he spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (16 September 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the ongoing institutional reform at the Ministry, Economic diplomacy, and citizen-cantered diplomacy.
I. Political Diplomacy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has issued a press release regarding the statement of the president of the UN Security Council on the matter of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). According to the statement,
➢ Ethiopia welcomes council members for directing the matter to the African Union led trilateral negotiation.
➢ It is regrettable that the Council pronounces itself over an issue of water rights and development that is outside of its mandate.
➢ Tunisia’s historic misstep in advancing the Council’s pronouncement undermines its solemn responsibility as a rotating member of the UNSC on an African seat.
➢ Ethiopia believes the time is now for the Nile Basin countries to brace for and foster basin-wide cooperation.
➢ Ethiopia will not recognise any claim that may be raised on the basis of the presidential statement.
H.E. Demeke Mekonnen held talks with the H.E. Christophe Lutundula, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of DRC. The discussion between the two sides focused on the continuation of the tripartite negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, which has been held under the leadership of the African Union.
On the occasion, Mr. Demeke,
• Expressed his appreciation for the positive role played by the government of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the trilateral negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.
• Affirmed Ethiopia’s determination to continue the tripartite talks at any given time.
• Expressed Ethiopia’s strong desire for equitable and reasonable water use, noting that the Nile Basin should be a source of cooperation than conflict.
• Said the previous trilateral negotiations had yielded tangible results, adding that it would be possible to narrow the differences between the three countries by resuming the negotiation as soon as possible.
Mr. Christophe Lutundula, for his part,
• Expressed his delight over the peacefully concluded national elections in Ethiopia.
• Lauded Ethiopia’s commitment to continue participating in the GERD talks.
• The Democratic Republic of Congo strongly believes in the principle of “African solution to Africa’s problems” which should guide the Renaissance Dam talks that could start in the near future.
• He also said that the tripartite negotiation could be started soon.
The first EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight arrived in Tigray on Saturday (September 11) carrying 7 metric tons of nutritional supplies. The flight carried UNICEF’s critical supplies, such as ready-to-use therapeutic food for severely malnourished children.
Newly appointed ambassadors of Australia and Denmark and UNHCR Country Representative presented copy of their letters of credentials to the Director-General for protocol affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia.
FDRE Ambassador to Tanzania H.E. Yonas Youssef held talks with Tanzania’s Director General of African Affairs, Naim Aziz on current affairs and bilateral relations. During the meeting, the two countries agreed to move the agreements signed between the two countries to a higher level.
H.E. Ambassador Alemtsehay Meserert, Ethiopia’s Ambassador in Uganda had held a discussion with Ambassador J. Mugume & Ambassador F. Beyendeza from Ugandan Council on Foreign Relations – a think tank group. They have agreed to hold joint dialogues and forums on contemporary issues – The Nile river, climate change, peace and security matters.
H. E. Ambassador Demitu Hambisa Bonsa met with Deputy Foreign Minister of the Hellenic Republic H.E. Ambassador Themistoklis Demiris in Athens and discussed bilateral relations, the current situation in Ethiopia, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, and the Ethio-Sudanese border conflict. The two sides highlighted the long-lasting bilateral relations between the two countries and agreed to work together to further strengthen the relationship.
II. Institutional Reform
➢ A 10-day capacity building training for the Ministry’s staff kicked off on Monday (September 13) at Africa Leadership Excellence Academy. All of the staffers of the Ministry will take part in the training in two rounds. In delivering remarks at the opening session of the Academy, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia addressed 5 of the most significant issues regarding the reform that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is undertaking right now.
1. What factors were considered in undertaking the institutional reform of the Ministry?
• Lessons learned from working experiences of the institution in the past/ taking the good and dropping the undesirable
• The need to transform our diplomatic activities
• The need to follow new modelling in appointing diplomats
• The need to measure the performance of our missions in line with the purpose of their establishment
• The need to restructure missions based on our needs
• new realities in the international arena
• to adapt to changes in the diplomatic landscape which is being affected by the digital
• to enforce austerity measures and control excessive expenditure in foreign currency to withstand the economic burden of the pandemic
• to adopt a merit-based approach in appointing diplomats
2. Why did the Ministry of Foreign Affairs recall its diplomats?
• Setting aside all the misconceptions and rumours out there, we believe that the Ministry is a dynamic institution with highly skilled and knowledgeable professionals
• But things that should be improved are identified and the gap should be filled with the reform that we are planning to undertake. Some diplomatic activities need a departure from the conventional way of doing things and this needs new restructuring of the diplomatic community in the institution.
3. How/why do we restructure the Headquarter and the missions?
• We are determined to scale up the country’s influence in the diplomatic arena
• The Head office should be restructured in a way that it can effectively lead and coordinate all of our missions
• Synergy should be created among newcomers and career diplomats in the institution
4. What is the Purpose of the training?
• To let our diplomats be acquainted with issues tailored to the needs of the upcoming institutional reform
5. What were the challenges encountered and lessons acquired from the experience of implementing the national level reform programs at various institutions that could serve as inputs for the reform at the Ministry?
• The government has been grappling with the misinformation and disinformation campaigns regarding the conflict in Tigray, the Ethio-Sudan border dispute and the 6th General elections. The issues have threatened to curb our reforms in various sectors. One of the victims of such campaigns is the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. With the formation of the newly elected government and the institutional reform we are undertaking in the Ministry, lessons learned to curb such campaigns would be applied.
➢ The fourth day of Capacity building training given for staff of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia at Africa Leadership Excellence Academy commenced today (September 16, 2021). State minister H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano chaired the second day session, where Dr. Mihret Debebe, the renowned psychiatrist and motivational speaker, spoke on “New Mindset and New Diplomacy.” Dr. Miheret’s presentation highlighted the importance of developing a new mindset to change the Modus Operandi of individuals, institutions, and the country to better register commendable results in the diplomatic arena. The lively training ended with a Question and answer session.
➢ The Third day training focused on the process of the national level reform from various angles. Dr. Yonas Zewde from the Prime Minister’s Office spoke on the importance of national reform and achievements and challenges encountered during the past three years. Commissioner of Planning and Development Commission, Dr. Fitsum Assefa, also spoke on the ten-year economic plan of the country and institutional as well as structural reforms. H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussein has chaired the sessions.
III. Citizen cantered diplomacy
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia pledged to take care of and cover the costs for necessities for 15 children over the new Ethiopian Year (2014). State Minister H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano said the Ministry has to continue to be exemplary in playing its social responsibility roles, besides defending Ethiopia’s interests at the diplomatic fronts. With the new additions, the total number of Children covered under this package will be 29.
Ethiopians living in Kuwait donated more than Birr 1,100,000.00 (One Million One Hundred Thousand) in support of our heroic Defense Force. Upon receiving the collected money from coordinators, Ambassador Hassan lauded the active participation of Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian descent in Kuwait in responding positively to national development calls and said that the financial support raised by such a movement is a source of pride for our victorious army.
More than $ 10,000 worth of bonds were purchased in Bahrain following the successful completion of the second phase filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. The participants reaffirmed their commitment to continue supporting the government until the completion of the Renaissance Dam.
A total of 1804 of Ethiopians are repatriated from Saudi Arabia, 1364 from Zambia, 50 from Yemen, 268 from Yemen and 122 from Malawi.
IV. Economic Diplomacy
H.E Oumer Husen, Minister of Agriculture and Natural resources, participated in the CII India Africa agriculture and food processing summit that was held on Sept 14-15, 2021. In his speech H.E emphasised that Agriculture is one of the best prospect sectors for growth in Ethiopia and the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) has embarked on a ten-year economic development plan (2021-2030) where agriculture is on the top of priority sectors. He also underlined the potential of Ethiopia’s agriculture and possible cooperation with India in terms of experience sharing and further collaboration.
H.E. Ambassador Demitu Hambisa Bonsa had a fruitful discussion with the Hellenic Republic Athens Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mr. Nilolaos Vasiliou Administrative Committee International Relations. The main points of the discussion were focused on the immense investment opportunities and incentives in Ethiopia and the vast trade potential that Ethiopia offers to the Greek businessmen through the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The newly formed FDRE Land Bank and Development Corporation had an online discussion with various international developers and mission leaders in the tourism and hospitality sectors in Africa, Asia, the Pacific, Europe, the Middle East, and the US. The Corporation presented areas of cooperation with stakeholders in the tourism and hospitality sectors.
The FDRE Consulate General in Mumbai has sent two representatives of INDORAMA Venture Limited, an Indian company, to Ethiopia. They are having talks with officials from Ethiopian Investment Commission and Industrial Parks Corporation. The company is interested in investing ten million US dollars in the chemical manufacturing and packaging materials sector in Ethiopia.