Press Briefing Summary 24 March 2022

The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (March 24, 2022) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the death of 3 #MSF staff and the accusation launched against Ethiopian soldiers, Economic diplomacy, citizen-centered diplomacy and capacity building activities.
First, congratulations to the number one athletics team! Congratulations to our athletes who made all Ethiopians proud. As you have heard yesterday, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen has congratulated all Ethiopians, Ethiopian athletes and the athletics community for the stunning results achieved in the 18th World Athletics Indoor Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Demeke Mekonnen received at his office on Tuesday (March 22) U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa David Satterfield to discuss bilateral issues of mutual concern.
.Speaking on the humanitarian support to the Tigray region, the Deputy Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to allow unimpeded access to humanitarians further stressing concerns over obstructions to the process due to the TPLF’s continued provocation of adjacent regions.
.Discussing bilateral ties between Ethiopia and the U.S., the Deputy Prime Minister said HR6600 and S. 3199 are not reflective of the longstanding and historical relations of the two countries.
.He expressed confidence that the U.S. would discard the draft bills since they put the lives of ordinary Ethiopians in danger rather than promote peace and democracy in the country.
.The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also briefed Satterfield about the encouraging peace initiatives that the government of Ethiopia has taken to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country.
.In connection with this, he mentioned the release of renowned political figures from detention, the lifting of the State of Emergency before its due time, and the positive steps reached so far in establishing a national dialogue Commission and electing its Commissioners.
.Special Envoy David Satterfield, on his part, said the United States has appreciated and acknowledged the positive steps taken by the Ethiopian government to pacify and stabilize the country.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a virtual discussion with the Ethiopian Diaspora Community leaders and representatives based in the U.S regarding HR6600 (Ethiopia Stabilization, Peace, and Democracy Act) and S.3199 (Ethiopia Peace and Democracy Promotion Act of 2021). During the meeting:
• The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister called on Ethiopians in the Diaspora to protest the draft resolutions since they threaten to negatively affect the lives of many Ethiopians and the country as a whole in various sectors.
• He said the resolutions are drafted to nullify the struggles and to regress the achievements of Ethiopians all over the world in protecting the sovereignty of their country.
• He said the resolutions are designed to make the country dependent on the goodwill will of others to advance its political, economic and security interests, besides severing the relationships between the Ethiopian Diaspora with the homeland.
• The Deputy Prime Minister also appreciated the multifaceted support of Ethiopians in the Diaspora extended to Ethiopia during its recent fight against external intervention in its internal matters further calling the Diaspora to demonstrate the same kind of support and commitment in protesting against the proposed resolutions.
• He also explained the government’s measures taken to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country.
• He said Ethiopia and the US should strive to further cement their historical and longstanding ties, but Ethiopia would not accept hand-twisting attempts as the protection of the country’s sovereignty is non-negotiable.
• Ambassador Fitsum Arega, on his part, stressed the need to employ all forms of communication to contact senators and members of the congress to make them understand the dangers of the resolutions to the relationships between the two countries and the people of Ethiopia in general.
• Attendees stressed that the resolutions targeted not a single political party or individuals but Ethiopia and Ethiopians as a whole further pledging to do their level best to protest the resolutions.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, received at his office on Friday (March 18) a delegation led by H.E. Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
• The two sides noted that drought; COVID-19, conflict, and displacement put the lives of millions of people in Ethiopia in danger, necessitating multifaceted support from Oxfam and other humanitarian partners.
• The Deputy Prime Minister said that the Ethiopian government has tried to support drought-affected people in some parts of Ethiopia, who need immediate support from Humanitarians, including Oxfam.
• He said about 23 million people in various parts of the country, including Borena, Omo, and the Somali region, need expedited humanitarian support.
• The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister also explained the government’s effort in providing unimpeded humanitarian access to Tigray, expressing his concern over the provocative actions of the TPLF in the adjacent regions diluting all the positive deeds of the government.
• In connection with that, he briefed the Oxfam Executive director about the encouraging steps taken by the government to ensure lasting peace in the country. In this regard, he mentioned the proposed national dialogue, the release of prominent political figures from prison, and the lifting of the state of emergency as the government’s commitment to paving the way for ensuring peace and stability in Ethiopia.
• He finally appreciated the humanitarian support of Oxfam in relieving poverty in Ethiopia, and he pledged to support the organization’s activities in the country.
• Oxfam Executive Director, Mrs. Gabriela Bucher, on her part, said her organization would extend all the necessary support to alleviate the suffering of drought-affected people in Ethiopia.
• Country Director of Oxfam in Ethiopia, Regional Head of Programmes at Oxfam in the Horn, East, and Central Africa (HECA), and Head of Oxfam Liaison Office to the African Union accompanied the Executive Director.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, bade farewell today (March 18) to the departing Ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Sami Jamil Abdullah. On this occasion, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister appreciated the departing Ambassador for cementing relations between the two countries during his stay in Ethiopia. The two sides have also exchanged views on the situation of Ethiopian migrants in the Kingdom and the proposed repatriation and rehabilitation programs of returnees.
The newly appointed ambassadors have tabled their 100-day plan last Saturday charting out their goals and strategies for implementation as of their first day of duty as mission leaders. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussein, State Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, presided over the discussion. Additional inputs are suggested for incorporation into the proposed plans in light of the geopolitical interests of the countries that the ambassadors are assigned. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister stressed that the plans should give proper attention to Ethiopia’s interests besides mapping out mere areas of interest in bilateral relationships.
Ethiopia’s Ambassador in South Sudan, H.E. Nebil Mahdi holds talks with Mr. Mayiik Ayii Deng, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Sudan, on bilateral issues. During the meeting, Ambassador Nebil briefed the Minister on security and development issues related to the joint border between Ethiopia and South Sudan. In particular, he stressed the need to hold a meeting of the Joint Boundaries Commission to get solutions to the repeated attacks by Murule militants on innocent civilians crossing the Ethiopian border.
In related news, Ambassador Nebil met with South Sudanese Minister of Health to discuss bilateral cooperation in the health sector.
Ethiopia’s Ambassador in China, H.E. Ambassador Teshome Toga held virtual bilateral talks with Mr. Yan Bingchen, Deputy Director General of the International Department of the Chinese Ministry of Education on ways of further strengthening Ethiopia–China cooperation in the Education sector under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
II. On new accusations on the killing of 3 #MSF staff in Tigray
Media reports, following the New York Times accusatory report made under the title, “‘Finish Them Off’: Aid Workers, Found on Battlefield, Executed by Soldiers” have propagated the story without further investigation into the matter and the story has surfaced in social media platforms. We need to put the records straight here,
• Following the death of three MSF (Doctors without Borders) staff, the government of Ethiopia on June 25 2021, expressed condolences on the death of the Spaniard & 2 Ethiopians in Abi Adi, Tigray underlining that the area was where TPLF actively operates. The government of Ethiopia also expressed its regret for the death of these MSF employees suggesting that the deceased should have asked for a military escort to avoid such tragic killings.
• In addition to that the government of Ethiopia had formed a group consisting of members from the ENDF, the Federal Police and the Ministry of Justice, to further investigate the case, but circumstances did not allow for further investigation since the area was under the control of the TPLF.
• New claims and accusations made against the Ethiopian government soldiers, such as the one entertained by the New York Times, are baseless because the so called, “investigation,” was conducted by TPLF sympathizers in Tigray who claimed to interview Ethiopian soldiers incarcerated in the TPLF prisons. No one in their right mind could seriously take such allegations and the words of soldiers who could be under every tactic of coercion and coaching by the TPLF.
• No other professional method was employed to make such a conclusion than relying on the words of an unnamed reporter employed by The New York Times who was said to have contributed from Mekelle, Ethiopia.
• The government of Ethiopia notes that the case needs a thorough investigation by relevant and competent bodies before reaching such an erroneous conclusion. The government, as always, is keen to work closely with MSF.
An online discussion among stakeholders, including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, the Ministry of Agriculture and others, was held to address the challenges that Ethiopian exporters of agricultural products to China are facing due to new Chinese regulations. The regulation put new standards on the quality of agricultural products that would be exported to China and requires online registration prior to exporting. Short-term and long-term solutions to the challenges are tabled for deliberation.
State Minister H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussein had a meeting with Indian investors in Ethiopia and members of India’s Investment Forum. The discussion between the Ambassador and the investors ranges from issues related to the availability of Foreign currency to security and taxation, among others. Ambassador Redwan explained various investment opportunities made available to foreign investors since the new political administration's ascent to power three years ago. He thanked the Indian investors for investing in Ethiopia even during difficult times setting examples for foreign investors.
Ethiopia and China held a fruitful discussion on the Economic and Development Cooperation between the two countries on March 21, 2022. They conferred on the status of the ongoing and new projects submitted by Ethiopia under the framework of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Ambassador Teshome Toga on the occasion said that China has supported Ethiopia in completing several infrastructure projects under the FOCAC platform. He expressed his hope that ongoing and new projects among the 9 programs of the Eighth China Africa Ministerial Conference would be implemented fully.
The Ethiopian Embassy in India held a trade, tourism and investment forum in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu State, in collaboration with Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO), India Africa Trade Council (IATC) and COMESA office of IATC in Chennai on 19 March 2022. H.E. Ambassador Tizita Mulugeta, in her speech, addressed Indian investors to explore the vast opportunities in Ethiopia mentioning the presence of more than 600 Indian investors in Ethiopia who engage in different sectors creating job opportunities for thousands of youth in the country.
IV. #CitizenCentred Diplomacy
A high-level Ethiopian delegation has arrived in Saudi Arabia over the week to facilitate repatriation of Ethiopian citizens. The repatriation process is expected to begin before the start of Ramadan. Around 42,000 Ethiopians have registered for repatriation so far (Riyadh, 17500, Jeddah, 24, 500).
The committee established to facilitate the #GreatEthiopianHomeComing under the banner: “Eid al-Fitr-to -Eid al-Adha” has convened on Monday (March 21) to deliberate preliminary plans to host the program. Presiding over the meeting, H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, State Minister of the Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia recalled the spectacular success of the #GreatEthiopianHomeComing last December and underlined the need to make the Eid al-Fitr-to-Eid al-Adha call reflective of Ethiopia’s immense cultural, religious, and historical values. Ustaz Abubakar Ahmed, overseeing the committee along with Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, said the program would help build the country’s image and relations with others besides promoting Ethiopia’s Islamic values, tourism potential, and economic activities. The committee comprising 16 government institutions, in collaboration with Nejashi Charity Organization and Halal Promotion Plc, will facilitate the program. The Committee will announce details of the program in the upcoming days.
The association of the Ethiopian community in Dubai and the Northern Emirates celebrated the annual Ethiopia Day for the 8th time under the banner: “I for the community and the community for me.” The Day was celebrated with music shows and sports competitions with Ethiopian business owners selling and showcasing their products to attendees ranging from thousands of Ethiopians living in the United Arab Emirates, diplomats, and the Ethiopian community leaders to guests.
Ethiopia’s Ambassador in Kenya, H.E. Meles Alemi paid a visit to the National Museum of Kenya. He said Nairobi National Museum would like to co-sponsor research, training sessions and archeological exhibitions with the Ethiopian National Museum. Kenya has 28 national museums that showcase the country's ancient fossils and various archaeological discoveries to tourists and locals alike. Six Ethiopians are trained in Kenya each year, and an agreement has been reached to increase the number.

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