Press Briefing Summary
04 May 2021
The spokesperson of
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia
, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (04 May 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on political diplomacy, the upcoming general elections, Ethio-Sudan border issue, Economic Diplomacy and citizen-centered diplomatic activities.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen held discussions with Regional Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) for East Africa, Marcel Akpovo on Wednesday (April 28). Mr. Demeke appreciated Marcel for the readiness of his office to support Ethiopia’s efforts in strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights in the country. He also commended the recent joint agreement of the UN and EHRC to conduct joint investigations into human rights abuses allegedly committed in the Tigray region. In this regard, Mr. Demeke said the Ethiopian government is committed to bringing perpetrators to justice based on the findings of the joint investigation.
State Minister H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien has updated on Thursday (April 29) Ambassadors of Asian countries residing in Ethiopia on the current situations in Tigray, particularly on the progress on the humanitarian aid efforts, the negotiations over the Grand Renaissance Dam, the Ethiopia-Sudan border dispute, and the upcoming 6th national election.Regarding the GERD negotiations, he said the international community should understand that all of the concerns of Sudan have been adequately addressed while Egypt has continued to project its irrational claims of protecting the colonial-era treaties by window-dressing the claim through various names and demands.
On #Elections he said:
• The government believes that power shall only emanate from the ballot and no other option is viable to build a legitimate government
• The election board of Ethiopia has been reorganised in a way that respects its institutional independence armed with amended electoral law and various reforms in the legal sector
• The government is committed to make the elections free, fair and democratic
• The government has shown its commitment to making it fair and free which can be witnessed by the appointment of a former opposition figure as head of the NEBE who has ensured the organizations’ institutional independence.
• Challenges that occurred during registration of voters (with low voters’ turnout) areparts of the struggle to build an independent institution with completely new staffers of the NEBE. Now the Board has overcome the challenge and a surge in the number of registered voters has been observed in the extended window for registration
• African Union observers are coming (Note: House Speaker H.E. TagesseChafoyesterday had held discussion with AU election observers about the preparations underway for the election)
• The belligerent attitude of Sudan has threatened to reverse all the encouraging achievements achieved following the signing of the 1972 Exchange of notes between the two countries. According to the 1972 Exchange of Notes, the two countries have agreed not to employ force to solve border dispute, displace settled people that disrupts the status quo.
• The recent invasion of Ethiopian lands by Sudanese troops is a continuation of the attempts made by Sudan whenever it sensed a problem is going on in Ethiopia. They did it when the imperial government was toppled in 1970s and the Derg, (the Communist government) was ousted by EPRDF forces in 1990s although both of the attempts were successfully repulsed by the Ethiopian forces
• Ethiopia, under the new political administration, gives priority to peace, and peaceful coexistence with its neighbours and does not wish to waste the opportunity for cooperation through engaging in border conflicts
• The two countries should employ existing conflict resolution mechanisms to get a resolve to the dispute and urged the international community to pressure Sudan to evacuate its troops from occupied Ethiopian territories.
On the Issue of the Ethiopia-Sudan Border Dispute, the Ministry of foreign affairs of Ethiopia has issued a statement today refuting the recent statements of the Sudan on the GERD and the Ethiopia-Sudan border issue as unwarranted, provocative and increasingly bellicose propaganda campaign. It says Sudan’s mentioning of the Benishangul Gumuz regional state while talking about the GERD and border issues is contemptible.
Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations H.E. TayeAtske Selassie had consultation with Mr. Mark Lowcock, UN Under-Secretary General Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, on the humanitarian situation in different parts of Ethiopia. They noted the improved humanitarian access and underscored the need for clear cooperation and understanding in resource mobilization to respond to the needs. The mission had issued a statement expressing great disappointment of the unsubstantiated allegations presented to the Security Council on 15 April 2021 by Mr. Mark Lowcock accusing the Ethiopian government of using hunger and rape as weapons of war and obstructing humanitarian access.
II. Updates on Humanitarian aid in #Tigray
1. #Humanitarian aid
• Food and non-food items were delivered for 4.5 million beneficiaries in the first round and have been delivered for 2.7 million beneficiaries in the second round.
• The food distributed in the region is covered by both government (70%) and Partners (30%).
• The Government of Ethiopia is working closely with partners and creates conducive environment for Humanitarian Partners.
• More than 57 mobile health teams have been established to deliver health services in areas where health facilities are not functional.
• To supply safe water to the IDPs and communities, more than 120 water trucks (In birr more than 75.6 million) have been deployed serving more than 621, 000 people in the region.
• The federal Ministry of Agriculture has been allocated 10 million birr to strengthen the regional agriculture and natural resource bureau.
• The Ministry of education has been allocated 95 million birr to reopening the schools. Ministry of education has dispatched 1 million face masks to the region and installing a hand washing facilities in the 58 schools to promote Covid-19 protocols in the schools with the coordination of region and education cluster in the region.
. In the refugee camps, where access and issues that are related with safety and security are raised, the government has taken immediate action by relocating and maintaining basic humanitarian services.
2. #Access to the region
• More than 192 staff members of UN-Agencies, international NGO’s including 8 international media have been provided access to Tigray
• Currently, the case-by-case access clearance procedures are replaced by blanket approval process
• Now, most parts of the region are accessible and creates conducive environment to speed up the delivery of food and non- food supplies to the needy people in the region.
• In the areas where safe movement of humanitarian cargos strained military escort has been taken as a right measure and a last resort to get access and reach the needy ones.
3. Recovery and Rehabilitation of #infrastructure
• Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Peace are closely working with EU, World Bank and UNDP in order to build back damaged and destroyed economic and social infrastructures
• The federal government ministerial committee oversees all supports and has developed a plan to support regional bureaus in a regular base by assigning experts in addition to mobilizing resources.
4. Major #Challenges
The following are some of the challenges observed in the region and the government of Ethiopia would like to extend its call to the international community for a concrete support in delivering humanitarian support to those who are in need in the region:
• Shortage of Emergency Shelter & Non-Food Items (ESNFI),
• Challenges in fulfilling supplementary foods,
• Substantial resources are required to plan and undertake recovery and rehabilitation interventions in the region.
III. #Citizencentered diplomacy
• Ethiopia has repatriated 683 of its citizens from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
• Ethiopian Diaspora Agency has concluded the over two week’s diaspora outreach programs held in eight different places in the US and Europe successfully. The events were held in Washington, New York, Minnesota, Seattle, Los Angeles, Berlin, Frankfurt and Geneva.
• The Ethiopian diaspora in Milan, Italy, have held a rally on Wednesday (April 28) in support of the Government of Ethiopia and condemning the efforts to compromise the country’s sovereignty and tarnish its image. Participants of the rally condemned the unsubstantiated media reports related to the law enforcement operation and its objectives in Tigray region.
China launched the Ethiopian Luban Workshop on Wednesday. The workshop will provide high-end technical skills training to help college students meet the requirements of the emerging global market.It will further promote vocational education and boost youth employment in Africa.China has already established 10 Luban Workshop in Africa for vocational training proposed in the Eight Major Initiatives in FOCAC 2018.
Information Network Security Agency provided training on cyber security to mission leaders and high-level officials of the Ministry. The discussion aimed to reduce cyber security vulnerabilities.