Their Royal Highnesses Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway arrived in Ethiopia on Monday. Yesterday, they started their three-day official visit to the African nation. It became a busy first day which began with a formal welcome ceremony by His Excellency President Mulatu Teshome and his wife, Mrs Meaza Abraha, outside the Presidential Palace. Together, the President and Crown Prince inspected the Honorary Guard from the National Guard, and both countries’ national anthems were played during the ceremony.
When the Crown Prince and Crown Princess arrived at the Presidential Palace, the Crown Prince gave a short speech where he said: “It is truly great to be here. My late grandfather, King Olav, visited Ethiopia 51 years ago. I am very pleased to be able to retrace some of his footsteps, and to learn more about how our bilateral relationship has evolved over the past decades.”
Inside the palace, President Teshome and the Crown Prince Haakon met for a conversation. After the talks, the Crown Prince attended the signing of a significant agreement between Ethiopian authorities and Yara on the extraction of potassium for use in the production of fertilisers. At lunch, the Crown Prince and Crown Princess met with representatives from eight different agencies of the United Nations.
A sizeable Norwegian business delegation with more than 50 participants is following the Crown Prince Couple on their visit. Crown Princess Mette-Marit held the opening speech at their seminar, where the President’s presence further emphasised the importance of business cooperation between Norway and Ethiopia. During her speech, the Crown Princess said: “Ethiopia is an important country for Norway. We share history; we share friendships, we share interests.”
Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit met the African Union (AU) commissioner Moussa Faki Mahamat at his office in the new AU building before Crown Prince Haakon spoke in the Permanent Representatives’ Committee.
To the African Union, Crown Prince Haakon said, “Norway’s strategic partnership with the AU has its roots in history. It dates back to our support for the liberation struggles and the fight against apartheid. Norway was under foreign rule for centuries. My great-grandfather became the first king of a modern, independent Norway in 1905. Our own history motivated us to show solidarity with other countries that were deprived of their independence. Our support had deep roots in Norwegian society.”
The day ended with Crown Prince Haakon and Crown Princess Mette-Marit attending a large banquet in the Presidential Palace in honour of their visit. During the great dinner of the evening, the Crown Prince spoke where he said: “It is a great pleasure and honour for the Crown Princess and me to be with you tonight in this historic palace… It is exciting to finally be here, in Ethiopia – the country that I have heard so much about, but never before had the chance to visit.”