FM Demeke Holds Phone Talks With Norwegian and Austrian Counterparts (December 1, 2020)

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Demeke Mekonnen, today spoke over the phone with Foreign Ministers of Norway and Austria, Marie Eriksen and Alexander Schallenberg, respectively.

In a one-to-one discussion he had with the ministers, Demeke spoke at length about the latest situations of the law enforcement operation in Tigray and the humanitarian assistance that the government is providing to civilians.

He said since the law enforcement measure in Tigray is completed, the task ahead is to commence the reconstruction and make sure that people who have fled return back to their homes.

Responding to the Norwegian and Austrian Minister’s quest for the possibility of negotiations with the TPLF clique, Demeke said the government has always been willing to negotiate, but not with criminals.

He underlined that the government has continued negotiating with the Transitional Government of Tigray and the elders and all the relevant bodies in Tigray on a number of issues, including trust building and harmonization.

In addressing concerns over issues of humanitarian assistance, Demeke said a delegation composed of the relevant federal government entities and international humanitarian agencies was dispatched to the areas to assess the humanitarian needs on the ground.

The government, based on recommendations of those needs assessment studies, has started to operate accordingly, he said.

He also said the international humanitarian agencies unceasing support to the government’s efforts in this regard is commendable, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Regarding people who have fled to Sudan, he said the government has set up four camps to receive those who will voluntarily come back to their country.

The Ministers have thanked Demeke for taking his time to address their concerns and affirmed to provide all the necessary support to assist the Ethiopian government’s efforts in addressing humanitarian issues.

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