Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn – Photo: Africanaute
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn has paid tribute to his compatriots for their efforts in combating religious fundamentalism and acts of terrorism and urged them to maintain their stance.
“Ethiopia’s constitution clearly shows the separation of state and religion. The state does not interfere in religious matters and religion shall not interfere in state affairs,” he said.
Opening a three-day national conference on religious tolerance and coexistence here Tuesday, the Prime Minister said that the attitude of tolerance among nations, nationalities and people of Ethiopia greatly contributed to the country’s economic progress.
“Fulfillment of this provision requires the full respect of both individual and people’s fundamental freedoms and rights to live together on the basis of equality and without any discrimination based on gender, religion or culture,” Hailemariam added.
According to the Prime Minister, adherence to and respect for the people’s fundamental freedoms and rights have enabled Ethiopia to achieve double digit economic growth, benefitting all equally and realising the Ethiopian renaissance.
Organised by the Ministry of Federal Affairs in collaboration with the Ethiopia Inter-Religious Council at the African Union (AU) Conference Centre, the meeting is discussing the Ethiopian Constitution and observance of religious freedom.
Its participants have come from all over the country.
The conference was also addressed by Patriarch Abune Mathias of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church and Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Council president, Sheik Kiyar Mohamed.
The two religious leaders emphasised that peaceful coexistence and tolerance were basic tenets of all faiths.