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The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing

The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing on the 16th of June2021 to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the Arab league Statement on the GERD, economic diplomacy and citizen-centered diplomatic activities.
I. #PoliticalDiplomacy
In a pre-recorded video message, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen , Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia said Ethiopia is disappointed by the campaign that is being waged against its handling of the situation in the Tigray region. He said what we need now is concrete support and, “a mission to undermine the unity, territorial integrity and the cohesion of the Ethiopian state, under the guise of humanitarian concern” is not acceptable. The Minister included the following main points in his speech:
• Ethiopia is ready to work positively and constructively with all its partners to scale up humanitarian assistance, rebuild social cohesion, and restore basic services in the Tigray region
• We need the support of friends and partners and not uncalled for pressure that would complicate the situation further.
• Attempts to dictate terms to the country in ways that are not helpful and in a condescending approach are not friendly acts.
• Missions to undermine the unity, territorial integrity and the cohesion of the Ethiopian state, under the guise of humanitarian concern are not acceptable
• The accusations labelled against Ethiopia of using hunger as a weapon of war on its own citizens, is an egregious falsehood (we have delivered humanitarian aid to 4.5 million people in the first round and 5.2 million people in the second round working together with 6 operators in the region)
• full and unfettered access for humanitarian actors has been provided through a simplified blanket approval process and in some pocket areas military escort is provided.
• We have credible evidence, indicating that some actors have attempted to smuggle weapons to arm the terrorist cell under the guise of humanitarian assistance which is unacceptable.
• The government is aware of its responsibilities towards its own citizens and its obligations under international humanitarian law and is making every possible effort to accelerate the humanitarian response to reach out to every person in need
• Despite the achievements so far, the support and solidarity of the international community is critical in delivering food and non-food items to those in need in the region. We are grateful to those who lent a helping hand in this regard.
Ethiopia and the European Union have conducted a political consultation as per Article 8 of the Cotonou Partnership Agreement signed between the European Union and the African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group of States (“ACP countries”). Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and EU Ambassador to Ethiopia H.E. Johan Borgstam led the discussion which covered economic and political issues of common concern. The meeting:
• Appreciated the historic partnership between Ethiopia and the EU
• Appreciated the Team Europe Initiative for support of Africa’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic
• Agreed to give attention to solutions to observed challenges to foreign investment in Ethiopia.
• Reaffirmed commitment to extend support to Ethiopia’s homegrown economic reform agenda
• In their discussion about the overall situation in Tigray, the Deputy Prime Minister provided updates on the issue of Humanitarian access, agricultural activities in the region with the government’s efforts to provide seeds and fertilizers to farmers, withdrawal of Eritrean troops, and efforts to hold perpetrators of alleged Human Rights violations and atrocities accountable.
• Finally, in their discussion on the upcoming general elections, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that the Government is committed to making sure that the upcoming election is one of a kind in the country’s political history given the various measures that have been taken, including freedom of association, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and various legal and structural reforms on matters related to electoral activities.
H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia has held a virtual discussion on Thursday (June 10) with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Estonia, H.E. Ms. Eva-Maria Liimets on ways to advance bilateral ties and cooperate on international forums. The two sides agreed to share Estonia’s experience in building a digital economy. Taking into account that Estonia is going to take over the Presidency of the Security Council for the month of June, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke said Ethiopia expects Estonia to play a constructive role on issues related to Ethiopia’s national interest.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a phone call today (June 10) with H.E Mr. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China. The two sides agreed to continue cooperating on fighting COVID 19. Following Mr. Demeke’s briefing over the Tigray issue, Mr. Wang Yi appreciated the efforts of the Ethiopian government to rebuild the region and rebuked attempts to meddle in the internal affairs of the country using humanitarian concerns as a pretext.
A delegation of senior officials led by Ethiopia’s Finance Minister Ahmed Shide comprising Army Chief of Staff General Berhanu Jula and Director General of the National Intelligence and Security Service, Temesgen Tiruneh, met and held talks with President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti on current regional and bilateral relations. The two sides agreed to cement the strategic relationship between the two countries. President Ismail Omar Guelleh said the relationship between Ethiopia and Djibouti is stronger than ever and commended the Ethiopian government’s efforts to resolve its internal problems.
In related news, Chief of Staff of the National Defense Force of Ethiopia General Berhanu Jula met with his Djiboutian counterpart General Zekaria to discuss ways to further strengthen cooperation between the defense forces of the two countries. The two sides have called for creating more favorable platforms and mechanisms to share information and expertise as well as pursue joint training. The two counterparts have deliberated ways to scale up collaborations to make the Ethio-Djibouti corridor a peaceful zone and agreed to continue holding joint defense meetings annually.
The following High-level government officials have handed over Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s message addressed to various leaders of states and governments in Europe.
• A delegation led by H.E. Muferiat Kamil, Minister of Peace of Ethiopia, has handed over Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s message to the President of the French Republic, H.E. President Emmanuel Macron. President Macron’s special Advisor on African Affairs, H.E. Mr. Franck Paris has received the Prime Minister’s message on behalf of the President.
• Honourable Adem Farah, Speaker of House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has delivered the message to H.E. Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium and H.E. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. The message was handed over to the Prime Ministers via high level government officials of the two countries.
• A delegation led by H.E Dr. Gedion Timothewos, Attorney General of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has delivered today (June 14) a message from Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed to H.E. Mario Draghi, Prime Minister of the Republic of Italy. The message was handed over through H.E Luigi Di Maio, Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister of the Republic of Italy.
• Last week, an Ethiopian delegation led by Seleshi Bekele, Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy has paid a visit to the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Rwanda, and the Republic of Uganda where he had held discussions with the Presidents of the respective Republics.
During the meetings, the Ethiopian delegation raised the following points:
• the law enforcement measures in Tigray and the current state of affairs in the region, with a special focus on the humanitarian and reconstruction endeavors of the government of Ethiopia.
• the upcoming elections of Ethiopia which is to take place on 21 June 2021and the government’s commitment to make it fair, free, transparent and credible, including the legal and institutional reforms during the pre-election period.
• the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) negotiations under the auspices of the African Union (the AU) emphasizing Ethiopia’s position that an African problem must be resolved by African solutions.
• the Ethio-Sudan boundary dispute underscoring Ethiopia’s position that the dispute has to be resolved in dialogue with long-existing bilateral mechanisms while rejecting Sudan’s transgression into areas that were under Ethiopia’s effective control for over a century.
The Ministry has issued a statement rejecting the Resolution of the League of Arab States on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The statement contains the following main points:
• Ethiopia rejects the “Resolution” in its entirety
• futile attempts to internationalize and politicize the GERD will not lead to sustainable regional cooperation in the utilization and management of the Nile.
• The League of Arab States should know that utilization of the Nile waters is also an existential matter for Ethiopia too.
• Ethiopia firmly believes that it is only through cooperation and dialogue that the water security of any of the Nile Basin states can be achieved.
• the League of Arab States places particular emphasis on the water security of the two downstream countries in complete disregard to the interest of the rest of the Nile riparian states, which are the sources of the river.
• It is the intransigence of both Egypt and the Sudan, which has made it extremely difficult to make any meaningful progress in the tripartite negotiation.
• During the South African-led negotiation, it was Egypt and the Sudan that disrupted the negotiations seven times.
• Ethiopia agreed to seven of the nine proposals contained in the draft communiqué prepared by the DRC, while Egypt and Sudan rejected the substantive parts of the communiqué.
• The two countries worked in concert to ensure the failure of the Kinshasa meeting by raising unrelated procedural issues. It is, therefore, regrettable that the League of Arab States decided to take a position on the AU-led negotiation without verifying the facts.
• The League of Arab States also seems to be oblivious of the fact that the tripartite negotiation between Ethiopia, Egypt and the Sudan are guided by the Declaration of Principles (DoP), which the leaders of the three countries signed in 2015.
• The filling of the GERD will be conducted as per the plan in accordance with the DoP and the recommendation of the research group composed of experts from the three countries.
• Hence, Ethiopia categorically rejects the futile attempt by the League of Arab States to dictate terms regarding the filling of the GERD.
• What is even more disappointing is the attempt by Egypt and the Sudan to unnecessarily politicize the GERD negotiation and try to make it an Arab issue. This clearly shows their lack of fidelity to the AU-led tripartite process. The GERD is an African issue, which needs an African solution.
• Therefore, the League of Arab States should desist from making such unhelpful statements, which will only serve to antagonize the relations between the three countries and undermine the tripartite negotiation.
III. #Economicdiplomacy
Embassy of Ethiopia in Washington DC hosted a virtual business forum on the theme of “The United States and Ethiopia Business and Investment Opportunities”. The session was organized in collaboration with the Houston International Trade Center and Ethiopia’s Honorary Consul in Houston, Texas. H.E Ambassador Fitsum Arega briefed the participants on the various business and investment opportunities for American companies. Attending the meeting, former U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy, expressed the importance of enhancing economic relations between Ethiopia and the United States. He also mentioned his strong confidence that Ethiopia will come out of the current challenges and continue being a key economic and security ally to the United States.
The Embassy of Ethiopia in Algiers conducted trade and Investment promotion engagements from June 8-10, 2021 in the commercial cities of Constantine and Skikda, in Algeria. Ambassador of Ethiopia to Algeria, H.E Nebiat Getachew held fruitful discussions with presidents of Chamber of Commerce and Industry and members of the business communities of Constantine and Skikda on ways to boost trade and investment ties between Ethiopia and Algeria. The Ambassador on the occasion made a field visit to Huff Pharmaceuticals and Algeria Animal Health Products and held fruitful discussions with the owners and gave a briefing on Ethiopia’s investment opportunities in the sector. The companies have agreed to a pre-Investment visit to Ethiopia.
IV. #CitizenCentered Diplomacy
The “Defend Ethiopia” task force in collaboration with Ethiopians and Eritreans living in the UK and the Ethiopian Embassy in London have organized and made a rally in Cornwell, South West England that hosts the G7 countries summit to protest the undue pressure on Ethiopia that compromises the country’s sovereignty.
Ethiopians living in South Africa rallied in Pretoria to thank all, including the government of South Africa who stood by Ethiopia in its critical times, to call on others to respect the country’s right to handle its internal affairs, and to show support to all of the encouraging efforts that the federal government of Ethiopia is doing to see a developed and unified nation.
980 Ethiopians have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia and Oman

Statement on the irresponsible and undiplomatic remarks by the Finnish Foreign Minister at the European Parliament

The Ethiopian government rejects the briefing by the Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto to the European Parliament on 15 June 2021 in relation to his visits to Ethiopia as a Special Envoy of the European Union. The allegations made by Mr. Haavisto in his briefing are clear indications of the underlying desire by the Special Envoy to undermine the Ethiopian government and try to facilitate unwarranted interventions through disinformation and outrageous lies.

In particular, Mr. Haavisto’s ludicrous statements clearly show a lack of context and understanding of Ethiopia. Undoubtedly, his self-assured confidence to claim nuanced understanding of the country and its people as well as the current circumstances from two short visits to Ethiopia is not only flawed but it also smacks of a colonial mindset that still lurks in the minds of self-righteous individuals like him.

Specifically, the Ethiopian government rejects the following hostile statements by Mr. Haavisto:

1) ‘for talks with the Tigray opposition’: The cell is not considered as opposition in Tigray; it is a group declared as terrorist by the House of People’s Representatives in a constitutional process.

2) ‘lack of ceasefire implementation’: The law enforcement operation is not an engagement of equals but an operation to ensure a terrorist cell lays down its weapons and cease wreaking havoc in the country. Mr. Haavisto ignores the repeated calls by the Government for fighters of the terrorist cell to lay down arms and seek amnesty.

3) ‘So called elections’: as millions of Ethiopians go to the polls on 21 June 2021, belittling this democratic process which ensures the will and aspirations of Ethiopians is unwarranted.

4) ‘inability of farmers to cultivate in the agricultural season’: Mr. Haavisto fails to acknowledge the works underway in cooperation with international partners like FAO, to prepare farmers in Tigray Region for the upcoming planting season through distribution of fertilizers, seeds and replacement of agricultural equipment.

While the above egregious statements are riddled with ulterior motives, the claims by Mr. Haavisto that senior Ethiopian leaders expressed desire to destroy Tigray is a hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind. In warmly welcoming Mr. Haavisto during his two visits, the Ethiopian government facilitated meetings with the most senior leadership of the country including the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Peace for a frank exchange of views on a wide range of issues, including the situation in the Tigray region.

To give testimony to the European Parliament insinuating that the highest leadership of a sovereign country shared with him that they want to ‘wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years’ is a complete fabrication. It is utterly irresponsible, outrageous and undiplomatic. It is unfortunate that this is being peddled under the pretense of humanitarian concern for our people but what is glaringly apparent is a colonial overtone and superiority that the Ethiopian people and government will never accept. That is why the Ethiopian government finds it difficult to henceforth accept Mr. Haavisto as a credible intermediary in our relations with the EU.

While the Ethiopian government would like to reiterate once again its commitment to continue partnering with the EU, it is absolutely important that the EU considers picking an impartial interlocutor with profound ingenuity and understanding who refrains from callous utterances and engage positively and constructively in helping tackle the prevailing challenges.

Spokesperson’s Office
18 June 2021

Press Statement on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights measures to investigate alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the Tigray region of Ethiopia

Press statement on the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights measures to investigate alleged violations of human rights and humanitarian law in the Tigray region of Ethiopia

It is to be recalled that the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, during the meeting of the African Peace and Security Council (AUPSC), held on 9th March 2021 at the Heads of State and Government level, has clearly expressed its willingness to engage the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to conduct a joint investigation into alleged human rights violations in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia during the law enforcement operation. To that effect, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia held a follow-up discussion with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission on the way forward on 11th March 2021 in line with the political guidance from the Chairperson of the AU Peace and Security Council. Accordingly, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission released a statement on the same day appreciating Ethiopia’s initiative and underlining the importance of engaging our own AU treaty bodies. Furthermore, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has written a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia accepting the proposal for a joint investigation. In response, the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia has written back to the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights commending its interest to engage and designating a focal institution.

It is, however, regrettable to note that the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights made a unilateral announcement on the establishment of a “Commission of Inquiry” which is completely outside the scope of the invitation by the government and lacks legal basis. While the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia was engaged in good faith to facilitate the necessary conditions for the joint investigation, the unilateral announcement of ACHPR on establishing a “Commission of Inquiry” undermines the cooperative spirit and the ongoing efforts of the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to formalize the modalities of the stated investigation. It is also inconsistent with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights as well as the Rules of Procedure of the Commission itself.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights as an African Union institution has an obligation to engage with member states in constructive and principled partnership. It still has the opportunity to rectify this unfortunate and unhelpful step and engage in good faith in a joint investigation which it has already accepted. Such unhelpful actions by the Commission will not advance the promotion and protection of human and peoples’ rights in the continent and will rather undermine mutual confidence with member states. By choosing to proceed in such a misguided direction, the Commission will only defeat the very purpose it is established for. The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia reiterates its readiness and once again calls upon the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights to immediately cease the process it launched which is not acknowledged by Ethiopia and engage with relevant authorities in Ethiopia to finalize the modalities regarding the proposed investigation.

Ethiopians to Go to Polls in June 2021


Ethiopia is one of the few African countries which has a very long history of constitutional practice. However, its experience on holding a multiparty election is not that aged as its constitutional practice.

In 1995, Ethiopia was able to hold the first multiparty elections in its history after two decades of military dictatorship and civil war. Henceforth, Ethiopia held five general elections. Those elections featured mixed characteristics in terms of competitiveness, fairness, and their level of public participation. Few of them showcased unprecedented participation by opposition parties and independent candidates and an unmatched level of political debate in the country. However, most of the past elections in Ethiopia had been characterized by the dominance of the ruling party-EPRDF.

Following the 2015 general elections, which once again experienced the complete domination of federal and local powers by the ruling party, Ethiopia got into a political turmoil that created a huge threat to the constitutional order of the country. Many argue that the absence of a diversified representation of ideas in the parliament was among the causes of the violent protest that erupted across the country and finally led to change of government due to the resignation of the then Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Hailemariam Desalegn.

In April 2018, H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali became the chairman of the ruling party and Prime Minister of the country. Since taking office, the Prime Minister initiated many reforms. In the political sphere, the reforms mainly aimed at widening the political space and build a solid institutional and legal foundation for enhancing the democratization process by amending the existing laws and regulations and introducing new ones. Furthermore, the government of Ethiopia has initiated profound reforms to establish a free and fair electoral system.

To this end, the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) has been reorganized in a manner that enables it to conduct a transparent system. The Board has revised the electoral law, paving the way for an election that is transparent, free, peaceful, democratic, and acceptable by the people. The Prime Minister has also appointed Ms. Birtukan Mideksa, a former political prisoner and exile, as Chairperson of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia, a move that demonstrated the government’s commitment to create a participatory and inclusive system towards making the upcoming elections free, fair, and democratic.

MS. Birtukan Mideksa swearing in as the head of Ethiopia’s National Election Board. (Photo credit: PMO, Ethiopia)

Ethiopia was slated to hold the 6th national and local elections in August 2020, when the world was struck by the covid-19 pandemic. This has led to the postponement of the elections, as promulgated by the Ethiopian parliament, until the time enough resilience is created to fight the pandemic. Within months, as the public’s awareness about the means of transmission of the coronavirus as well as the capabilities created in the country to fight the pandemic increased, the Ethiopian parliament passed a decision to hold the election by strictly adhering to the rules and regulations outlined by the Ministry of Health.

After undertaking extensive discussion with various concerned bodies on the preliminary election schedule, the National Election Board of Ethiopia unveiled the timetable for the 6th general election. Accordingly, Ethiopia will hold a parliamentary election on June 5, and administrative elections for the cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa on June12, 2021. Due to the current circumstances in the Tigray region, election has to be postponed to future schedule where an enabling environment will be created to do so.

Beginning from February to March 2021, 46 national and local political parties, and 125 independent candidates have been registered to participate in the election. These political parties have commenced their preparation; thus, most of them, including the incumbent, have unveiled their political manifesto, and kicked off election campaigns. Voters registration has also been finalized.

International and domestic civic society organizations that showed interest to play an observer role are registered and licensed by the NEBE. So far, 36 domestic Civil Society organizations and 134,109 observers have been licensed. The European Union is among the international actors that was invited to observe the upcoming election.

Even though the election atmosphere has been overshadowed by the surge in the spread of the pandemic, the public and competing political parties are demonstrating on determination to see the light at the end of the tunnel. As it will be the first general election to be held in the post-reform period, undoubtedly, the world’s eye would be on Ethiopia. The upcoming election would be an opportune moment to consolidate the reforms process in the country.

In his recent address to the regional Presidents of Ethiopia and the National Election Board leadership, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has expressed government’s commitment to holding a free, fair, democratic, and peaceful election. “Elections are a demonstration of building a democratic culture in which differences are addressed through the ballot and not by the bullet. Through the voting process, citizens exercise agency and actively participate in the building of a democratic process.” He said. Citing that the upcoming elections are consequential in Ethiopia’s democratization process, he urged all stakeholders to do their utmost in delivering on a successful and peaceful election.

Ethiopia follows a parliamentary democratic system where the Prime Minster will be elected from the party that won the majority seat in its lower house- the house of people’s representatives which has five hundred fourty seven seats.

Honorable Adem Farah, Speaker of the House of Federation of Ethiopia meets with the Honorable Yves Cruchten

A delegation led by Honorable Adem Farah, Speaker of the House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of #Ethiopia met with the Honorable Yves Cruchte, President of the Socialist Party, one of the coalition parties of #Luxembourg and Chair of Committee on Foreign and #European Affairs, Cooperation, Immigration and Asylum, at the Chamber of Deputies of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on June 11, 2021.

On this occasion, the Honorable Speaker delivered a message from H.E. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to H.E. Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. Furthermore, the Honorable Speaker briefed the Chair extensively on the current situation in Ethiopia, including the reform process taking place, the situation in #Tigray region as well as on the upcoming General #Election.

Honorable Cruchten on his part said that, Luxembourg as a neutral Country has been following the situation in Tigray region closely and expressed its concern and continued interest to support the humanitarian situation.

Besides giving a detailed briefing, the Honorable Speaker has also addressed questions with regards to investigation on alleged human rights abuses, ensuring access to humanitarian agencies in Tigray as well as the existing environment in which the national elections is taking place. The meeting was concluded by Honorable Cruchten promising to deliver the message of H.E. Abiy Ahmed to H.E. Xavier Bettel.

Speaker of House of Federation of Ethiopia Delivers Message of PM Abiy Ahmed to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium

Speaker of House of Federation of #Ethiopia Delivers On the 10th of June 2021, Honourable Adem Farah, Speaker of House of Federation of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has delivered the message from Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia to H.E. Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Belgium. The message was handed over through Honourable Thibaut Cécile, Deputy Speaker of the Federal Parliament of the Kingdom of Belgium.

At the occasion, Honourable Adem Farah briefed the Deputy Speaker on the current situation in Ethiopia, including the reform endeavour being underway, the situation in #Tigray region, on the preparation for upcoming national #election which is planned to take place on 21 June 2021, and the ongoing #GERD negotiations. The two speakers have also exchanged views on ways to enhance the parliament-to-parliament relations.

The spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gives the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing

Press Briefing Summary 10 June 2021
The spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (10 June 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy (with a special attention to the visit of the President of Kenya to Ethiopia to preside over the signing of the telecom operating licensing agreement and the high-level meeting of the federal government and humanitarian partners on Tigray), Economic diplomacy, citizen-centered diplomacy and capacity building activities.
I. #PoliticalDiplomacy
Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed and high-level Ethiopian government officials have warmly received H.E. Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya upon his arrival at Bole International Airport yesterday. The two leaders were present at the signing of the telecom operating licensing agreement between the Government of Ethiopia and – the Winning Consortium- the Global Partnership for Ethiopia (Safaricom, Sumitomo, Vodacom, Vodafone, and CDC Group)
• As Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said, the government kept its promise to end a decades-long monopoly in the sector, liberalize and open it up to both domestic and foreign investment a major policy shift in Ethiopia!
• As Minister of Finance Ahmed Shide said during the ceremony, the agreement is just an early step and Ethiopia will continue to work collaboratively with partners and investors to build a modern and open telecommunications sector to improve connectivity, productivity and economic growth in the country.
• The agreement will increase competition in the telecom market that will help people get better services with cheaper prices, enhance electronic-business, education, health, agriculture, finance & invite more investment to the country.
• The consortium paid $850 million for the license, is expected to introduce new services and infrastructure improvements.
• The investors will create up to 1.5 million new jobs in Ethiopia and bring $8.5 billion in investment over 10 years.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen has presided over the consultative meeting that aimed at assessing the progress achieved and the challenges observed regarding outstanding issues in Tigray that followed the law enforcement operation in the region. Ambassadors of partner countries, government officials, UN representatives, humanitarian partners, and Government officials, including Minister of Peace, H.E. Muferihat Kamil, Minister of Defence, H.E. Kenea Yadeta, Head of Tigray Region Administration, Dr. Abraham Belay, Director General of Information Network Security Agency, Dr. Shumete Gizaw, Commissioner for the National Disaster Risk Management Commission, Mr. Mitiku Kassa, and General Alemeshet Degefe have participated in the meeting. The main points during the meeting were:
• denying the progress achieved so far by sticking to unfounded claims is morally, politically, and legally unacceptable.
• The government, with a lion’s share, has addressed the humanitarian needs of 4.5 million people in the first round of aid while a total of 4.9 million people were reached in the second and third rounds.
• the government has taken the initiative to facilitate dialogue with the Amhara and Tigray regional states to resettle IDPs that were displaced from Western Tigray.
• Aside from establishing centers for mobile health services, 46.5% of the health centers in the region are made functional so far.
• some schools have been occupied by IDPs as makeshift shelters where the government is working to relocating them to better areas.
• The government is providing seeds and farming equipment to farmers, where 70%of the land has been made ready for cultivation involving 1.2 million farmers in the region.
• some factories in the region, including textile and cement factories have already started operation and exporting products (the textile factories, in this case).
• the military, the federal and regional justice systems are working in concert, where 60 suspected soldiers were brought to justice, of whom some are convicted and sentenced subsequently.
• among the challenges observed in the region, the most crucial ones are the unverified reports that misrepresented the facts on the ground and misunderstandings by humanitarian partners on the security concerns of military personnel at some checkpoints as facts for denial of access to the region.
• the process of withdrawing Eritrean troops has already begun.
• TPLF is not in a position to fight the Ethiopian Defence Forces although it sparks sporadic clashes at very few pocket areas.
• by causing troubles in some pocket areas, such as the West of Maichew, Bora, and Temben, the terrorist group has tried to impede access to humanitarian support envisaging famine in the areas as a political strategy to garner support from aggrieved people.
• The Ethiopian Defense Forces are well known for taking military discipline very seriously as witnessed in serving in various UN peacekeeping missions, and there is no reason for our soldiers to go wild and be lenient when it comes to protecting the well-being of our own people in Tigray.
• quests by the humanitarian agencies to possess gadgets that should only be restricted to military personnel are not acceptable.
• the government should have announced the misuse of privileges by some aid agencies that were caught while attempting to transport ammunition to the terrorist group and unduly repressing and firing Ethiopian staffers in their organizations.
• the federal and regional governments have been using their scarce resources to rebuild most of the infrastructures and public services, such as telecommunication, electricity, banking, and financial services that were destroyed by TPLF.
• So what the people of Tigray need now is material and financial support,
• The meeting also discussed the possibilities of opening Shire and Humera Airports, including the modalities required to extend visas granted to aid agencies.
In delivering concluding remarks, Mr. Demeke said the government will facilitate similar consultative platforms soon adding that it is committed to getting the region into normalcy by making an all-inclusive dialogue with stakeholders.
Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of Kenya arrived on Tuesday in Addis Ababa for a working visit to Ethiopia. Upon her arrival at Bole International Airport, the Cabinet Secretary was accorded a warm welcome by H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, State Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
State Minister H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien on Monday (June 07) warmly welcomed to his office, H.E. Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, Cabinet Secretary for Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kenya to discuss bilateral relations and issues of common concern between the two countries. Ambassador Redwan has briefed the Cabinet Secretary on critical issues in Ethiopia, particularly Ethiopia’s commitment to getting peaceful resolutions to the GERD negotiations and the Ethio-Sudan border dispute. He also said Ethiopia is committed to holding free, fair, transparent and credible general elections. Ambassador Raychelle Omamo, on her part, appreciated State Minister Redwan for the briefings and highlighted her country’s belief that issues of regional concerns should get resolutions under the principle of “African solutions to African problems.”
In a discussion held on Thursday (June 03, 2021) between Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahamoud Ali Youssouf and Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, Berhanu Tsegaye, the Minister reiterated that his government attaches higher importance to its ties with Ethiopia. Foreign Minister Mahamoud added, Ethiopia and Djibouti have a strong relationship that set an example for other neighboring countries. Minister Mahmoud affirmed his government’s readiness to upscale the ties to a high gear in multifaceted arrays. Ambassador Berhanu shared updates on developments giving particular emphasis to the situations in Tigray, the upcoming National Election and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Ethiopian Embassy in London, #UK has issued a statement on Allegations of the Use of “Starvation as a Weapon of War” in Tigray. It says, “With the Government’s continued provision of food assistance to the Region, allegations of starvation being used as a weapon of war are unfounded and politically motivated. The concoction of figures and stories to push a particular global narrative does not serve the people of Tigray in whose name the fabrications are spun for fundraising, relevance, and other interests.”
H.E. Ambassador Deriba Kuma has conferred with Mr. Tue Krarup-Pedersen, Acting Director for the Africa Policy and Development Department at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark. The two have had a candid discussion on national and regional issues of utmost importance notably on the humanitarian relief effort in the Tigray region, the upcoming general election in Ethiopia and the peace and security situation in the Horn of Africa.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Melaku Legesse presented on Friday (June 04) his credentials to the President of the Republic of Senegal, H.E. Macky Sall. In their discussion, President Macky Sall, mentioned the importance of solving the issues of GERD through dialogue and negotiation. The President also suggested the three countries (Ethiopia, Sudan, and Egypt) use the experience of the Senegal River Basin Development Organization (OMVS) which includes Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, and Senegal, and establishing cooperative management that serves the common goals of the riparian countries.
H.E. Ambassador Million Samuel, Ambassador-designate of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Estonia, resident in The Hague, The Netherlands, presented his Letter of Credence to H.E. Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Republic of Estonia on Thursday, June 03, 2021. Ambassador Million Samuel also met and held discussions with several Estonian officials during his stay in Tallinn, Estonia for the presentation of his credentials accrediting him as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the Republic of Estonia. In this connection, Ambassador Million met with Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Estonian parliament, Political Director at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Director of Middle East, Africa and Latin America in MFA, and Ambassador-at-large for Digital Affairs in MFA. Estonian officials have expressed their desire to enhance bilateral relations and to work closely with Ethiopia in understanding regional issues in light of Estonia’s current position as a non permanent member of the United Nation Security Council.
H.E. Ambassador Hassen Taju, Ambassador-designate of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Iraq, resident in Kuwait City, presented his Letter of Credence to H.E. Barham Salih, President of the Republic of Iraq on Tuesday (June 01).Following the ceremony of presentation of credentials, H.E. Ambassador Hassen and H.E. President Barham held a brief discussion on strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries. Ambassador Hassen briefed H.E. the President the current situation in Ethiopia, the trilateral negotiations on the GERD and other related issues of mutual concerns.
II. Updates on Tigray
• Education in Mekelle has already started. About 32 public and 30 private schools have resumed the teaching-learning process. Schools in other parts of Tigray will be opened soon.
• Agricultural activities are well underway in the region. But there are gaps between the demand for improved seeds and fertilizers which needs concerted efforts between stakeholders.
III. #Citizencentered diplomacy
Ethiopian Embassy in #Canada in collaboration with Alliance for #GERD in Canada, Alberta chapter raised more than 140,000 Canadian dollars in a fundraising event that was held on Saturday. Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian descent in Alberta have donated 25,000 Canadian dollars previously. Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Canada, H.E. Nassise Chali appreciated the ongoing fundraising campaign for the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam which raised $ 300,000 so far. Ambassador Nassise further stressed the need to stand together to fend off pressures that compromise the sovereignty of Ethiopia.
Ethiopian Ambassador in Kuwait, H.E. Hassen Taju has paid a visit to 22 Ethiopian domestic workers who are taking a sewing training in Kuwait that is provided by Ethiopian Community in Kuwait in collaboration with Sandigan Kuwait, a charity organization. The training is provided to the Ethiopians to help them achieve lifelong skills during their spare time. The Ambassador expressed his delight to see such encouraging initiatives and pledged to extend support from the Embassy.
A two-month fundraising and awareness campaign on GERD has been launched in the United Kingdom and Ireland under the theme, “GERD: Hope for Development and Growth”. The Ethiopian Reconciliation and Peace Coalition in the United Kingdom, the Defend Ethiopia Task Force, and civil society organizations in the United Kingdom and Ireland launched the campaign in collaboration with the Ethiopian Embassy in London.
1136 Ethiopians were repatriated from Saudi Arabia, and discussions are underway to repatriate Ethiopians stranded in Yemen.
IV. #EconomicDiplomacy
Ambassador Kassa Teklebirhan met with TOSHIKAZU “KAZ” NAMBU, Executive Vice President of Sumitomo Corporation. The Vice President expressed his happiness that Sumitomo Corporation won the award of a Full-Service Telecommunications License in Ethiopia along with its international partners. He also thanked the Government of Ethiopia for transparently handling the bidding process. Ambassador Kassa congratulated the corporation for winning the bid and extended his appeal that the corporation replicates the practice of expanding business and investment endeavors in sectors of its specialization in Japan, Asia, and Africa. The corporation vowed to invest more than two billion USD in the coming five years in the telecom sector.
The Ethiopian embassy in The Hague, the Netherlands has participated in the Annual Vakantiebeurs 2021 Virtual Tourism Exhibition that was held from 3 to 5 June in collaboration with National tour agencies like FKLM Tours, Ethiopian Traditions Travel and Semien Eco Tour. At the exhibition, the Embassy rented an advertising page, displayed videos and photographs highlighting Ethiopia’s history, culture, and natural attractions as well as providing visitors with up-to-date information on tourism activities in the country.
V. #CapacityBuilding
Staffers of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have paid a two-day visit to various institutions in Addis Ababa, including the Ethiopian Information Network Security Agency, Ministry of Defense Headquarters, Entoto Park, Meskel Square and Sheger Park Projects. Speaking at the conclusion of the visit, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano said the visit was organized to share successful experiences from the spectacular projects.
Researchers at the Institute of Strategic Affairs (ISA) have tabled the findings of two of their studies that probed into the opportunities and challenges of the upcoming general elections in Ethiopia. Moderating the session held at the premises of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, ISA Director General, H.E. Yohannes Buayalew said the studies are helpful not only in appreciating all the positive efforts of stakeholders but also in identifying major issues that need to be managed to accentuate ongoing efforts in building a democratic nation. The research findings indicated that maximizing opportunities and minimizing barriers to making the upcoming general elections free and fair is the responsibility of stakeholders ranging from competing political parties, the media, civic society, NEBE, security officers, and the public at large.

Speaker of House of Federation Delivers Message of PM Abiy Ahmed to the Presidents of the European Council and Commission

The speaker of the FDRE House of Federation, Honourable Adem Farah, has delivered the message of PM Abiy Ahmed to the President of the #EuropeanCouncil Charles Michel and the President of the #EuropeanCommission, Ursula von der Leyen, today on the 9th of June 2021.

PM Abiy’s message to President Von Der Leyen was handed over to EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, while the message to President Michel was handed over to Mr. Simon Mordue, his Chief Foreign Policy Advisor. Honourable Adem also met and discussed with #EU Commissioner for International Partnership (INTPA), Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarcic, and Mr. Stefano Sannino, Secretary General at the European External Action Service on issues of common concerns and interests.

The discussions with the EU officials focused on explaining efforts being made to undertake peaceful, free, and fair national #elections on the 21st of June 2021, #Ethiopia’s position on the ongoing #GERD negotiations, the situation in #Tigray, the efforts that are being made to address the humanitarian situation, and steps taken to redress Human Rights violation and other related issues.

EU officials have expressed their concerns and emphasised the need to further expedite access to humanitarian assistance in Tigray, commended the initial steps taken in the investigative process of human rights violations, and have noted the importance of the commencement of the joint investigations by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (#EHRC) and and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (#OHCHR).

The discussions with the EU institutions has helped to communicate the all rounded efforts underway through the transition process, including the upcoming national elections, the situation in Tigray, and the ongoing GERD negotiations.