The Ethiopia-European Union (EU) has been jointly convened by Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen and EU Ambassador to Ethiopia Johan Borgstam today.
The joint consultative meeting has focused on Ethio-EU cooperation, latest developments in Tigray, human rights protection and upcoming Ethiopian elections.
Addressing the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen said the permanent consultative meeting of EU and Ethiopia is based on the Cotonou agreement and the strategic partnership agreement signed between Ethiopia and the EU in 2016.
EU Member countries which have been represented on the consultative meeting appreciated the mechanisms Ethiopia has followed to mitigate the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic on its economy.
They further stressed need to bolster coordinated efforts to improve the humanitarian assistance in Tigray and called the government to further emphasize the agricultural practices in the region, and commended legal measures underway to hold those suspected over the alleged violation of human rights accountable.
Representatives of member countries also appreciated the joint legal process underway in partnership with Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and and the EU Human Rights Institution to investigate independent investigations into allegations of human rights abuses.
On the other hand, the countries reiterated continued support to efforts of Ethiopia in addressing issues related to migration and human trafficking areas.
They further appreciated the steps Ethiopia has taken to restructure the election board in an independent manner calling for further efforts to ensure that the electoral process does not face shortage of logistics.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, to his part, stated that Ethiopia has regitred better results in attracting foreign investment despite some challenges related to unrest in some parts of the country and prevalence of the pandemic.
Legal instruments are being introduced in line with creating a conducive investment climate in the country, adding that a special national forum has been put in place to address bottlenecks faced by investors. He added that member countries of the EU have to utilize such a forum to address challenges in the investment sector. Demeke appreciated EU’s support for Ethiopia in preventing and controling the pandemic.
Recalling the commitment of the government in giving international organizations unfettered access to Tigray, Demeke indicated that aid works are restricted only in some pocket areas over security matters. He said that it does not mean that there are limitations in terms of access for humanitarian activities in the region.
Some numeric information circulated regarding people with emergency humanitarian needs is overstated because they do not consider people who have been provided with special resources and those embraced in the Safety Net Program. Civilians-Military structure has been structured to fast track humanitarian assistance, he noted.
Demeke said the government has prioritized the agricultural sector in the region and is delivering all the necessary inputs, he remarked. He stated that Eritrean soldiers have started withdrawing from the Tigray region.
The Committee led by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been undertaking a wide range of activities to reinstate IDPs before the rainy season starts, he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke further indicated that the Attorney General, Federal Police Commission and the Tigray Interim Administration are investigating into alleged human rights abuses and holding accountable those who are found guilty of the crime.