As a founding member of the Organization of African Unity in 1963, Ethiopia continuously fought for the realization of the objectives of the OAU. It did its level best, both covertly and overtly, to assist the countries under colonialism to gain their independence.
Even when the record in domestic policies was decidedly counter-productive, the policy and practice towards Africa pursued by past Ethiopian governments were outstanding, enabling the country to discharge its African responsibilities and to gain the respect of our African brothers and sisters. Ethiopia all along steadfastly championed the cause of Africa and Africans dating back to a time when it stood virtually alone. There has never been a time when Ethiopian governments shied away from taking up their responsibilities towards Africa. It can also be said that there was hardly any occasion when Ethiopia was refused political and diplomatic support from Africa when it was needed.
Ethiopia is the seat of the African Union, the successor organization of the OAU. As the Foreign Affairs and National Security Policy and Strategy clearly point out, this naturally means that Ethiopia carries a special responsibility for the organization. Certainly, Ethiopia fully subscribes to the AU’s vision for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa providing and representing a dynamic force in the global arena. Ethiopia has been at the forefront of the efforts to achieve this African vision and at no time has it shifted its attention away from addressing the age-old problems that have bedeviled Africa for so long.
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Ethiopia is a founding member of numerous international organizations which formulate laws that affect inter-state relations and serve as forums to oversee respect for the rules which govern international engagement. It is the conviction of Ethiopia that international organizations play an irreplaceable role in ensuring peace and the primacy of international law as well as in strengthening cooperation between countries. It is these same organizations that have also provided the forums in which Ethiopia has been playing by the rules in the present globalized world. This is where Ethiopia, along with other countries in similar conditions, takes into account the rules of the international game as well as the interests of others.
Ethiopia’s role in, and cooperation with, the United Nations is one pre-eminent element of the country’s engagement with international organizations. Ethiopia is one of the only two African founding members of the United Nations Organization set up following the end of the Second World War; the other being Liberia. And ever since the creation of the UN, Ethiopia has been committed to the organization. The principle of collective security at the heart of the UN charter has particular significance for Ethiopia as this was seen as an improvement on the failed attempts of the League of Nations to bring world peace. The League of Nations of which Ethiopia was also a member was, of course, the organization that preceded the UN, and history remembers the failure of the League of Nations to live up to its obligations when Ethiopia was attacked by fascist Italy in the run-up to the Second World War. Emperor Haile Selassie’s famous speech admonishing the League for its failure to assist Ethiopia was later to haunt many in the international community. This indeed was one of the major reasons behind the adoption of collective security and the cooperation that formed the basis of the UN charter.