spirit of solidarity.
The sustained efforts We are making to enhance the economic development of Our country and social progress of Our people would only be in a strong position to bear fruitful results when the three branches of Our Government - the legislature, the executive and the judiciary - work together harmoniously to promote the common good. The work of each of these branches complements but does not supplant that of the other. The duties and responsibilities of these three branches of government are clearly defined in the Ethiopian Constitution.
The executive branch of the government prepares bills after the most careful study and submits them with Our consent for your deliberations. And it would seem to be obvious that the bills are intended not to harm but to benefit Our people who have voted for the common good through you, their representatives.
You have been mandated to be here either by being appointed by Us or as elected representatives of the Ethiopian people to help Us in the formation of laws for the land. It is clearly stipulated in the Revised Constitution that Our Ministers or their representatives would always be available at the sessions of either House of Parliament to clarify the intents and purposes of proposed laws.
As parliamentarians dealing with important national questions, you must not only express your views in clear and unequivocal terms, but you must also listen patiently and sympathetically to the views of others. You must, in particular, refrain from attempting to promote narrow regional interests but work diligently to promote the national purpose and national interest.
Two fundamental prerequisites for economic development are readiness on the part of the present generation to sacrifice short-term ends for long-term objectives and for posterity to be willing to inherit a legacy of debt incurred in the interest of its own progress . Whenever draft legislations for approval of loans and assistance to be secured from friendly governments or international organizations for implementing the projects outlined in the Five-Year Development Plans or other bills are submitted to you, you must not forget that the accelerated development of the country demands that you consider these bills on their own merits and in terms of the benefits they are intended to bring to the people.
It is incumbent upon every one of you to prove indeed that the Ethiopian Parliament is a great institution working for the promotion of a great cause by usefully drawing upon its wealth of experience gained over the years. The Ethiopian people are members of one closely knit family. In these circumstances it is neither fair nor legitimate for the interest of one group of this great family to be promoted at the expense of another. In your deliberations, therefore, you, as members of Parliament, should be always guided by the fundamental principle that all should have a fair and equitable share of the wealth and natural resources of the country in accordance with their individual labour and toil.
Therefore, We urge you to use your time and knowledge properly, to carry out honestly and diligently the task and responsibility entrusted to you and to deliberate on matters of long-term national interest submitted to you with a clear conscience.
May God give you His guidance and blessings!
|Haile Selassie I|