H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, and Her.E. Ms. Ann Linde, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, spoke over the phone today (November 19) regarding the status of the law enforcement operation underway in Tigray.
Mr. Demeke addressed Ms. Ann Linde’s concerns over the possibilities of negotiation between the federal government of Ethiopia and TPLF, communication and power supplies in the region, and humanitarian works to the displaced and vulnerable people due to the operation.
Mr. Demeke highlighted how the federal government went too far in soothing relations with the TPLF junta since the reformist Prime Minister assumed power.
He said the government gave ample chances to TPLF to actively participate in the newly structured political dispensation in which the junta stubbornly refused to take part.
Ousted from power, the junta got itself busy masterminding violent actions through financing, organizing, and deploying extremist groups in every corner of the country, he said.
The TPLF junta also defied the constitutional order by conducting elections beyond its mandate, he added.
The attack on the Northern Command of the Ethiopian Defense Forces by the TPLF clique was the last straw that compelled the government to take swift actions against the junta, Mr. Demeke said.
Mr. Demeke underscored that Ethiopia appreciates the international community for urging the two sides to negotiate.
But, he said, the government is not interested to negotiate with criminals, and it has resolved to bring the TPLF junta to justice and restore the constitutional order through the ongoing operation.
The government of Ethiopia is working with international agencies to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced people and vulnerable ones in the region, in addition to restoring communication and banking services which were initially disrupted by the actions of the junta, he said.
During their conversation, Mr. Demeke said Ethiopia attaches high importance to its long-standing relations with Sweden.
He appreciated Sweden for maintaining significant development cooperation assistance to Ethiopia and commended its support to the ongoing reform programs in Ethiopia.