Opening Remarks by Hon. Yalew Abate Speaker of the Amhara National Regional State Council during the opening session of the 6th Round IGAD-led peace process for South Sudan

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NILE CONFERENCE CENTRE, BAHIR DAR

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates;

Excellencies, Distinguished Special Envoys of IGAD;

Distinguished representatives of international partners;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

September 22, 2014

On behalf of the Government, the Council and the People of the Amhara National Regional State let me welcome you all to Bahir Dar. We are extremely delighted to have the rare opportunity of hosting these historic negotiations. We pay tribute to those who decided to convene this historic meeting in Bahir Dar.

The government and people of the National Regional State are honored to host this important meeting. We express our readiness and commitment to ensure that the negotiations are conducted in a peaceful and serene way, and hope that this tranquil environment will inspire you to reach an agreement.

The people of the Republic of South Sudan and the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia have historical ties. These ties need to be further nurtured and developed. But fostering ties requires peace and stability. Our people were most saddened following the outbreak of war in South Sudan, after just two years of independence. There is a lot to be done to strengthen the relations between the two peoples, and we hope that this is the start of a 2 deeper relationship between the Amhara National Regional State and
the Republic of South Sudan.

With an institutional framework people can do a lot to develop economic ties and produce exponential benefit for people on both sides. In our region, the Joint border development scheme between the people of the Republic of Sudan and Ethiopia is a concrete example. Cooperation over Nile waters is another – demonstrating the value of dialogue over dispute.

Now lets work towards resolving the problem at hand. It is doable. There is no time to spend on war. War only destroys what we have. It does not add value or any thing else. It only takes us down the drain, further entrenching poverty and backwardness. War multiplies the challenges that underdevelopment and poverty brings to our societies. I would like to emphasize that there are few champions of peace. Lets bring our forces together to help the people of South Sudan resolve this problem so as to enable them fight the greatest enemy of our region—poverty.

In this regard, I would like to assure you again that we will do all in our capacity to help delegates and the mediators achieve the noble objective of making peace in South Sudan.

I thank you, and welcome you once more to Bahir Dar.