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PM Varadkaris arrives in Tigray to visit Irish-funded dev’t projects

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Addis Ababa, January 10, 2019 (FBC) – Prime Minister Leo Varadkaris of Ireland today arrived in Axum, Tigray regional state, to visit Irish-funded development projects.

Upon arrival at Axum, the Taoiseach was welcomed by Dr Abreham Tekeste, deputy chief administrator and head of urban development and industry bureau of the regional state.

Prime Minister Varadkaris will visit four Irish-funded development projects and refugee camp in Shire Indaselassie.

Earlier, the Taoiseach visited the rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, in Amhara regional state.

PM Varadkar described visiting the site as a life’s ambition.

“I want to say what a privilege it was for me to visit Lalibela and visit the churches. I read about them when I was a young boy and always thought I would have a chance to visit this place and it is extraordinary.

“It’s a reflection of Ethiopia’s enormous heritage in terms of the one of the earliest Christian kingdoms in the world.

“As part of the deepening relationship and ongoing development partnership we have agreed that our Office of Public Works and Fáilte, the tourism body, will work with the Ethiopian authorities on two aspects, how to preserve and protect these world heritage sites.

“I understand as well that a decision has been made to light the churches in green on the day of St Patrick, our patron saint. So I want to thank you very much for that gesture as well.”

Ethiopia’s Culture Minister also announced that Irish funding would be used to fund conservation at the site as part of an initiative by Ireland to help Ethiopia develop sustainable tourism.

Four Irish Aid-funded projects were also on the Taoiseach’s programme when he flew north to Shire in the Tigray region.

Visits included one to Wukro Veterinary Clinic, which treats camels, cattle, sheep, goats and donkeys, and provides hundreds of thousands of vaccines every year.

Mr Varadkar also visited a nearby school and the Kawaneet health post focusing on reducing infant mortality, an example of the 45 such posts in Tigray helped by Irish Aid.

PM Varadkaris arrived in Addis Ababa yesterday for a three-day official visit to Ethiopia.

The Irish PM met with President Sahle-Work Zewde and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed to discuss bilateral issues.

President Sahle-Work said she hopes Ireland will play a role in the ongoing development of the country.

During the bilateral discussions, Prime Minister Dr Abiy said the visit by the Irish PM is a testimony to the strengthened ties between Europe and Ethiopia.

The Taoiseach on his part expressed his appreciation of the recent developments in Ethiopia and shared Ireland’s continued support to Ethiopia, particularly in agro-processing investments.