Ethiopia PM in Saudi Arabia, first official trip outside Africa

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed departed the country on Thursday for a state visit to Saudi Arabia. The trip is his first outside Africa after three visits to neighbouring countries.

State-media EBC quoted a Spokesperson of Ministry of Foreign Affairs as confirming that the visit follows an invitation from King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saudi.

During his first visit to the Middle East, Abiy will hold bilateral and regional discussions with officials of Saudi Arabia, the broadcaster added.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries have been strong over the years. The issue of immigration brought the relationship to light during the better part of last year.

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Saudi Arabia’s decision to deport illegal African immigrants especially impacted Ethiopia with Addis Ababa securing extensions of a deportation deadline in order to fly citizens home safely.

The East African nation secured thousands of exit visas for its nationals and flew them back home. The government, however, expressed worry over the refusal of many others to take advantage of the two amnesty regimes.

Most rich Middle East countries hire thousands of domestic helpers from Africa and Asia. Most of these women often complain of abuse from their employers.

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PM Abiy who has been in office since April 2, has paid official visits to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya respectively.

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