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Varadkar to travel to Mali today to meet with Irish Defence Forces serving abroad

Varadkar will be accompanied by Minister of State with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe.
Jan 6th 2019, 7:00 AM 8,648 42

TAOISEACH LEO VARADKAR is today beginning a week-long visit to Mali and Ethiopia, where he will meet members of the Irish Defence Forces, Irish NGOs and visit a UNHCR refugee camp. 

Varadkar will be accompanied by Minister of State with responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe. 

Later today, Varadkar and Kehoe will visit the EU training mission to Mali (EUTM), where they will meet members of the Irish Defence Fores serving with the EUTM. 

Varadkar will meet with the Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita during the visit. 

In Ethiopia, the Taoiseach will meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-Work Zewde.

He will also meet with a number of Irish NGOs operating in Ethiopia, attend a reception with the Irish community and visit the UNESCO world heritage site in Lalibela where he will launch a new partnership initiative on cultural heritage between the governments of Ireland and Ethiopia. 

Ending his trip, Varadkar will travel to a UNHCR refugee camp for Eritrean refugees and visit Irish Aid-funded projects in northern Ethiopia. 

In partnership with Ethiopian government agencies and UN institutions, Ireland has been operating a development programme since 1994. This programme is Ireland’s largest in the world, amounting to €30 million in 2018 and a planned €32 million in 2019.  

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Hayley Halpin

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