Spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today to the media with a special focus on the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray and activities related to the GERD besides other major diplomatic activities over the week.
I. Political Diplomacy
Somalia, Djibouti, the AU and China and Nigeria have sent congratulatory messages to Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed for the landslide win he and the Prosperity Party have registered in the 6th General elections. They affirmed to work closely with the new administration and strengthen relationships.
H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia had a meeting on Monday (July 20) with H.E. Ms. Annette Weber, European Union special representative for the Horn of Africa. The two sides have discussed the 6th general elections in Ethiopia, the filling of the GERD and the ongoing tripartite negotiation, the humanitarian ceasefire in Tigray, and the Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute. EU Special Representative Anita Weber, for her part, said the EU wants the joint investigation into human rights abuses to be expedited. She also expressed EU’s concerns over the possibility of a humanitarian crisis in the Tigray region. Mr. Demeke called on the European Union (EU) to understand that Ethiopia has a role in the stability of the volatile region and that the EU should act in a positive manner instead of putting unnecessary pressure on the Ethiopian government.
H.E Demeke Mekonnen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia met on Friday (July 16) with the UN Undersecretary-General for the Department of operational support, Mr. Atual Khare. He assured the Secretary-General of the continued support of Ethiopia to the UN while MR. Atual, on his part, appreciated the role of Ethiopia in the UN peacekeeping mission.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a telephone conversation with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Malawi, Hon Eisenhower Mkaka. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister said Ethiopia and Malawi have a long history of diplomatic relations which further needs to be strengthened in various fields. He also briefed Hon Eisenhower Mkaka about the ongoing joint UN-EHRC investigation on alleged crimes committed in Tigray which should not be interfered with unnecessary pressures. The Malawian Foreign Minister, on his part, thanked Mr. Demeke for his briefing on the current situation in the country and expressed his desire to strengthen relations between the two countries.
H.E. Ambassador Woineshet Tadesse has presented her letters of credentials on Monday (July 12) to President Felix Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. During the occasion, the two sides exchanged views on ways to give new impetus to the longstanding relationships between the two countries. Ambassador Woinshet seized the opportunity to thank the people and government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo for the remarks made by the DRC representative in the recently held UNSC meeting on the GERD.
The Ministry has issued a press statement on a resolution by the European Union on the situation of human rights in Tigray adopted at the 47th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Ethiopia rejects this resolution because: it is premature, politically motivated and it interferes with and undermines the integrity of the ongoing UN-EHRC joint investigations and other investigations by domestic institutions (the military justice system, regional law enforcement authorities and federal investigators and prosecutors). Constructive engagement, rather than a hasty decision by the Council, would have contributed to expeditiously bring the ongoing efforts to a successful conclusion. Those who were involved in committing crimes will be brought to justice and punished to the full extent of the law.
Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kenya, H.E. Meles Alem, met William Ruto, the Deputy President of Kenya, to discuss bilateral and regional issues. Mr. Ruto commended the fraternal relationships between the two countries and the brotherly people of Ethiopia and Kenya. He told Ambassador Meles that the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia is of great benefit not only to Ethiopia but also to countries in the region, including Kenya.He said the disputes between Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan over the GERD should be resolved through the African Union’s framework. Ambassador Meles thanked Kenya for its support to Ethiopia during the recently held UN Security Council meeting.
643 members of the 2nd battalion of the Ethiopian peace Keeping force under the UNMISS in Bor, were awarded the United Nations Peacekeeping Medals. Ethiopia contributes more than 2000 troops under the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS). During the award ceremony UNMISS Deputy Force Commander, Maj. General Md Main Ullah Chowdhury and Ambassador Nebil, appreciated the endurance and determination of the troops in achieving their mission in very challenging and arduous conditions.
II. On GERD
The second filling of the dam has been successfully completed prior to its scheduled time. Ethiopians are celebrating not because they fill the dam but it shows to the world that the truth has prevailed. The truth is that the filling of the dam would not significantly harm downstream countries. Neither Egypt nor Sudan has suffered harm because of it. Instead we believe that the filling has saved Sudan from excessive flooding. Had Egypt and Sudan been Negotiating in good faith, we would have reached a win agreement a long time ago.
III. On Tigray
A. Statement by H.E. Ambassador Redwan
State Minister H.E. Redwan Hussien has explained the major issues that threatened to stall the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire declared by the Federal Government. He expressed his confidence that the people of Ethiopia would show the usual resilience to surpass current problems. He also called upon the following issues to the attention of the international community:
- The TPLF attacked the ENDF, who were departing Tigray respecting the humanitarian ceasefire, but no one condemned this heinous act since it could have aborted the peace process at its inception
- Right from the moment that the government has declared the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire, the international media, and some corners have started belittling it and discrediting the genuine efforts of the Federal Government
- Despite visible evidence on the TPLF’s use of child soldiers, the international community chose to overlook the matter
- TPLF’s repeated provocations against the Amhara and Afar Regions were not condemned for overshadowing the purposes of the ceasefire
- The destructive rhetoric of some corners didn’t abate even after the declaration of the Unilateral Humanitarian Ceasefire by the Ethiopian government.
- The Ethiopian government’s commitment to cooperate with humanitarians after the ceasefire was not adequately appreciated/acknowledged
- Some in the West, at an individual level too, have continued their personal and one-sided rhetoric in attacking the government’s handling of the situation in Tigray and the ceasefire
- Some humanitarians are more active in disseminating unjustified propaganda than supporting the people who need help in the Tigray Region
B. Humanitarian assistance
- Approved by the Ethiopian government, the World Food Program (WFP) has launched a humanitarian flight from Addis Ababa to Mekelle on Saturday. Six people were on board with money to fund humanitarian operations of the organization in the region, pay salaries of humanitarian workers in 21 woredas, and wages for day laborers.
- The Ethiopian government has continued its commitment to provide humanitarian assistance to the Tigray region. To this end, the government has brought in a number of trucks loaded with humanitarian aid from the port of Djibouti heading to the region. As of 15 July 2021, trucks from Semera to Mekelle have commenced transporting 7649 quintals (764,900Kgs) of food and 7300 quintals (730,000Kgs) of non-food items.
- The Junta unfortunately has tried to constrain the process launching an attack in Afar. In the past three days, TPLF committed terrorist attacks, blocking the road on 189 trucks carrying food and non-food aid to Tigray via Afar where the vehicles are forced to stop. The attacks took place in Ferentisu Yalo Woreda; zone four of the Afar Region. We call on the international community to force the terrorist group to respect the ceasefire.
- In accordance with the decision of the unilateral humanitarian ceasefire by the Government, and in order to expedite agricultural activities, Ministry of Agriculture, MOA, has given permission for 10,359 quintals (1,035,900 Kgs) of seeds to be transported to Tigray.
- Even though some international humanitarian organizations proposed to utilize air dropping humanitarian assistance, they were told such a request is unacceptable.
- It has to be reminded that up to now 70 percent of the humanitarian assistance was covered from the Government’s coffer while the remaining 30 per cent from donors.
C. Eritrean Refugees
Agency for Refugees and Returnees Affairs has issued a statement on the situation of Eritrean Refugees in Tigray. It said,
- reports are emerging from different directions regarding attacks on Eritrean refugees in the Tigray region. To set the record straight, the attack began back in November 2020, as the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF) forces targeted two of the refugee camps, namely Shimelba and Hitsats and seriously affected the refugee operation. As a result, the two camps were out of service, and the refugees were scattered to the surroundings.
- to give a lasting solution to the refugees that left Shimelba and Hitsats, in coordination with UNHCR Ethiopia, a new camp establishment is in progress at North Gondar Zone of Dabat Woreda in a locality called Alem-Wach, though the support that is anticipated from the international community has not been forthcoming.
- Despite these encouraging efforts, it is becoming clear that TPLF has rejected the Government’s humanitarian cease-fire and engaging in fresh attacks including in refugee-hosting areas. As a result, Eritrean refugees in Mai-aini and Adi-harush camps feel that they are in imminent danger and in need of immediate solutions in the form of relocation to safer locations, grant to urban status and third-country solutions.
IIII. Economic Diplomacy
- Investment Promotion forums were held in Jakarta, Riyadh, Dar es Salaam, Muscat, Dakar, Doha and Chonchin. Our missions in the stated areas have promoted investment opportunities in Ethiopia. The participating companies expressed interest in engaging in textile and garment, leather products, dairy products, petroleum and energy, pharmaceuticals and automotive factories.
V. Citizen centered Diplomacy
- Our embassy in South Africa has been closely following what is happening in the country lately and its effect on our citizens residing there. No causality was reported so far except indiscriminate destruction of properties.
- Over 139 flights were made over mid-June up to the beginning of July and 41,873 of our citizens were repatriated. The government of Ethiopia and KSA are having a series of discussions on the protection of the rights of the remaining Ethiopian citizens in Saudi Arabia
- Ethiopian Consulate in Beirut in collaboration with Ethiopian Community organized an event to acknowledge the contributions of Ethiopian Community associations and subgroups and other organizations that have actively been involved in support of vulnerable Ethiopians during the COVID -19 pandemic and the 2010/21 economic crisis in Lebanon, in addition to their contribution to projects of national importance. At this event, H.E Tsion Teklu State Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia has delivered a ‘thank you’ audio message to the participants.
VI. Capacity Building
The Ethiopian Civil Service University, in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ethiopian Foreign Relation Service Institute, graduated 153 Diplomats in Diplomatic and International Relations. The graduates received their postgraduate diplomas from State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano.