The spokesperson of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (November 20) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on the diplomatic activities related to the law enforcement operation in Tigray, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, economic and citizen-centered diplomatic activities within the past two weeks.
Press Briefing Summary
20 November 2020
I. Operation in Tigray
The Ministry has been actively engaging in activities that aimed at making concerned bodies understand the ongoing government operation in Tigray through Diplomatic tours, Phone conversations, webinar discussions and briefings.
• Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, met and discussed as of Monday (November 16) to Wednesday (November 18) with the president of Uganda, H.E. Yoweri Museveni, Kenyan president H.E. Uhuru Kenyatta, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Rwanda, Dr. Vincent Biruta, President Kagame of Rwanda and the President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, H.E. Félix Tshisekedi about the ongoing operation in Tigray and the negotiation over the GERD.
Mr, Demeke conveyed Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s messages and greetings to the leaders and thoroughly explained the objectives of the operation in Tigray and the causes that necessitated the operation.
All of the leaders expressed solidarity with Ethiopia and underscored that the operation in Tigray is Ethiopia’s internal affair. They said Ethiopia’s stability is stability to the region.
President of the DRC assured the Ethiopian delegation to further consult on relevant bodies on signing the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) over the GERD.
• Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, on Wednesday (November 11), spoke over the phone with US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs, Tibor Nagy, regarding current situations in Ethiopia. Mr. Demeke briefed the Secretary about the objectives of the ongoing Ethiopian government’s operation in Tigray. Mr. Nagy reiterated that peace in Ethiopia is indispensable to build peace in the region.
• Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, briefed Her.E. Mrs. Naledi Pandor, the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of South Africa, about the operation in Tigray during a phone conversation they had on Thursday (November 12. Mrs. Naledi Pandor said South Africa is closely following the current situation in Ethiopia. She also expressed her confidence that the Ethiopian government would ensure the safety of civilians while carrying out its operation in Tigray.
• Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, and Gabi Ashkenazi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the state of Israel, spoke over the phone on Wednesday (November 11) about the operation in Tigray and other issues of mutual interest. Mr. Demeke also expressed his gratitude to the government of Israel for sending the "special locust Fighters Taskforce" to Ethiopia to fight the spread of desert locust swarms.
• Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey H.E. Mevlut Cavusoglu spoke over the phone on Sunday (November 15) regarding the ongoing operation in Tigray. H.E. Mevlut Cavusoglu said the government of Turkey understands the decision of the federal government of Ethiopia to take action to maintain law and order in the region.
Webinar Discussions (emphasis on media narratives and Diaspora activities)
• Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, has held a webinar discussion on Saturday and Sunday (November 14, 15) with Ethiopian Ambassadors and mission leaders in the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific countries about the ongoing operation in Tigray. The discussions mainly focused on how to better engage the Ethiopian community living abroad to support the federal government’s cause in the ongoing Tigray operation. The meetings also deliberated how to change the misguided media narrative in the mainstream media and disinformation and misinformation on social media platforms.
Briefings (resident diplomats and the media)
• Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr. Demeke Mekonnen, briefed resident diplomats in Addis Ababa on Friday (November 13) on the current situation in the country.
• State Minister H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien briefed on Friday (November 06) resident diplomats in Addis Ababa about the current government operation in Tigray.
• H.E. Amb. Redwan in a briefing to international media on Monday (November 16) cautioned to not be hoodwinked by the propaganda of TPLF which have often been contradictory, emphasizing the need for context.
• Chief Executive of Provisional Administration of Tigray National Regional State, H.E. Dr. Mulu Nega and State Minister, H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussein briefed the media on Thursday (November 19) about the law enforcement operation that is underway in Tigray. The briefing gave a special emphasis to the priorities of the interim administration in Tigray.
• The follow-up trilateral ministerial virtual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan was held yesterday (November 19, 2020). The meeting is convened by the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation of the Republic of South Africa and Chairperson of the AU Executive Council.
• The Ministry and Ethiopian missions all over the world have scheduled to run several (about 9) joint webinar discussions on various issues related to the GERD from November 12-November 30, 2020. Our missions in Pretoria, Berlin, Moscow, Ankara, Geneva, Brussels, the Hague, Rome, Paris and Algiers have successfully accomplished the meetings up to now.
III. Economic and Citizen-centered Diplomacy
• State Minister H.E. Tsion Teklu has held various online meetings with companies and various groups regarding investment opportunities in Ethiopia. Among these, Africa Agri Council, Dubai’s Raghav contracting LLc, China’s Qingzahu Hengxing Chemical Co. Ltd and Australia, Canberra’s School of Mines are the notable ones. Canberra Dairy solution Z also made pilot studies in Ethiopia to introduce Cattle exporting Software package, while Abu Dhabi’s Al Ghaith Industries, a renowned chemical industry in the Middle East, made a pilot study and issued a business licence as well to operate in Ethiopia with USD 65-1100 million investments.
• State Minister of Transport Awol Wagais, Ethiopian Ambassador to Djibouti, Berhanu Tsegaye as well as scores of Ethiopian officials have participated along with high level authorities, port agencies, maritime transport operators from Djibouti and other African countries in the African Ports Forum that kicked off on Monday (November 9) in Djibouti. Making its theme, “African ports in the Age of Alliance,” the two days long forum mainly covered rubrics like the intra-African exchanges for development, digitization, connectivity and logistics and ways that trade operations could smoothly function during the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
• Organized by Ethiopian Embassy in Djibouti in collaboration with the IGAD Secretariat, a webinar was held on Wednesday (November 18, 2020) on IGAD’s role in promoting Regional Economic Community in the Horn of Africa. Deputy Head of Mission, Ambassador Mohammed Hassen made an opening remark at the webinar where scores of Ethiopian diplomats from the IGAD Region have participated. Policy harmonization, minimum integration plan as well as economic benefit maximization were among the issues raised by the virtual discussants.
• The Embassy of Ethiopia in London on Thursday (19 November) held a webinar discussion aiming at increasing the market share of Ethiopian coffee in the UK. The embassy in Brussels has scheduled to organize a virtual coffee promotion on Thursday, November 26, 2020. Belgium is the 5th destination for Ethiopian Coffee after Germany, Saudi Arabia, the USA and Japan.
• Ethiopia has repatriated 269 of its citizens from Jeddah and 84 from Beirut.