Leaders of IGAD Applaud Transformation of Menelik Palace into Park

Addis Ababa Leaders from member countries of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) praised the transformation of Menelik Palace into a tourist destination park.

The Unity Park, which is built with an out lay of 5 billion Ethiopian Birr in the premise of the Grand National Palace, has been officially inaugurated on Thursday.

Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta, President of South Sudan Silva Kiir Mayardit, Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo and Sudanese Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok have presided over the inaugural ceremony of Unity Park in Addis Ababa.

Speaking on the occasion, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said the park signifies real history of present Ethiopia.

The president appreciated the renovation made on the historic buildings which would help to retrace the history of the country.

This is the result of ideological clarity, people are not clear when they look at history in a fragmented manner, he stated.

He said Historical heritages and events in continuity, adding that the wrong culture of attempting to erase what the past leaders have accomplished needs to be rectified.

Kenya's President, Uhuru Kenyatta on his part said Ethiopia is endowed with rich and colorful history that makes it unique in the African continent as it stands among few countries to have resisted and defeated efforts colonialism.

In this regard, I have no doubt that this campaign you have started to restore Addis Ababa to its glory not only open up new economic opportunity for the people of Ethiopia, but also inspires other countries across the continent to focus on creation of environmentally friendly cities, he added.

Kenyatta further noted that preserving and restoring African culture and heritages, and protection of our environment is a huge investment and we leaders must continue to champion it tirelessly.

Somali President, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo, said the refurbishment of the palace is an important stature of the wider reforms and success Ethiopia is achieving and stewardship of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his government.

The restoration of the palace is truly magnificent, particularly as it is surrounded by history and beauty of modern design in this wonderful building, he said.

Ethiopia has historical centers of attraction and will continue to be a destination for trade and tourism for the people of Somalia, as neighbor and for the benefit of the two countries.

Sudanese Prime Minister, Abdella Hamdok, on his part said converting such historical site into tourist attraction would offer not only the chance to diversify economic resources, it is also an indication that economic progress and preservation of cultural and national heritage can still go hand in hand.

Since the cover of the 19th century, Ethiopian leaders including former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn and the late Meles Zenawi lived in what is now dubbed as Unity Park.

The park includes a spacious green area including a botanical garden, a zoo where primates and endemic black-mane lions will roam among 300 individual animals of 46 species, to be watched from an artistic tunnel with grass portions for viewing.

Source: Ethiopia News agency