The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (January 20, 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the AU meetings, statements issued by the ministry as well as citizen-centred diplomatic and capacity-building activities over the week.
I. Political Diplomacy
Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Prime Minister of Canada, H.E. Justin Trudeau had a conversation over the week that cantered on current national and regional matters. The prime Minister said Ethiopia, as always, appreciates a supportive and all-weather friend like Canada.”
H.E Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia had a phone conversation over the week with H.E Ms. Anniken Huitfeldt, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Norway. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,
• Briefed the Norwegian Foreign Minister about the recent positive developments that have been taking place in Ethiopia.
• Congratulated the Foreign Minister for Norway’s Presidency at the United Nations Security Council for the month of January,
• Expressed hope that Norway will use its presidency to constructively carry a well-balanced and reasonable outlook which will reflect the commendable measures that the Ethiopian government has been undertaking lately.
• Stated his firm belief that Norway would play a positive role during its presidency at the United Nations Security Council.
The Foreign Minister of Norway, on her part,
• Thanked the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister for his briefing and appreciated the progress the Ethiopian government has been able to register so far.
• Affirmed that Norway does not have any plans to make Ethiopia an agenda at the United Nations.
Côte d’Ivoire’s newly appointed ambassador to Ethiopia has presented his copy of credentials to the Deputy Chief of Protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Alemayehu. The ambassadors said the two countries need to work hard to create strong trade between the two countries and create cooperation between their higher education institutions.
H.E. Ambassador Demitu Hambisa had held a discussion with Mr. Francesco Rocca, the President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Italian Red Cross (IRC). Ambassador Demitu briefed the President about current situations in Ethiopia, especially the destruction of Hospitals and health centres by the orchestrated attack of the TPLF which left the health system in a dire condition. Appreciating the consistent assistance of IFRC and IRC, Ambassador Demitu requested the president to increase the support in the areas of emergency medicines, kits, medical equipment, and related items. The President, on his side, said that he is closely following the recent development in Ethiopia and pledged to continue supporting emergency health needs in Ethiopia.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has issued three statements about the attack in the United Arab Emirates, Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s unacceptable behaviour, and the TPLF’s actions that actually blocked humanitarian supply in the Tigray region.
On Tuesday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia issued a statement expressing condolences over the deaths and injuries of civilians in the United Arab Emirates due to the terrorist attacks that targeted civilian establishments. The statement strongly condemned the cowardly act that neither the norms of humanity nor international law could justify. Ethiopia also reaffirmed, in the statement, its solidarity and with the government and people of the United Arab Emirates at this trying incident.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also issued a statement debunking claims of the TPLF that accused the government of Ethiopia of blocking aid to the Tigray region on accounts of lack of transport, fuel, and humanitarian corridors. The statement said, the government could not implement new arrangements (such as the establishment of buffer zones for swapping of drivers) due to the TPLF’s intransigence. It also called on the international community to question the whereabouts of the more than 1010 trucks and the oil reserves that the government has left in Tigray declaring the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire in June 2021. Most importantly, the TPLF is attacking Abala, the humanitarian corridor to Tigray. The group has continued shelling Abala even after the issuance of the statement. This demonstrates the group’s empty rhetoric for peace and commitment to hold the people of Tigray as hostages for its selfish ends.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote a letter to the Executive Board of the World Health Organization (WHO), stating objection against the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Adhanom’s moral, legal and professional standing that threatened the WHO’s organizational integrity. The letter accused the WHO Director-General, of spreading misinformation, financially supporting the TPLF, interfering in the internal affairs of Ethiopia and its relations with the state of Eritrea, meddling in the working procedures of the UN and the WHO offices in Ethiopia in ways that compromised the interests of Ethiopia.
III. AU meetings
Prime Minister H.E. Dr. Abiy Ahmed issued a statement over the week appreciating the decision of the African Union member states to convene the 35th AU Summit in person in Addis Ababa. The Prime Minister said Ethiopia is pleased with the current leaders of Africa for acknowledging Ethiopia’s historic and unwavering stance to advance African and Pan-African agendas. The implications of hosting the summit in Addis Abeba are immense. The Prime Minister said it would demonstrate peace and stability in the country. It would also create opportunities for us to restate our stance on the African Agenda and practically exhibit Ethiopia’s good status to our African allies. He also called on all Ethiopians to make the summit a success.
On related news, the national committee established to oversee preparations to host the African Union Ministerial and Heads of State and Government Sessions has convened on Tuesday for deliberations. Stakeholders from various sectors took part in the meeting and tabled their plans ranging from protocol services and accommodations to safety issues for further deliberations. Presiding over the committee, State Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Burtukan Ayano, highlighted the importance of providing meticulous services to guests, as always. She said the in-person A.U. sessions are opportunities for Ethiopians to show the peaceful and stable realities on the ground, contrary to the relentless campaigns that sought to tarnish the country’s image.
The 40th Ordinary Session of the Executive Council (Ministerial Session) and the 35th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the A.U. (Heads of State and Government Session) will take place from 02-06 February 2022. The A.U. Heads of State and Government declared the Year 2022 as THE YEAR OF NUTRITION under the theme, “Building Resilience in Nutrition on the African Continent: Accelerate the Human Capital, Social and Economic Development”.
IV. Citizen Centred Diplomacy
Ethiopians in the Diaspora and friends of Ethiopia who have responded to the Great Ethiopian Home Coming Challenge have continued to participate in various activities aimed to rehabilitate affected people and reconstruct damaged properties due to the conflict. As they did in Lalibela, they have flocked to Gondar city to celebrate epiphany with a record-breaking number of Ethiopian Airlines flights. They have also raised more than $800,000 at a fundraising event where Prime Miniter Abiy Ahmed took part in. Making remarks at the event, the Prime Minister has asked the Ethiopians in the Diaspora to create meaningful organizations that can create impacts on policies made in their countries of residence to favour Ethiopia. He also urged them to actively participate in development projects in Ethiopia that may not require their physical presence, such as investing in the Gorgora Ecolodge.
State Minister, H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussein, and members of the Defend Ethiopia Task Force met over the week to discuss current issues and ways to augment the group’s pro-Ethiopia activities. Defend Ethiopia Taskforce is a vibrant and active group established to voice Ethiopia’s concerns in solidarity with the multifaceted interests of the country, with a presence in 12 European countries. During their meeting, Ambassador Redwan,
• Appreciated the Defend Ethiopia Taskforce for mobilizing Ethiopians in the Diaspora to guard Ethiopia’s interests and voice concerns against the propagation of malicious information on the media and undue external pressures on Ethiopia.
• Said the Task Force can get timely information on national issues from the FDRE Communication Service and the Ethiopian Diaspora Agency.
• Addressed the Task Force on the release of the country’s high-profile political figures. He said the individuals were released upon the request of the public prosecutor of the Ministry of Justice for a withdrawal of charges. He also said the release of the individuals would furnish a fertile ground to having a dynamic Dialogue and reach a lasting peace by addressing significant issues in the country.
• Ambassador Redwan also spoke on the government’s decision to halt its military advance into the Tigray region. He said the decision denied the TPLF’s intent to implicate the government for abuses and justify external intervention under various pretexts.
Members of the Defend Ethiopia Task Force, on their part,
• Commended the ambassador for addressing their concerns and pledged to continue their activities in mobilizing Ethiopians in the Diaspora in support of Ethiopia.
• Following their visits to Chifra and Melee in the Afar region, members of the Task Force pledged to rebuild a health centre destroyed by the TPLF, including support to members of the Ethiopian military.
Ethiopians living in Sudan have raised $ 31,193 to help resettle Ethiopians displaced by the TPLF terrorist attack. The support came from community associations, religious institutions, development associations, the NoMore public participants and individuals.
The Consul General of Ethiopia in Bahrain, H.E. Jemal Beker, held talks with Ethiopian community leaders in Bahrain on current affairs in the country. The ambassador said Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origins in the Diaspora are appreciated for the multifaceted support they have given to the government and people of Ethiopia. He said Ethiopians in the Diaspora are expected to continue their support to overcome challenges and maintain the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country in a sustainable manner. Members of the Ethiopian community in Bahrain, for their part, said they are committed to stand with the people and government of Ethiopia to support efforts for ensuring lasting peace.
V. Capacity Building
The Office of Women and Social Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has completed a capacity-building training it has run for two rounds for female employees. The Head of the Office of Women and Social Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Zenebu Tadesse on the occasion said continuous and capacity-building training is needed for women to be effective and competitive in all fields of endeavour. According to the ambassador, women’s personal readiness and motivation are paramount in order to increase women’s capacity and competitiveness.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has provided training on diplomatic rights and protections (including, the workings of diplomatic institutions in accordance with international law and treaty) to service-providing and other relevant institutions. The one-day training was aimed at modernizing and securing the services that the Ministry has been providing in the sector. Opening the training, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, said Addis Ababa is the third-largest diplomatic community in the world and the Ministry needs to improve the quality of service delivery by addressing shortcomings in the sector through training and discussions.