Spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today to the media with a special focus on the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray and activities related to the GERD besides other major diplomatic activities over the week.
I. Political Diplomacy
H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, and H.E. State Minister Ambassador Redwan Hussein gave a briefing to ambassadors and representatives of international organisations on the rationale of declaring a unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray.
The following are the major points
• The ceasefire was a bold and magnanimous decision that would benefit the people of Tigray.
• although the government’s declaration for the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray took many by surprise, the decision was not taken abruptly, the current government of Ethiopia if elected, was contemplating the importance of declaring a ceasefire and holding an inclusive dialogue with relevant stakeholders after the election, including innocent rank and file members of the TPLF.
• the international community should push with a concerted effort for the realisation of the humanitarian ceasefire and urge the other side to abide by it.
• unless the terrorist element in the region is forced to accept the ceasefire, We cannot force organisations to continue giving their services, such as flights, banking, and telecommunication if we fail to guarantee the protection of their lives. The other party has to stop belligerence for that to happen.
• . What the government guarantee at this time is to make sure that all of the humanitarian supports are safely delivered to humanitarian actors to the borders of the Tigray region.
• the government is committed to supporting the UN-EHRC joint investigations on the alleged atrocities committed in the region
• the government is ready to work closely with humanitarian operators in their noble mission.
Major reasons for the declaration of the ceasefire are the following (According to Amb. Redwan)
• most of the political and military leaders of the TPLF have been either killed or imprisoned (protracting the conflict just to apprehend the remaining few TPLF leaders is not feasible)
• the Ethiopian government had to call on the ceasefire to save innocents who were used by the criminal members as human shields.
• the people in the region should use the farming season undisturbed.
• to give chances for humanitarian actors to save more lives
• the first receivers of the brunt of the conflict are the people of Tigray who deserve peace and who need a peaceful solution to the problem.
Latest Developments (Based on information gathered from Fact Check)
• Since Monday July 5, 2021 the Federal government has granted flight permission for all interested parties to provide humanitarian services in the Tigray region.
• Rejecting the humanitarian ceasefire enacted in support of farmers to seize the planting season, the terrorist group TPLF has destroyed the Tekeze Bridge intentionally to limit assistance route into the region. It also hoped to block access to ENDF and to force aid organizations to airdrop, with less scrutiny for their cargoes. Meanwhile, ENDF mobilising vehicle-launched armoured bridge & giving bridge military protection.
• Federal government enacted a humanitarian ceasefire, yet TPLF’s continued belligerence indicates Tigrayans considered supportive of the Government being killed in the region. Continued calls by the criminal clique to engage in combat not shunned by international media & community.
• The TPLF publicly vowed to attack the Amhara region and pursue Eritrean forces crossing the borders
• 400,000 quintals of seeds had been stored in Mekelle, well beyond the needs of the farmers in the Tigray region.
Ambassador Dina Mufti
A. H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia met in his office on Wednesday ambassadors and diplomats of the Nile riparian states in Ethiopia for a briefing on the latest status of the GERD negotiations. The meeting noted:
• the latest attempts made by Sudan and Egypt to take the GERD issue to the UN Peace and Security Council by mobilizing the League of the Arab States would unnecessarily internationalise and securitise the matter, leaves a dangerous precedent and takes the negotiation process away from the African Union contrary to solving African problems through African-led mechanisms
• the GERD is a development project which does not fall under the mandate of the Security Council and called on the Council to respect the ongoing AU-led trilateral negotiations and process.
• the riparian countries need to forge a common front in opposing the approach taken by the downstream states, which undermines the role played by the African Union and accentuates the colonial and monopolistic claims of the two countries over the resource.
• the Nile River and the tripartite states are in Africa so the AU should be left to undertake the negotiation process
• the UNSC has no mandate to decide on the GERD that is purely a development project.
B. Ethiopia rejects the unwelcome meddling by the League of Arab States on the matter of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) following the League’s submission of a letter to the UN Security Council and UN General Assembly to intervene in the matter.
• Ethiopia is disappointed by the Arab League for addressing the UN on a matter that does not fall within its purview.
• The League of Arab States has a reputation for its unfettered and unconditional support to any claim Egypt has presented on the issue of the Nile, the letter adds.
• The approach followed by the League risks undermining the friendly and cooperative relations between AU and the Arab League since the trilateral negotiation on the GERD is underway under the auspices of the African Union (AU), the letter adds.
• the AU, as a common organization for Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan, offers the tripartite a platform to negotiate and reach a win-win outcome guided by the conviction of finding “African solutions to Africa’s challenges.”
• Ethiopia is engaging in the trilateral negotiations in good faith and continuing its utmost commitment to make the AU-led process a success and calls on the two lower riparian countries of the Nile to remain faithful to the ongoing African Union-led negotiation.
• Ethiopia called on the international community to encourage Egypt and Sudan to abide by the accepted principles of international law on the utilization of transboundary water resources.
H.E Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia spoke over the phone with Foreign Affairs Minister of South Korea, H.E MR. CHUNG EUI-YONG. During the meeting, Mr. Demeke appreciated the longstanding relationship between the two countries and called on to further strengthen it. He also spoke about the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire that the Government of Ethiopia has declared recently and its importance in letting farmers employ the planting season undisturbed by conflict. The Korean Minister invited Ethiopia to participate in the United Nations Peace Keeping Operations (UNPKO) Ministerial conference that South Korea plans to host in December 2021. The Deputy Prime Minister announced Ethiopia’s acceptance of the invitation and suggested that the two countries hold High-level Joint Ministerial Committee consultations on the margins of the Conference.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a telephone conversation with Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Lind on current affairs. He said the Ethiopian government has declared a ceasefire in order to prevent the humanitarian crisis and economic destruction in Tigray State. He said the TPLF terrorist group should work together to end the conflict and create a favorable environment for the region and the people.
The Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya refuted the report made by the Nation on 5th July, 2021 claiming that the Ethiopian Embassy in Kenya is among 30 to be closed. Commending its strong working relation with the Media Group and pledging to provide the media with reliable information, the Embassy underlined that the story of the closure of the mission made by the outlet is false and wild guess. The embassy said, “Ethiopian neighbouring countries such as Kenya remains to be the priority to the Ethiopian Foreign Policy.” It is recalled that H.E. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made a remark during his address to the parliament that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia may have to rearrange the structure of some of its missions to let the country get what it expects from its diplomatic activities.
H.E Amb. Alemtsehay met Eng. Ibrahim Uwizeye, the Minister of Water, Energy and Mineral of the Republic of Burundi, and discussed the GERD issue on July 2, 2021. The Minister said Burundi is waiting for the completion of the dam to purchase electricity.
H.E. Ambassador Taye Atske-Selassie Permanent representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations made remarks during a Security Council discussion on the situation in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. He said that the decision for humanitarian ceasefire was reached after a concerted deliberation with various stakeholders and partners and expressed his hope that this magnanimous and far-sighted decision will not be wasted by the irresponsible conduct of the TPLF group.”
H.E Ambassador Mulu Solomon Bezuneh, Special Envoy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Poland (Resident in Germany) presented her Credentials to H.E Mr. Andrzej Duda, President of the Republic of Poland.
H.E. Ambassador Yalew A. Reta, Ambassador-designate of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to the Republic of Colombia, resident in Brazil, presented his Letter of Credence to H.E Iván Duque Márquez, President of the Republic of Colombia in a ceremony held at Casa de Nariño on Wednesday, 30 June 2021.
Ethiopia’s Ambassador to South Sudan, Nebil Mahdi, met with the Minister of Environment and Forestry, Josephine Napwen Cosmas, to discuss the implementation of this year’s green legacy initiative program in South Sudan.
II. Economic Diplomacy
A regular meeting of the National Coalition Forum was held to address the bottlenecks faced by foreign investors in Ethiopia. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, who chaired the forum, said investment problems in all parts of the country, should be addressed promptly with polishing the accountability and monitoring system. State Minister H.E. Tsion Teklu, on her part, spoke in detail on the major challenges that investors who are in Ethiopia are facing based on their own accounts.
Ethio-Djibouti Livestock Export Promotion Forum kicked off on Sunday (July 4, 2021) attracting scores of high-level officials from each side, several experts from relevant stakeholders as well as dozens of exporters in the sector. The Forum was aimed at transfiguring the conventional & costly ways of doing the livestock export business.
Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kuwait, H.E. Hassan Taju held talks with Kuwaiti Minister of Petroleum and Education, Dr. Abdullatif Al-Faris. During the meeting, the two countries discussed ways to strengthen cooperation in the sector based on Ethiopia’s demand for oil products.
III. Citizen centred Diplomacy
We have repatriated 17, 123 Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia.
Ethiopian Missions in Kuwait, Australia, Tanzania, Bahrain, Sudan, Doha, held discussions (some face to face and some online) with Ethiopians living in the stated areas, various public associations and organizations on current national issues, including the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire and the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
The Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels has held a program dedicated to express gratitude for the relentless support extended by the community to national calls all year round.
H.E. Ambassador Hirut Zemene, on the occasion, paid tribute to the community’s engagement in mobilizing advocacy efforts for various national issues as well as raising funds including for the GERD project, the COVID 19 pandemic, humanitarian support to the needy community and to the Gebeta le Hager eco-tourism projects.
The Embassy of Ethiopia in The Hague has secured Possession of a set of historical artefacts- three medieval illuminated Ethiopic manuscripts, dating before the 15th century and two Coptic textile fragments from an earlier period that were due to be sold in the Netherlands. The artefacts were about to be presented to auction at Venduehuis der Notarissen in the Netherlands on 25th June 2021.