The spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (23 March 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, issues on the #Ethiopia-#Sudan border issue, the #GERD negotiation, Humanitarian aid in Tigray, economic diplomacy, and citizen-centered diplomatic activities.
I. Political Diplomacy
- Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen discussed with the U.S. Delegation led by Senator Chris Coons the humanitarian situation in Tigray and other key issues on Saturday. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke outlined a range of issues including the military operation in Tigray, the border dispute with Sudan, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. President Joe Biden has dispatched Coons to Ethiopia to meet with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Chairperson of the African Union Commission too.
- H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia made remarks on Thursday (March 18) at the ministerial meeting of the AUSPC on Peacekeeping in Africa: Emerging challenges and critical lessons for sustainable Peacekeeping operations. He called for a judicious appreciation of Africa’s contribution to the maintenance of international peace and security. He also highlighted the following as a unified message from Africa:
- peacekeeping missions in Africa must be participatory,
- Stronger coordination amongst African Troop Contributing Countries within the continent, the United Nations and possible bilateral or regional cooperation mechanisms should be present in the face of challenges
- Effective and meaningful participation of women in peace operations must be prioritized.
- Institutional capacity building through peacebuilding programs should be promoted
- H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia received the Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to Ethiopia, H.E. Sami Jamil Abdullahi, at his office on Wednesday (March 17) to discuss issues of mutual concern. Their discussions included the humanitarian support efforts in the Tigray region, the Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute and the issue of Ethiopian migrants in Saudi Arabia, where they have underscored the importance of cooperation in repatriating Ethiopian citizens.
- Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen opened a symposium held on Wednesday (March 17), on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the commencement of the construction of the #GERD. He said completing the flagship project is a matter of assuring the sovereignty of the country. Organized by the Ministry of Water, Irrigation, and Energy of #Ethiopia (MoWIE), the symposium aimed to review the progress of the construction of the dam, consult on developments with stakeholders and review the status of the tripartite negotiation. It is underscored that Ethiopia remains committed to a win-win solution for all & strongly believes in African solutions to African problems.
- Ethiopia and China conducted their first political consultation virtually on Tuesday (16 March 2021). The consultation was led by State Minister, H.E. Redwan Hussein, and Assistant Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Deng Li. The meeting covered an exchange of information on domestic political developments, Ethiopia-China strategic partnership, and cooperation in regional and international issues of mutual interest. The humanitarian efforts in Tigray, China’s principled stance on Ethiopia’s case in the UN Peace and Security Council, the GERD, the Ethio-Sudan border, and the importance of upscaling bilateral relations in economic issues were the main points discussed.
- In a statement to the Kenyan media and international media based in Nairobi, Ambassador of Ethiopia to Kenya, H.E. Ambassador Meles Alem, called on the media to balanced coverage of the current situation in Ethiopia. He urged the media to consider changes and report accordingly focusing on the humanitarian situation in Tigray following the unfettered access granted to the media and humanitarians in the region, the Ethio-Sudan border issue and the GERD negotiations.
- Ethiopia believes in the AU-led dialogue over the Grand Renaissance Dam and hopes the negotiations will commence soon under DRC’s leadership
- Ethiopia remains confident that the AU-led negotiation over the GERD is an ongoing process that will provide win-win solutions to the negotiating parties
- Concerns over the future course of the negotiations, such as the Quartet, have never been officially submitted to Ethiopia.
- The African Union-led negotiation should be finalized before any other option is pursued to solve outstanding issues among the tripartite regarding the GERD.
- In this regard, In case any other option is deemed necessary, the issue shall be treated by pertinent provisions of the Tripartite Declaration of Principles on GERD.
- The government of Ethiopia has been consistent regarding the need to solve the Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute through negotiation. We will negotiate with Sudan as long as it pulls back its troops out of Ethiopian territories it has occupied as of November 06, 2020
- We urge the international community to continue to pressure Sudan to act respecting international law and according to the provisions of the 1972 Notes it has exchanged with Ethiopia
IV. Humanitarian support in Tigray
- The Ethiopian government, despite the unfettered access granted to Humanitarians, is still covering 2/3 of the total delivery of aid in the region.
- The Government of Ethiopia reiterates its call to the international community to scale up humanitarian support in the Tigray region
V. Economic Diplomacy
- The Consulate General in Los Angeles in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia hosted a virtual Investment Forum on Thursday March 18, 2021 to strengthen business ties between Ethiopia and the United States of America. The forum made a successful deliberation on Home-Grown Economic Reform and the Business Environment in Ethiopia, including opportunities & incentives in the priority sectors the country provides to foreign investors. In the investment forum more than 108 company representatives, representatives of chambers of commerce and organizations were represented.
- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Trade of Canada in collaboration with Ethiopia’s and Senegal’s embassy in Canada has co-hosted the first Canada-Africa Clean Growth Symposium which was held virtually for three days from March 15-17, 2021. It aimed at exploring innovative policies to grow robust low-carbon economies and build resilience to climate change and future shocks, fostering cooperation, research and international alliances devoted to clean growth as well as mobilizing capital for clean and low-carbon growth and energy in Africa. The symposium has brought together over 1400 people and included participation from 35 African countries, giving access to highlight potential investment and commercial opportunities on developing clean growth solutions and creating job opportunities. At the end of the Symposium which was held for three days from March 15-17, 2021, Canada’s Minister of International Development, Hon. Karina Gould announced Canada’s contribution of $132.9 million to establish the Canada-African Development Bank Climate Fund, which aims to enhance women’s economic rights and participation in climate action, and to mobilize private capital to fill the climate investment gap in Africa.
- H.E. Ambassador Jemal Beker, Head of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia’s Mission in the Kingdom of Bahrain met with H.E. Mr. Sameer Nass, Chairman of Chamber of Bahrain Commerce and Industry on 16th March 2021 and discussed a range of issues on how to strengthen trade, investment, tourism, and business between the two countries. To this end, H.E. Ambassador Jemal Beker explained the reform Ethiopia is undertaking that creates huge opportunities for FDI through market liberalization, incentive packages, easy rules and regulations of investment, availability of a one-shop service, abundant trained skilled labor and competitive clean energy. On the other side, H.E. Mr. Sameer Nass appreciated the presentation and said availed opportunities in various sectors such as agriculture, agro-processing, manufacturing, and services are of their interest to pursue in Ethiopia.
VI. Citizen Centered Diplomacy
- Ethiopians living in Taif and Hawaya cities of Saudi Arabia have granted 581 thousand birr to support the Ethiopian Defense Forces that were subjected to a surprise attack from the TPLF clique. In handing over the collected funds to diplomats of the Ethiopian consulate in Jeddah, Community representatives pledged to continue to support the Defense forces and other nationwide projects, such as the GERD. Representatives of the Ethiopian Consulate in Jeddah thanked the community members for the encouraging support and expressed hope that the community in Ta’if and Hawaya would continue supporting critical projects in the country.
- About 1426 Ethiopians have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia and Yemen over the week. Among these, 143 are from Yemen.
VII. Diaspora Participation
- Ethiopians in living in Los Angeles and Khartoum have made public rallies supporting the law enforcement operation of the federal government in the Tigray region. They have called on the international community and the media to respect Ethiopia’s sovereignty. They have rejected the undue pressures against the government of Ethiopia from some diplomatic corners too.