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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.

The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia gives 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 today (02 June 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the situation in Tigray and the Ethiopia-U.S.A relations, Economic diplomacy and citizen-centered diplomatic activities. Here is summary of the Press Briefing,

I. #PoliticalDiplomacy

Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and H.E. Mr. Nasser Bourita, Foreign Minister of Morocco had held a virtual discussion on Tuesday (May 26) on ways to cement bilateral and multilateral ties between the two countries. Mr. Demeke also gave a briefing on current issues in Ethiopia, in particular the overall situation on the GERD construction and negotiation, the Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute, and the upcoming general elections.
The two sides agreed that Ethiopia and Morocco should expedite the implementation of the 12 agreements that were signed between them in various fields following the fruitful visit of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, King of Morocco in 2016.

Ethiopia and Sweden have held their bi-annual bilateral virtual consultations on Sunday (May 27) focusing on the relationship between the two countries, development cooperation, and the current situation in Ethiopia and the region.
State Minister for Political Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien, and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, H.E. Robert Rydberg led the discussions. The consultations widely covered issues on the humanitarian support in Tigray, the negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and the upcoming general elections in Ethiopia. The meeting noted:

•​the government has considerably expanded access to humanitarian support and intensified efforts to deliver food and non-food items to those in need in the region.
•​the international community should scale up humanitarian support since the federal government has been covering the lion’s share of the delivery of aid exhausting its meagre resources.
•​Sweden acknowledges the efforts of the Ethiopian Attorney General and the joint investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the UN OHCHR,
•​Ambassador Redwan expressed his country’s commitment to making the upcoming election free and fair while the Swedes expressed their confidence that it would be inclusive and transparent.
•​the border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan and the negotiations over the GERD should get peaceful resolutions.
•​Noting the institutional support to Ethiopia’s reform programs, Sweden stated that it is developing a country program for 2022-2026 to further strengthen development cooperation between the two countries.

It is recalled that Sweden and Ethiopia signed a MoU in 2016 to hold bilateral consultations bi-annually.

Ethiopia, along with Côte d’Ivoire, is elected as the Member of the UNESCO Committee of the 1970 Convention during the Sixth Meeting of the State parties to the 1970 Convention which was virtually held on from 25 -26 May 2021. The permanent Delegation of Ethiopia wishes to congratulate the re-elected members and also the newly-elected members of the Convention 1970, on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.

H.E. State Minister Ambassador Redwan Hussien held talks on Saturday (May 26) with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Qatar, H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdurahman Al-Thani on bilateral and regional issues. The delegation also met later with representatives of various Ethiopian Diaspora associations in Qatar to talk about the current situation in Ethiopia, in particular, the status of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, relations between Ethiopia and Qatar, including regional issues.

State Minister H.E. Tsion Teklu participated in a forum organized by the African Union titled, “High Level Virtual Mission on African Migrants workers stranded in Lebanon”. A proposal containing an action plan over the matter was submitted to be deliberated in relevant meetings of the commission.

The ambassador-designate of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Ghana, H.E. Hadera Abera Admassu has met and discussed with Resident Ambassadors South Africa, Sierra Leone and Kenya in Accra and AfCFTA Secretary-General. During his meetings with the distinguished Ambassadors, Ambassador Hadera explained the current situation in the country, the upcoming national election, the border issue with Sudan, the ongoing negotiation on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) as well as the need for cooperation and exchange of information on the African Continental Free Trade Area. He further underlined the need for the mobilization of support to Dr. Arkebe Okubay, the sole Candidate of the African Union for the position of UNIDO Director-General.

H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene delivered a public lecture on Ethiopia’s Foreign Policy at the CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels on Monday (28 of May 2021). In her lecture, Ambassador Hirut extensively discussed Ethiopia’s long history of foreign relations and diplomacy practice, its long-standing values of giving prime attention to African causes as well as its faith in multilateralism and collective security. Furthermore, the Ambassador addressed the audience regarding the current situation in Ethiopia and the Government’s undertakings to solve the challenge that the country faces.

H.E. Amb. Nebil Mahdi, Ethiopia’s Ambassador in South Sudan on Thursday (May 27) met with Gen. Santino Deng Wol, Chief of the Defense Forces of the Republic of South Sudan, and conferred on issues of common interest to the two countries.
The ambassador updated the CDF on the current affairs of Ethiopia which include the law enforcement operation and the subsequent humanitarian supports, and the Ethiopian government’s engagements towards regaining normalcy in the Tigray region, the GERD negotiation process, the Ethio-Sudan border dispute, and on the upcoming Elections in Ethiopia. Gen. Santino Deng Wol, on his part, asserted that Ethiopia’s contributions to his country are unforgettable. He also affirmed that South Sudan will not by any means harbor any elements or cooperate with forces that work against Ethiopia’s interests.

H.E. Ambassador Nebiat Getachew met with H.E. Professor Abdelbeski Benziane, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research of Algeria on May 27,2021 and discussed ways and means of further enhancing cooperation in the field of higher education and scientific research between Ethiopian and Algerian higher learning Institutions. In their discussion, Ambassador Nebiat noted that cooperation among higher learning Institutions of Africa is an important aspect of exchange of development experience and vehicle to further cement pan Africanism among African countries.

II. #Ethiopia-U.S.A relations and the situation in Tigray

• Ethiopia treasures its Relationship with the U.S. and believes that sanctions are not necessary for the U.S. to send its points across, particularly at this time where Ethiopians are preparing to exercise their democratic rights in the upcoming elections and also see the initial results of their labors on the GERD.

• We believe that misunderstandings over the cases that seem to shadow the vibrant Ethiopia-the U.S relationship would not last long.

• The government of Ethiopia will continue addressing the concerns of the U.S. and the international community regarding issues in the Tigray regional state, not only caring for the relationships but also out of its deep concern for the wellbeing of the people of Tigray.

• But it is also our concern that the international community respects matters that solely fall under our internal jurisdiction.

• In this regard, we would like to thank Senator Jim Inhofe, United States Senator from the state of Oklahoma, and his address to the Senate floor which basically touches upon two things

– The United States should not threat the federal government of Ethiopia on equal footing with a terrorist group (To make points clear here we can take the recent news that announced the assassination of the Mayor of Adigrat town by the terrorist group raising the number of Targeted assassinations of Tigray Provisional Administration Members to 23 deaths, 20 kidnappings and hospitalization of 4 of them)
– The government of Ethiopia is committed to bring all perpetrators of criminal acts in the region before justice

III. #EconomicDiplomacy

The Ethiopia-Oman Trade and Investment Virtual Forum aimed at exploring and promoting trade and investment opportunities between Ethiopia and Oman was held on Friday (May 25, 2021). The event featured speakers from high-level officials from ministries and chambers as well as more than 70 participants from investors, exporters, and traders across the agriculture, mining, and energy sectors both from Ethiopia and Oman.

Mr. Dawano Kedir, Deputy Head of Mission of the Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Beijing gave a public lecture at Beijing Foreign Studies University (BFSU) on May 24, 2021. The lecture noted the longstanding relationships between the Ethiopia and China. Mr. Dawano also highlighted the modern China-Africa cooperation in the 1950s and 60s where China was strongly supporting the anti-colonialism movements in many parts of the African continent. The discussion also touched upon the advantages of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA) in creating linkages between African countries.

IIII. #CitizenCentered Diplomacy

State Minister for Economic Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs H.E. Tsion Teklu held talks on Thursday (May 27) with Mr. Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, on addressing the multifaceted problems related to the issue of irregular migration in the east and the horn of Africa. During their discussion, Ms. Tsion gave briefings on the efforts made by the government of Ethiopia and concerned bodies to repatriate Ethiopian migrants stranded in various Middle Eastern countries.

Ethiopians and of people of Ethiopian descent living in Norway (Oslo), Italy (Rome) and Canada (Calgary), have made rallies protesting foreign intervention in Ethiopia and the undue pressures that Egypt and Sudan are trying to exert on the government of Ethiopia.

1147 Ethiopians were repatriated over the week from Saudi Arabia and Kenya.

Press Statement: On allegations of arbitrary arrest of IDPs in Shire

The Government of Ethiopia notes the statement issued by the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia about “the arbitrary arrest, beatings and other forms of ill-treatment of more than 200 people” in IDP camps located in Tsehaye and Adi Wonfito in Shire town (Tigray Region) on 24 May 2021.

The Government of Ethiopia believes that the necessary investigation will have to be undertaken to verify the facts in relation to the above-mentioned allegation.

The Government of Ethiopia would like to reiterate to the United Nations that it abides by its obligations under international humanitarian law and human rights law, including those international guiding principles on IDPs. It is also fully committed to the protection of civilians in situations of armed conflict.

Accordingly, the Government of Ethiopia has been exerting every possible effort to ensure the safety and security of IDPs who are hosted either at temporary shelters or living with relatives.

As the camps are well protected and safe for IDPs in the region, the Government of Ethiopia does not believe that the allegations reflect facts on the ground. Notwithstanding this, the Government of Ethiopia would like to assure the United Nations that it is fully committed to taking appropriate measures in response to any arbitrary arrest or ill-treatment of IDPs should those allegations be found accurate based on investigations by appropriate bodies to probe into the matter.

Spokesperson Office

28 May 2021

H.E.Ambassador Hirut Zemene delivers a public lecture on Ethiopia’s Foreign Policy

H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene delivered a public lecture on Ethiopia’s Foreign Policy at the CERIS-ULB Diplomatic School of Brussels, today the 28th of May 2021.

The lecture was opened with an introductory remark by H.E. Ambassador Jan de Bock, President of the CERIS-ULB diplomatic School.
In his remarks Ambassador De Bock praised Ethiopia’s crucial role in the Horn of Africa and the entire continent.

In her lecture, Ambassador Hirut extensively discussed Ethiopia’s long history of foreign relations and diplomacy practice, its long-standing values of giving prime attention to African causes as well as its faith in multilateralism and collective security.

Furthermore, Ambassador addressed the audience regarding the current situation in Ethiopia and the Government’s undertakings to solve the challenge that the country faces.

The public lecture was attended by Academic heads of the University, Professors as well as students of the Diplomatic School.

Spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia gives the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing

Spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (25 May 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, Statements issued protesting decisions to infringe upon Ethiopia’s sovereignty,Press Freedomand diplomatic activities related to citizens and the economy.
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The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia wishes all Africans a #HappyAfrica Day. Every year on 25 May, we not only commemorate the founding of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), the forerunner of the #AfricanUnion but remember what each of the member states contributes to creating a uniquely African color! The relationship between Ethiopia, the people of Ethiopia and our African brothers and sisters before, during, and after the formation of the Organization stood the taste of time. We treasure our attachment to the Organization and continue to cherish Africa’s diversity and have absolute confidence in our capacity to give Solutions to our own Problems.

Press Briefing Summary
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I. #PoliticalDiplomacy

H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has received today (May 24) at his office Mr. Nick Dyer, the UK’s Special Envoy for Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Affairs. During their discussion, the two sides covered a range of topics of common concern in the Tigray region. Mr. Demeke reiterated the rehabilitation and humanitarian supports, including infrastructure restoration efforts that the government has been undertaking in the region.

H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, received at his office Mr.Hameed Nuru, the newly appointed Director for World Food Program (WFP) office and representative to AU and UNECA. The Deputy Prime Minister congratulated WFP for winning the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 for its efforts to support people who are endangered due to man-made conflicts and natural disasters. He also praised the role played by the World Food Program (WFP) in providing humanitarian assistance to affected people in Tigray by refraining from unnecessarily politicizing the matter.

Deputy Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen has participated in a webinar organized by Ethiopian embassies accredited to neighboring countries and the great lakes region jointly with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia. Present at the meeting and delivering remarks, Honourable Deng Dau Deng, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the Republic of South Sudan said the GERD is a peace project that will benefit all in the region. With this understanding, he said the South Sudan parliament will soon ratify the Nile basin Cooperative Framework Agreement (CFA), which outlines rights and obligations for the development of the Nile Basin water resources.

In related news H.E. Demeke Mekonnen has delivered a keynote address at a webinar event co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ethiopian Embassy in Canada and Alliance for GERD in Canada on the topic of “The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD): an opportunity for cooperation or a cause for confrontation?”. H.E. Demeke Mekonnen stressed that the dam provides an exceptional opportunity for cooperation and regional economic integration.

H.E. Ambassador Deriba Kuma has held a virtual meeting with Ms. Elisabeth Schwabe-Hansen, Head of the Horn of Africa and West Africa Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. Ambassador Deriba updated the Head of the department on the recent developments both in Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa region. The Ambassador particularly emphasized the enhanced humanitarian relief efforts that the government is undertaking in the Tigray region.

Ethiopia and Brazil have made their second bilateral political consultation meeting covering a range of bilateral, regional, and multilateral issues of common concern. State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien, and his Brazilian counterpart, H.E. Kenneth Da Nobrega have led the meeting. During the meeting, the two sides

• reflected on the performance of signed agreements during the first consultative meeting in 2018 and further assessed new venues of cooperation.
• assessed the Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Agreement which was signed to encourage investments and bilateral economic cooperation.
• assessed agreements to cooperate in peace-keeping missions and judicial matters related to police work and transfer of sentenced persons
• State Minister Redwan Hussien said Ethiopia is keen to take the relationship between the two countries to a strategic partnership level.
• Discussing regional issues, Ambassador Redwan has presented a briefing on critical issues that matter in the Horn of Africa and the role Ethiopia has been playing to forge a strong and peaceful relationship with its neighbours.
• Speaking about constructions of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and the tripartite negotiation, Ambassador Redwan said Egypt and Sudan are trying to deny Ethiopia its right to equitably and fairly utilize its water resources.
• Ambassador Kenneth Da Nobrega, said Brazil understands Ethiopia’s critical role in Africa and wants to create strong ties with the country to boost relations with the rest of the continent.
• Also present at the meeting, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to Brazil, H.E. Yalew Abate Reta reiterated attractive investment opportunities in Ethiopia and called on Brazilian investors to invest in agro-processing, textile, and manufacturing sectors.
• The two sides concluded their meeting pledging to increase cooperation on multilateral levels and cement their longstanding relationships.

H.E. Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations has presented a webinar explanation over the scope and meaning of Senate Resolution 97, the status of the GERD negotiations and the upcoming general election to Ethiopians living in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut. The Ambassador and participants underscored the need to forge a united front to protect the country’s interests.

Special Envoy, Ambassador Extraordinary, and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the State of Kuwait, H.E. Hssen Taju presented his Letters of Credence to the Kuwaiti Amir, His Highness Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in a ceremony held at the Bayan Palace yesterday.

II. #Statements
The Ministry has issued three press statements over the Week; two on misrepresentations in the media and one on the visa restrictions on Ethiopian officials by the United States. In related news Ethiopian embassy in Washington D.C. has also written a statement to refute claims stated to pass Senate Resolution 97.

A. The first two statements were about the alleged use of chemical weapons in Tigray. We have made it clear to the world that the matter is the latest round of smear campaigns by the media which is unsubstantiated as usual. We have made it clear that Ethiopia has not employed and will never use such banned munitions because it takes its international obligations under the Chemical Weapons Convention extremely seriously. As a victim of chemical weapons attack itself, Ethiopia also condemns in the strongest terms the use of chemical weapons by anyone anywhere.

B. Ethiopian Embassy in Washington Statement on Senate Resolution 97

The Ethiopian Embassy expressed its disappointment over passage of Senate Resolution 97 by the U.S. Senate on May 19, 2021 and stressed the critical importance of strengthening the bilateral security collaboration to combat terrorism in the Horn of Africa. For over 120 years, Ethiopia and the United States have worked as strong partners and allies in ensuring and enhancing stability and security in the Horn of Africa, a relationship that can serve as a model for the rest of Africa. It raised its concerns over the following points:

1. The Resolution creates a misplaced equivalency between the Government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in calling for a ceasefire
2. The Resolution’s assertion of ‘lack of humanitarian access- in the Tigray region is contrary to fact.
3. The Resolution overlooks the fact that the infrastructure for public services was deliberately destroyed by the TPLF forces and that the Ethiopian Government has moved swiftly to restore such services at great cost.
4. The Resolution calls for -release of all opposition leaders, supporters, activists, and journalists detained on the basis of their political activity. There are no such detainees in Ethiopia. The Resolution regrettably intrudes on matters that are under consideration by the Ethiopian judiciary.
5. The Resolution’s call for national dialogue and reconciliation mirrors the effort launched following the enactment of Proclamation 1102/2018 in February 2019. The Reconciliation Commission and its 41 members, including prominent members of opposition parties, former high level political leaders, diverse religious figures, intellectuals, philanthropists, and others, continues its work today.
6. The Resolution’s call for an Independent and transparent investigation of alleged human rights abuses’ is currently well underway jointly between the UN and the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission. The Ethiopian Government is aggressively pursuing human rights violators and has convicted three soldiers and charged 28 others suspected of killing civilians in the Tigray region.

C. Press Statement: On the U.S. Decision to Impose Visa Restrictions on Ethiopian Officials

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia finds it unfortunate to learn about the decision by the United States to continue exerting undue pressure on Ethiopia by imposing visa restrictions on Ethiopian officials. This is in addition to its previous decisions to restrict economic and security assistance to Ethiopia. In this regard, the Ethiopian Government would like to state the following points:

• the Ethiopian government was expecting support and understanding and not such kind of ill-advised measures to unnecessarily overshadow the elections.
• the implications of the visa restrictions and other related measures taken earlier will seriously undermine this longstanding and important bilateral relationship.
• the tendency by the U.S. administration to treat the Ethiopian Government on an equal footing with the TPLF, a terrorist group is regrettable
• The Ethiopian government has been consciously working to promote national dialogue through a series of engagements with wider sections of the Ethiopian society but it should be understood that the government cannot be compelled to sit down and negotiate with the TPLF. Ethiopia should not be told how to run and manage its internal affairs.
• As far as alleged human rights abuses committed in the Tigray region are concerned, the Ethiopian government is fulfilling its commitment to hold those responsible accountable
• the Ethiopian government has not only demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, but it has also provided full and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to operate in all parts of the region.
• the decision by the U.S. administration to impose visa restrictions and other measures is not only regrettable but will also seriously harm and undermine the constructive spirit of engagement and the significant gains achieved on the ground, not to mention the centuries-old people-to-people relationships.

III. #Press Freedom and Freedom of Expression

• Ethiopia, under the new administration, showed commitment to set many journalists free from unjust imprisonment, undertook legal reforms to improve the media landscape and expand unprecedented access to information and publications (print, social and broadcast media) like never before
• The expulsion of the New York Times journalist is attributed to the expiration of his work permit in Ethiopia a few months ago. His expulsion should have happened a few months ago.
• According to the head of the Oromia Regional State Communication Bureau, the death of the OBN journalist in Wollega is attributable to the act of the recently parliament-designated terrorist Shene group operating in the area. They were not happy about what he was reporting about them and they used to send him death threats.
• More than 82 foreign journalists have been given access to the Tigray region
• Ethiopia expects foreign journalists to respect the professional ethics of journalism and above all the laws of the land and the terms and conditions of the work permits in the country

IV. #EconomicDiplomacy

The Consulate General of Ethiopia in Los Angeles in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia hosted a virtual pre-investment meeting on Thursday (May 20). This meeting aimed to encourage the American companies’ representatives, residing on the West Coast of the United States of America, to enable them to explore and invest in Ethiopia and to have a general overview of the investment opportunities and incentives and packages in energy, agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, and other priority areas of investment in Ethiopia available for potential business companies.

H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday attended the inauguration ceremony of the first berth of the new Lamu Port- South Sudan-Ethiopia Transport Corridor project (LAPSSET) that was launched in 2012. Present at the occasion, Ethiopian Ambassador to Kenya, H.E. Meles Alem said Ethiopia would do its level best for the success of the project which will boost regional trade coupled with other infrastructure projects that created linkages between the two countries.

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the People’s Republic of China in collaboration with Beijing Chengjia Culture Communications Co., Ltd. held Ethiopian Coffee Promotion Ceremony at the Ethiopian Embassy. During the ceremony, Deputy Head of Mission (DHM), Ambassador Dawano Kedir noted that Ethiopia and China have a long and multifaceted relationship which resulted in a very strong and successful partnership. He said, over the years, Ethiopian coffee is gaining more market share in the trade exchange between the two countries. Though the Chinese market has the potential, the export to the country of Ethiopian coffee was only around 4,000 tons in 2019.

V. #Citizen-centered diplomacy

The DFEND ETHIOPIA Task Force in the United Kingdom, in collaboration with Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian descent in Europe, North America, and Ethiopia, staged an online protest against infringements on Ethiopia’s sovereignty. The “hands off Ethiopia” rally drew more than 500 participants.

1136 Ethiopians were repatriated from Saudi Arabia over the week

 

Press Statement: On the U.S. Decision to Impose Visa Restrictions on Ethiopian Officials

The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia finds it unfortunate to learn about the decision by the United States to continue exerting undue pressure on Ethiopia by imposing visa restrictions on Ethiopian officials. This is in addition to its previous decisions to restrict economic and security assistance to Ethiopia. In this regard, the Ethiopian Government would like to state the following points:

This decision came at a time when the Ethiopian Government has been engaging positively and constructively with the U.S. administration on issues of common concern. This was the spirit with which the Ethiopian Government welcomed the new U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa, Mr. Jeffrey Feltman, who met and held extensive consultations with senior government officials, including the Prime Minister.

It also sends a wrong signal at a time when Ethiopia is gearing up to hold national elections, which is expected to usher in a new political dispensation in the country. The 6th National Election would pave the way for an inclusive dialogue once a new government assumed office. Hence, at this important juncture, the Ethiopian government was expecting support and understanding and not such kind of ill-advised measures to unnecessarily overshadow the elections.

Ethiopia attaches great importance to its historic and friendly relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time. That is why the government finds it extremely regrettable that the implications of the visa restrictions and other related measures taken earlier will seriously undermine this longstanding and important bilateral relationship.

What is even more saddening is the tendency by the U.S. administration to treat the Ethiopian Government on an equal footing with the TPLF, which was designated as a terrorist organization by the House of Peoples’ Representative two weeks ago. There is nothing more revealing than this to understand the misguided approach by the administration.

The Ethiopian government has been consciously working to promote national dialogue through a series of engagements with wider sections of the Ethiopian society not because it was pushed from outside, but because it believes that this is the right thing to do to build the necessary national consensus in the country and chart out a better way forward. But it should be understood that the government cannot be compelled to sit down and negotiate with the TPLF, which has already been labeled as a terrorist organization, and any sort of attempt to resuscitate the terrorist group would be counterproductive and untenable.

As the Ethiopian Government has made it clear, time and again, the attempt by the U.S. administration to meddle in its internal affairs, is not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable. Ethiopia should not be told how to run and manage its internal affairs.

As far as alleged human rights abuses committed in the Tigray region are concerned, the Ethiopian government is fulfilling its commitment to hold those responsible accountable. The Federal Attorney General’s Office has announced the outcome of its investigative work and the important steps taken towards ensuring accountability and justice. The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) have already embarked on their joint independent investigation. Upon the invitation of the Ethiopian government, the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights (ACHPR) is also undertaking its investigations.
Furthermore, the Ethiopian government has not only demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray, but it has also provided full and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to operate in all parts of the region. It’s been doing all it can by mustering its meager resources and that of partners to reach out to all people in dire need of urgent assistance. The humanitarian actors operating on the ground know full well that the challenge at hand is related to issues of capacity and additional resources and not so much about access.

After the series of engagements with international partners, including the U.S., and the tangible progress made in addressing some of the prevailing challenges, the decision by the U.S. administration to impose visa restrictions and other measures is not only regrettable but will also seriously harm and undermine the constructive spirit of engagement and the significant gains achieved on the ground, not to mention the centuries-old people-to-people relationships.

If such a resolve to meddle in our internal affairs and undermining the century-old bilateral ties continues unabated, the government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia will be forced to reassess its relations with the United States, which might have implications beyond our bilateral relationship.

The Ethiopian government will not be deterred by this unfortunate decision of the U.S. administration. It will continue its relentless efforts to overcome current challenges and lead the country on the path of lasting peace and prosperity. No doubt, the task ahead is daunting, but with the support and unity of our people, we remain confident that we shall overcome our difficulties and realize the hopes and aspirations of generations of Ethiopians for a peaceful and prosperous Ethiopia.

Spokesperson Office
24 May 2021