News in Brief
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on the meaning of the 6th general elections, the planned national dialogue and the future of diplomatic relations (Based on excerpts from his inaugural speech)
Statement of Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie at the open meeting of the UN Security Council on Peace and Security in Africa (the expulsion of the seven UN staff from Ethiopia)
A high-level delegation of the African Union Commission (AUC), deployed by Moussa Faki Mahamat, has wrapped up its working visit to the seat of the Pan-African Parliament in Midrand, South Africa (October 05). The mission formed part of the fact-finding exercise undertaken by the Chairperson of the AUC on the circumstances surrounding the suspension of the elective ordinary session of the PAP in May 2021.
Ethiopia’s parliament confirmed incumbent Abiy Ahmed as prime minister for a five-year term on Monday (October 04). Abiy’s Prosperity party won a landslide victory in June’s election. He was sworn in on Monday, and a ceremony was being held later in the capital Addis Ababa attended by several African heads of states.
President Sahlework Zewde stressed on Monday (October 04) the need for a strong parliament that effectively reflects the interests of the people and ensures accountability of the government. Opening the 1st year joint session of the Houses of Federation and People’s Representatives, the president called on the members to come closer to the people and also ensure accountability of the government.
President Sahle-Work Zewde received credentials of Ambassadors of six countries and the European Union on Friday (October 01). The ambassadors are Michaele lan Upton of New Zealand, Kira Smith Sinberg of Denmark, Abdi Mohamoud Eybe of Djibouti, Julia Niblett of Australia, Rol and Kobia of the European Union, Mohammed Omar Gad of Egypt, and Sasirit Tangulart of Thailand. On the occasion, the president emphasized the importance of strengthening relationships with each country and the international organization as well.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on Monday (October 04) that the government of Ethiopia will organize an inclusive national consultative forum to narrow political differences. The Premier remarked in a speech he delivered during the inaugural ceremony of the new government of Ethiopia held on Monday (October 04) in Addis Ababa at Meskel square in the presence of heads of states and governments of African countries, diplomats, and hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians. (See article)
The House of Peoples’ Representatives (HPR) on Wednesday (October 06) has approved a new cabinet proposed by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. 21 more new ministers sworn in before the House of Representatives. Demeke Mekonnen is reappointed as Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia while the Prime Minister included three competing political party leaders in the new cabinet. Accordingly, he appointed Prof. Berhanu Nega, Chairman of Ethiopian Citizen for Social Justice as Minister of Education, Belete Molla, Chairperson of National Movement of Amhara (NMA) as Minister of Innovation and Technology and Kejela Merdasa, Vice President of Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) as Minister of Culture and Sport.
African leaders, who attended the Inaugural ceremony of PM Abiy Ahmed on Monday (October 04), congratulated the Ethiopian people for the successful election they held and offered full support to the premier in his endeavour to bring peace and prosperity to the country and the region. Presidents of Djibouti, Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Uganda, and the Prime Minister of DR Congo have expressed their best wishes and congratulated the newly elected prime minister.
President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has sent a congratulatory message and good wishes to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on his election as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. In a telegram message, President Putin reiterated that the Russian-Ethiopian relations are based on good traditions of friendship and mutual respect. He said he trusted that the Prime Minister’s activity as the Head of Government would further facilitate the development of the bilateral cooperation of the two countries in various spheres for the benefit of the peoples of the two nations, in the interest of strengthening security and stability on the African continent.
President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan has sent a congratulatory message to Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of Ethiopia, on his re-election as prime minister. His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, sent similar messages to the Ethiopian Prime Minister.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen bade farewell on Thursday (October 07) to the departing Ambassador of Zambia to Ethiopia, Ambassador Emmanuel Mumbaba. Demeke appreciated the strong relationship and cooperation at various forums between the two countries that helped them forge a long-standing diplomatic relationship that started during the struggle against colonialism.
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen received on Thursday (October 07), Head of African Affairs Division at Israel Foreign Ministry, Ms. Bar-Li Sharon at his office. During their discussion, Demeke noted the long-standing diplomatic relationship of Ethiopia and Israel which is marked by strong historical and religious ties.
The government of Ethiopia is not under any legal obligation to provide justifications or explanations for its decisions, according to Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the United Nations, Taye AtskeSelassie on Wednesday (October 06). In his statement at the open meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ambassador Taye said the UN staff Ethiopia expelled sidelined their oaths, the rules of professional conduct, and the principles of humanitarian assistance. (See full Statement)
The 2nd round European Union (EU) humanitarian cargo donated to UNICEF through EU-HAB reached Addis Ababa on Monday (October 04) and delivered the various nutrition and health supplies to Mekelle on Wednesday (October 06). The EU humanitarian cargo donation includes 350 cartons of plumpy nut, 28 emergency drug kits (different types of medicine), and 14 emergency health kits (different types of medical material), according to the Disaster Risk Management Commission (DRMC).
President of the State of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, has sent a message of warmest congratulations to Abiy Ahmed on his re-election as Prime Minister of Ethiopia. In his message, President Isaias underlined: “Eritrea and Ethiopia have gone a long way in past three years to turn chapter of confrontation and hostility and lay groundwork for robust peace and friendship between the two sisterly countries, with its positive implications to wider HoA region”.
President Ismail Oumer Guelleh of the Republic of Djibouti, who attended the inaugural ceremony of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday (October 04) lauded the role Ethiopia has played in promoting pan African issues. He said, “Ethiopia has taken the lead on pan African issues. Today we hope to see an Ethiopia nation that is at peace with itself and that can forgive its sons.”
Delivering speech at the inauguration ceremony of the establishment of the Ethiopia’s new Government, on Monday (October 04), President Mohamed Farmaajo of Somalia said that Ethiopia and Somalia enjoy historical bilateral relations and a strong bond of friendship built on mutual respect, strong people-to people relations and increasing interdependence. “The 6th Ethiopian elections result clearly shows that the Ethiopian people have invested their future with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who has proven to them that he is personally committed to their inclusive development,” he said.
President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohammed Abdullahi Mohammed on Tuesday (October 05) held talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia on enhancing bilateral cooperation towards regional security, economic growth and development for mutual prosperity. The President hailed the people of Ethiopia for their participation in the democratic election and congratulated Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed for the victory. President Farmaajo wished PM Abiy success while assuring him support as he enters the new term.
Senior officials across the military, police, and civilian components of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), are attending a five-day training programme curated on Monitoring Evaluation and Learning for Peace Support Operations in Africa (MELPAC) by trainers from the Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre (KAIPTC), from Ghana. The training is facilitated by the AU Political Affairs Peace and Security (PAPS) Department, the United Nations Support Office in Somalia (UNSOS) and the United Nations Office to the African Union (UNOAU).
Prime Minister and Minister of Interior of Qatar, Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani held on Tuesday (October 05) at the Amir Diwan a talks session with Somalia’s Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble. During the session, they discussed bilateral relations and means of developing them in various fields, especially in the economic, commerce, air and maritime transport, culture and education, besides exchanging views on the most prominent issues of joint interest.
Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta has pledged his country’s support to the new Ethiopian government that was formed on Monday (October 04). President Kenyatta reassured Ethiopia of his backing while delivering his speech at the inauguration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in Addis Ababa’s Meskal Square on Monday. “I stand here to offer you our support as you continue with your endeavors to rebuild Ethiopia” he said. “Kenya stands ready to work shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Ethiopia to build a great region of prosperity and peace. My brother, we assure you our support but equally my brother, I remind you that today that the people of Ethiopia have given you mandate to lead, a mandate to bring peace, a mandate to bring stability and a mandate to bring all the people of Ethiopia together.” The Kenyan President noted that Ethiopia is the mother of African independence and the only African country that wasn’t colonised.
Ethiopia and Kenya expressed commitment to establish mechanisms to strengthen economic relations between the two countries whereby they can work to identify issues that affect the economies and private sector engagement in both countries. The Cabinet Secretary of National Treasury and Planning of Kenya, Ukur Yatani Kanacho accompanied by a high-level delegation made an official visit to Ethiopia at the invitation of the Minister of Finance of Ethiopia, Ahmed Shide on Saturday (October 02).
The President of the Republic of South Sudan, Salva Kiir Mayardit on Monday (October 04) expressed support for Ethiopia. President Kiir noted in his speech, “We want Ethiopia which is our mother to resolve everything by peaceful means.”
Kenya and South Sudan, both members of the East Africa Community, signed a border crossing agreement to strengthen their long-standing economic and political alliance. The pact was signed on October 1st, 2021, in Lodwar, a border town between Kenya’s Turkana district and South Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria State. John Munyes Kiyonga, Kenyan Cabinet Secretary for Petroleum and Mining, Josephat Koli Nanok, Turkana Governor represented Keny, while Louis Lobong Lojore, Governor of Eastern Equatoria represented South Sudan in what the leaders described as a consultative meeting. “Relations between the two countries have now reached the level of strategic partnership and the two countries seek to comprehensively improve relations between themselves to foster the peaceful coexistence of the border communities and to enhance free movement of goods and services for the benefits of the two countries,” Lobong told Sudan Tribune on Wednesday.
Prime Minister Abdallah Hamdok and the leadership of the ruling coalition in Sudan discussed the dispute with the military component and the ongoing crisis in eastern Sudan. A statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office on Wednesday (October 06) night confirmed that the Chairman of the Sovereign Council Abdel Fattah al-Burrhan and Hamdok, held a series of meetings to discuss the political crises in the country.
PM Abiy Ahmed on the meaning of the 6th general elections, the planned national dialogue and the future of diplomatic relations (Based on excerpts from his inaugural speech)
The new Ethiopian Government was successfully formed over the week giving Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed the mandate of leading the country for a five-year term. The Presidents of Kenya, Nigeria, South Sudan, Somalia, Senegal, Uganda, including the Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Foreign Minister of Algeria and AU special envoy for the Horn of Africa and former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo attended the inaugural ceremony. Following the remarks made by the invited head of State and leaders, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has made an inaugural speech focusing on major issues in the country.
He said, “Although the 6th General Election was not as successful as we wish it to be, it opened a new chapter in realizing the dream of establishing and sustaining democracy that has been in question for centuries; and it took us one step further.” The elections showed us that political power would emanate neither from genealogy and the barrel of the gun or court intrigues. We have now reached a point where we have asserted the sovereignty of the people of Ethiopia, he added.
“Our victory in the elections is not limited either to one party or government,” he said adding that It is a triumph that Ethiopia as a country and Ethiopians as a people have won together. “If we take advantage of this opportunity as a nation,” he said, “it will be a great opportunity to close many loopholes.” “Recognizing the political and economic problems that have been accumulating for centuries cannot be eliminated under the leadership of one party, we must work together to overcome the problems that have plagued us. We will work hard to make our political system not a reflection of the will of the winners, but a result of our shared understanding.”
The Prime Minister said It is time for Ethiopians to embrace their diversity, reconcile their ideas, bridge their differences, strengthen their national unity, and rise to the heights. For this to happen, he said, “we will hold an inclusive national dialogue to narrow our political differences. The consultation process will include those who believe that we can solve our problems around the table. The consultation will not only be a process among political experts but an inclusive one with the participation of all sections of the society. It will also be an Ethiopian-led process aiming at creating indigenous solutions.”
Regarding the conflict in the northern party of the country, which he said was sparked by the treachery and arrogance of the TPLF, has cost Ethiopia and Ethiopians dearly over the past year. This conflict is a war waged by some individuals who say, “The country [Ethiopia] that we do not control and manipulate shall not exist,” he said. “Our enemy, with the help of its henchmen, took up arms and inflicted heavy casualties on the Northern Command of the ENDF, which we regard as one of our best assets.“
Although we gave the group a chance to reflect on its acts declaring a Unilateral Ceasefire, the group soon started fresh attacks employing child soldiers, the Prime Minister said. “It destroyed public facilities, demolished schools and health centers, dispersed families, summarily executed innocent people, shot and killed livestock, and attacked religious institutions.”
“It should be abundantly clear that we had to join the conflict to save our lives,” he said. “When we march with swords, our main objective is to fight the conspirators and haters of Ethiopia who are hell-bent on destroying the country, weaken the people to stabilize their political seats, and fill their pockets.”
Regarding the sputtering diplomatic relations with some countries lately, he said, “The misguided diplomatic tendency we are facing lately from international forces has forced us to look back on our diplomatic history. Over the years, we have experienced two contradictory facts in our diplomatic relations: some repeat the history of betrayal, just as some continue the history of friendship today.” He said Ethiopia desperately needs the partnership of its friends for its journey to prosperity. “But any friendship should not be and cannot be at the cost of Ethiopia’s dignity and sovereignty. Our hearts and doors are always open to the nations that approach us in the spirit of love, for their support, advice, and good wishes.”
Statement of Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie at the open meeting of the UN Security Council on Peace and Security in Africa (the expulsion of the seven UN staff from Ethiopia)
I don’t want to hide my surprise in the convening of this meeting of the Security Council. We find it incomprehensible for this August body to discuss the decision of a sovereign state exercised within the domain of international law and sovereign prerogative. There have been several instances where governments had expelled UN staff and other diplomatic envoys for so many disclosed and undisclosed reasons. Did the council ever meet to vindicate such a decision? Not to the best of our recollection.
We truly hoped council members would have the inside to leave this matter to the government Ethiopia and the United Nations. at the outset i would like to register our position that the government of Ethiopia is not under any legal obligation to provide justifications or explanation for its decisions.
We are obliged to make reference to the basic norms of the United Nations and its humanitarian operations. The General Assembly Resolution on Guiding Principles for Humanitarian Assistance 46/182 provides, the sovereignty, territorial integrity and national unity of states must be fully respected in accordance with the charter of the United Nations. The most fundamental element of the sovereignty of the state has to do with their prerogative to determine who enters, remains in and exits the territory. When we appeal for support and work with the UN or other humanitarian operators, we have not forgone this fundamental right. Therefore, the government will continue exercising its due right and responsibility on monitoring and screening all humanitarian operators in Ethiopia. Any suggestion to the contrary is unacceptable. As to the legality of the decision, leaving the details aside, the UN itself can be quoted for arguing decisions of Persona Non Grata apply to the UN as well.
When it comes to the obligation of U.N. staff, the rules are unequivocal. Article 101 paragraph 3 of the un charter provides all staff members employed by the United Nations must have the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity. In the context of humanitarian operations, integrity entails adhering to principles of neutrality impartiality, humanity and independence. It also requires respect for the laws and police power of the host state. Furthermore, they must respect the code of conduct of the UN, which among others provides the following. First, U.N. staff shall neither seek nor accept instruction from any government or from any other source external to the organization. Second staff members shall not use their office or knowledge gained from their official functions for private care, financial or otherwise or for the private gain of any third party, including family, friends and those they favour. Third, staff members shall not communicate to any government entity person or any other sources, any information known to them by reason of their official position. These cardinal principles for the safeguard of which U.N. staff enter a solemn oath and swear on their conscience mean that in the presence of contradicting views, competing interests, political pressures and all forms of temptation the un staff will remain neutral. In the presence of deceit, question and vested interest they will preserve their independence and the existence of consideration that may appear to be reasonable base for decision, the UN staff will be guided by humanity. The UN staff Ethiopia expelled sidelined their oath, the rules of professional conduct and the principles of humanitarian assistance
Let me cite few examples among the multitude of transgressions that we selected with great care and caution. Needless to say the misconduct of few individuals doesn’t speak to the professional and able team of the UN in Ethiopia or anywhere else. Rather it speaks of the serious ethical dilemma that existed in the humanitarian operation in Ethiopia for the past 11 months. These individuals executed the conspiracy created by TPLF and its member to generate an image of extreme casualty that warrants “humanitarian intervention and rescues the criminal group.” To use their own words they were looking to create a Darfur-like situation. They suddenly and overnight created one million victims of health disaster, while OCHA country office reports 2.8 million people that need emergency health assistance the main OCHA office was made to report 3.8 million only because that level of inflation of misery was needed to elevate the crisis to level three.
They categorized the situation in Tigray under IPC 5 based on data collected from a region of six million populations by a single FAO staff and interpreted by two UN staff that are Ethiopian and open TPLF supporters based in Rome. They assisted in fabrication of false allegations submitted to the U.N. Security Council on the white paper. The white paper contained unfounded an allegation including the use of hunger as a weapon and proffered the need to apply resolution 2417/18. The former head of OCHA was made to report to this council 152 Ethiopians died due to food shortage while such incidents had never occurred. They made up the data and went to the extent of disinforming this global security body. About two weeks ago they reported 12 individuals died of hunger in an IDP camp while the organization running the IDP camp, an internal organization itself, came out and state the allegations are simply false.
They implored U.N. agencies to conduct investigations outside of their mandate to meet the instruction of TPLF to generate exhibits matching the false allegation released on media and to supposedly substantiate a case before the ICC. They didn’t even show mercy to victims of gender-based violence. First, in violation of the protection of protocols of Safe Houses for victims of gender-based violence they invited TPLF armed men and militia to the safe houses. In addition, they exposed the safe house before an international media and invited interviewers and interrogators to Safe Houses to intimidate victims and illicit testimonies.
This Mr. President is happening in a city where close to 13, 000 detainees and prisoners were released with absolute impunity and thousands of armed youth are roaming in the streets already creating terror on residents. These individuals recorded a UN staff meeting and gave a copy to TPLF for the sake of providing it with material it could use to back its false allegations. These individuals openly celebrated and make other UN staff cheer the so-called victory of the TPLF and the withdrawal of the National Defense Forces from Tigray. They openly conducted activism in support of TPLF, a group proscribed as terrorist and make political statements that instigate violence and inflame the conscience of the Ethiopian public. They assisted siphoning food, medicine, communication equipment, all other essential supplies and equipment and transfer to TPLF.
Right before their expulsion, they were facilitating the deportation of ethnically segregated group of Ethiopian migrants from Saudi Arabia and their resettlement in third country in Africa for training and preparation before they join combat with TPLF. In effect a parallel UN operation that completely sidelined the U.N. country office was created. Apart from the selfish interest of individuals, we have evidence that the entire endeavor is created by a higher and more sophisticated motivation that seeks to undermine the Ethiopian state and rescue the TPLF. Ethiopia deeply resents this experience.
Expulsion was not our primary course of action. In multiple occasions, we explained our concern to UN officials. On July 8 2021 the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia wrote a letter to the UN Secretariat explaining in great details the misconducts of the UN staff that require corrective measures. We also summoned some individuals and warned them to halt their misconduct, nevertheless the transgression continued unabated.
We believe the UN agencies and their honourable role are undermined by these few individuals. Our request from the United Nation is first to deploy new staff that are aware of and will adhere to their professional code of conduct. Overwhelming majority of UN staff fulfil this requirement and would distance themselves from political mercenaries.
The government of Ethiopia stands ready to assist expeditious deployment of the replacement. More importantly, we request the UN to review all the reports, statements and assessments that were produced on the situation in Ethiopia in the past year. These reports and data and information they contain must be verified. This audit is necessary for us to build and sustain trust and advance the exemplary cooperation between the Ethiopian government and the United Nations.
The United Nation is an invaluable development and humanitarian partner for Ethiopia for many years. I want to underscore the great values we attach to the support of our organization during this difficult time. We also believe majority of the UN staff, we have the privilege of working with have the requisite integrity of and decency.
I would like to reassure this council the new Ethiopian government established with the popular will and mandate of the Ethiopian people to herald peace and prosperity stands ready to work with the international community to address long-standing and current challenges. We welcome and value initiative by leaders of our region, the African Union and the support of the Secretary General Antonio Guterres towards sustaining peace and stability in Ethiopia. We assure you that we will facilitate the visa requests. No one should doubt the Ethiopian tradition of hospitality. What we asked is respect, dignity and honesty, open and candid discussion. As we did in the past, we will always stretch our hands to all those who treat us with dignity and equality. That is and this is the story of an Ethiopian life since the time of the League of Nations.
I thank you again!