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New E.U. chief visits Ethiopia, A.U. on first outside Europe


New European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday, her first trip outside Europe since assuming her post.

She held a series of meetings that touched on the European Union (E.U.) relations with Ethiopia whiles overseeing the signing of bilateral agreements in support of Ethiopia’s political and economic road map.

She met with Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as the country prepares for crucial elections next year.

She was also received by the Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde who she described as “a role model for women.” The E.U. chief was accompanied on the trip by Ms. Jutta Urpilainen, European Commissioner for International Partnerships.

I am deeply impressed by ??Ethiopia’s President Sahle-Work Zewde who is the only female Head of State in Africa. With her vast experience on gender issues and empowering women, she is truly a role model for women. pic.twitter.com/LbsIO7D0U6

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 7, 2019

The former German defence minister, who took office December 1, also visited the African Union headquarters for talks with AU chief Moussa Faki Mahamat. She succeeded Claude Juncker.

In her address at a joint press conference she said: “The African Union is more than just a neighbour for the EU. Both our Unions are built on a dream – a dream of peace and of economic prosperity in our continents.

“The African Union is a partner I count on and look forward working with in the spirit of a true partnership of equals.”

I’m grateful for the intense discussion and exchange of experience we’ve had with Chairperson AUC_MoussaFaki. I came to the _AfricanUnion HQ to listen about trends shaping Africa & the African Union, about developments across the continent & about political/economic priorities. pic.twitter.com/wTHpPruLbu

— Ursula von der Leyen (@vonderleyen) December 7, 2019

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