South Africa and Ethiopia on Sunday vowed to strengthen their historical bilateral relations. 

PRETORIA , South Africa (ANN)-“We recall with pride and gratitude the historic relations between South Africa and Ethiopia. We recognize the importance of the military training provided to Nelson Mandela as we embarked on our armed struggle ( against Apartheid) South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa said at a joint briefing with visiting Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali.

The South African leader also congratulated Abiy for his efforts in championing political and social reforms in Ethiopia, as well as his peace initiatives in the horn of Africa region.

“We have witnessed your vision and courage in the measures you have taken towards the resolution of the situation with Eritrea, a situation that appeared to be intractable,” Ramaphosa said.

He also underlined Abiy’s role in the promotion of gender equality in Ethiopia as well as the release of political prisoners and journalists, and the commitment to national elections later this year. Anadolu Agency reports

“In recognition of these efforts to achieve peace and international cooperation, the Nobel Peace Committee awarded you the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, making you the 100th Nobel Peace Prize Laureate,” the South African leader noted.

The two countries also signed an agreement in cooperation on tourism and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in the field of health.

“These agreements reflect a recommitment to work together towards a better future for our people and a safer and more prosperous Africa,” Ramaphosa said at the briefing which concluded Abiy’s state visit to South Africa — a country he once studied in before assuming Ethiopia’s top job.

South Africa said the MoU on tourism will encourage direct institutional partnerships to promote tourism as well as student and academic exchange programs between the two nations.

For his part, Abiy expressed gratitude to the South African government and the president for the warm welcome extended to him and his delegation during his visit.

“The rainbow nation [South Africa] is closer to Ethiopia through our shared history and close ties,” the Ethiopian premier said, adding that his meeting with Ramaphosa enabled him to solidify their country’s relations.

The two leaders also agreed that terrorism constitutes a serious threat to international peace, security and stability and that no country is immune to the threat that terrorism represents.