Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and the Minister of Justice, H.E. Dr. Gedion Timotheos briefed the Diplomatic Community and Representatives of International Organizations accredited to Ethiopia last week about the current situations in the country. The briefing by the two high-level officials covered a wide range of issues, including national, regional and multilateral matters that addressed the concerns of the international community. In this framework,
• The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister mentioned the recently declared humanitarian truce and subsequent measures taken to allow unfettered access to humanitarian aid to the Tigray region as manifestations of Ethiopia’s commitment to end the conflict peacefully.
• He said humanitarian issues should not be bound by preconditions and political interests further calling on the international community to expedite support in this regard and put pressure on the TPLF to reciprocate appropriately.
• Speaking more on the peace initiatives of the government, he said Ethiopia has continued to be committed to the peace efforts of the African Union Commission Chairperson High Representative, H.E. Mr. Olusegun Obasanjo.
• Regarding the Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch’s joint report, he reaffirmed the government’s position to closely examine the matter further stressing the unacceptable political contents of the report which went beyond the mandates of the organizations.
• On the trilateral negotiations of the GERD, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister underscored Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment to engaging in the AU-led process.
• The Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice have also expressed Ethiopia’s reservation over the decision of the UN Human Rights body to conduct another investigation into human rights violations in Tigray disregarding Ethiopia’s willingness to implement the recommendations of the joint UN-EHRC investigation. The newly proposed investigation also undermines the institutional independence of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission besides wasting time and financial resources through duplications of efforts, they said.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H.E. Demeke Mekonnen had a virtual meeting over the week with Ethiopian Mission leaders in Europe and Canada and Ethiopian community leaders in the Diaspora on current situations in the country. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,
• Appreciated the multifaceted efforts of Ethiopians in the Diaspora for standing to protect their country’s interests, mentioning the #Nomore
movement as a case in point.
• Said Ethiopia has continued to face challenges, and Ethiopians in the Diaspora should ramp up efforts to protect the interests of their homeland.
• Mentioned the proposed national dialogue and the subsequent election of commissioners, and the humanitarian truce declaration as steps taken to ensure peace in Ethiopia.
• Said the government would not compromise the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country further mentioning efforts to drive the TPLF out of occupied territories in the Afar and Amhara regions.
• Called on the Ethiopian Diaspora to closely work with Ethiopian missions to register better results.
• Addressed questions forwarded by participants, particularly on bettering information-sharing mechanisms and collaborating in the digital diplomacy arena.
• The meeting ended with the Deputy Prime Minister reaffirming commitments to face challenges with a united stance of all Ethiopians.
State Minister, H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien received at his H.E. Kim Wan-Joong, Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea. During their meeting,
• Ambassador Redwan appreciated the longstanding relationship between the two countries, recalling Ethiopia’s contribution of troops to the Korean war under the auspices of the United Nations.
• Ambassador Redwan called on South Korea to further cement ties with Ethiopia by encouraging investors to explore investment opportunities in Ethiopia and extending support to Ethiopia’s efforts in building democracy and reducing poverty.
• Speaking on the humanitarian truce declared recently, Ambassador Redwan said the decision demonstrated Ethiopia’s unwavering commitment to ensuring peace in the country. He urged South Korea to put pressure on the TPLF to desist from its warring activities in adjacent regions and reciprocate the humanitarian truce with appropriate measures.
• Mr. Kim Wan-Joong reaffirmed his country’s commitment to closely working with Ethiopia on economic, cultural, and societal issues.
• The Deputy Foreign Minister of South Korea further pledged to support Ethiopia in various areas, including agriculture, health, and capacity building.
• Mr. Kim Wan-Joong said South Korea appreciated peace initiatives that the government of Ethiopia has been taking reaffirming his country’s readiness to cement ties with Ethiopia, an anchor state in the region.
• The two sides concluded their meeting by noting the importance of strengthening relationships that consider their keen interest to scale up relations and the historic people-to-people ties.
The Ethiopian Embassy in South Sudan briefed the newly recruited diplomats of South Sudan on the use of the Nile waters and issues related to the construction and filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. H.E. Ambassador Nebil Mhadi Nabil reaffirmed Ethiopia's commitment to work for equitable water use in the Nile Basin.
H.E. Ambassador Taye Aske-Selassie, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations discussed the current Ethiopian situation and Horn of Africa issues with EU Special Envoy to the Horn of Africa Dr. Annette Weber. The two sides also discussed the humanitarian truce declared recently that made humanitarian aid significantly accessible to the people in the Tigray region.
H.E. Ambassador Gebeyhu Ganga has received a delegation led by Israeli Member of Parliament Gadi Barken arrived in Addis Ababa today. The delegation, which includes members of parliament and medical professionals, is expected to assist in the reconstruction of damaged health facilities in Amhara State.
Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia to the Federal Republic of Brazil H.E. Ambassador Tafa Tulu Dadi paid a courtesy call on the Ambassador of Brazil in Ethiopia over the week, H.E. Ambassador Luiz Eduardo in Addis Ababa. Ambassador Tafa also expressed delight over the government of Brazil’s decision to award the prestigious Order of Rio Branco to Ethiopian Airlines for the outstanding service the Airlines had rendered to Brazil during the high-time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. The Ambassador of Brazil expressed Brazil’s keen interest in cementing ties with Ethiopia through sharing its rich experience in the agricultural sector.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia has issued a statement over the week on the Joint Report of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. The statement said,
• The Government of Ethiopia will carefully examine the content of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch’s report
• The Government of Ethiopia is committed to holding accountable all those responsible for violations of human rights and humanitarian law.
• The Government, however, questions the validity of numerous political matters, such as passing judgments on boundary issues, overstepping their mandates and
• The Government is also concerned about the ethnic undertones of the report that seem to apportion blame disproportionally while trying to exculpate others. This fuels hatred and makes reconciliation and healing more difficult.
• The data relied largely on alleged testimonies from certain groups. Simply blaming one group does not serve the cause of human rights and peace.
• The Government investigation team will examine this report despite such fatal weakness and unfair attack against the gallant forces of ENDF and allied forces.
A final forum focusing on Ethiopian investment opportunities promotion was conducted in India, Chandigarh city of Haryana state. At the forum, H.E. Ambassador Tizita Mulugeta, Ethiopia’s Ambassador to India, and Deputy Commissioner of Ethiopian Investment Commission, H.E. Daniel Teressa reaffirmed the high level of commitment from the government to investment facilitation and support.
A round table dedicated to the pharmaceutical sector was hosted by the Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels on April 7, 2022. This event was aimed at showing the pharmaceutical companies in the Benelux countries about the investment and export opportunities in the sector in Ethiopia. A set of presentations were made on the need for the pharmaceutical sector development and policy directions, Ethiopian investment climate, access to & services in industrial parks, as well as certification and public procurement of pharmaceutical products.
A. On Returnees from Saudi Arabia
• The Committee established to oversee the repatriation of Ethiopians from Saudi Arabia had held a virtual meeting over the week to discuss the flow of the repatriation and rehabilitation process. The meeting noted the gaps in data management and coordination between the federal and state governments further underscoring the need to address the issues immediately.
• More than 6, 700 Ethiopians have been repatriated from Saudi Arabia so far.
• Three flights a day, three days a week are set aside to repatriate citizens within six months.
• It is estimated that there are about 750,000 Ethiopians living in Saudi Arabia. Of these, 450,000 are reported to have entered Saudi Arabia without proper documentation. At least 102,000 Ethiopian are currently being held in various detention centers across the country.
• The Ethiopian government has set up a national executive committee, under the chairmanship of Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen, to repatriate those citizens gradually.
• The committee which comprises 16 government agencies has prepared and implemented a plan of action to guide the repatriation process, including the rehabilitation of the returnees. In its preliminary work, the committee undertook important activities such as compiling comprehensive data, implementing procedures, and document preparation.
• Some members of the committee have twice visited Saudi Arabia and held talks with Saudi officials. Preparations for hosting the returnees were made with the establishment of makeshift centers and the provision of accommodation, including food, beverages, basic necessities, and transportation.
• Various discussions have been made with senior government officials of Ethiopia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to protect the rights of Ethiopian citizens who have proper documentation to live and work in Saudi Arabia. There have also been deliberations to ease conditions for illegal migrants gathered in prisons and detention centers in Saudi Arabia alongside talks of repatriation and cooperation to tackle the root causes of illegal migration.
B. Various Citizen-Centered Diplomatic activities
Ethiopians in Rome, Washington D.C., Los Angeles, and Brussels have rallied to protest H.R. 6600 and S.3199. They highlighted that the resolutions are partial and do not commensurate with the longstanding relationship between Ethiopia and the United States.
Members of the ‘Defend Ethiopia Taskforce’ in the UK and Ireland held a virtual discussion with Ethiopian Ambassador in the UK, H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melese about ways to implement rehabilitation and rebuilding plans in conflict-affected areas in the Amhara and Afar regions.
Ethiopians living in Uganda have raised $20,000 to support efforts in rebuilding destroyed schools due to the conflict. H.E. Ambassador Alemtshay Meseret thanked the community and expressed hope that the community would continue to actively engage in matters crucial to their country.
Ambassador of Ethiopia to Turkey, H.E. Adam Mohammed had a virtual meeting with Ethiopian community members in Turkey regarding the Eid-to-Eid call and what is expected of the Ethiopians in the Diaspora. They have discussed the recently announced schedule for the program and various activities that the Diaspora can actively participate in.
In a fundraising program hosted in 5 cities in Israel, Ethiopians and people of Ethiopian origin have gathered $11,000 to support the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam.The Ethiopian Embassy in Isreal organized the program in commemoration of the 11 anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone for the construction of the dam and celebrating the first successful attempt in generating electricity from the dam.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has signed an agreement with the Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation (EBC) over the week to broadcast its diplomatic activities. The agreement was signed by the State Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, and Mr. Fisha Yitagesu the CEO of EBC. Speaking at the signing ceremony, State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, noted that since Addis Ababa is one of the globe's diplomatic capitals, Ethiopia's diplomatic activities must be available to the diplomatic community and Ethiopian missions abroad.
The University of Gondar has established a public diplomacy center to support Ethiopia’s diplomatic activities through mobilizing the academic community. Present at the event, the Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti called on higher education institutions to support diplomatic efforts to safeguard the sovereignty of Ethiopia. Ethiopian higher education institutions are expected to produce high-quality research output that fit the challenges that the country is facing these days, Ambassador Dina added.
Adama Science and Technology University and the University of Genoa have agreed to create a partnership in research and technology. Ethiopia’s Ambassador in Italy, H.E. Demitu Hambisa, and Deputy Mayor of Genoa, H.E. Massimo Nicolo, as well as representatives of the two universities had an online meeting regarding the agreement between the two universities.