Getahun Tsegaye @GetahunTsegay12
Addis Abeba, September 03/2021 – Ambassador Dina Mufti, the Spokesperson of of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing yesterday to local and international media discussing top political, economic and citizen-centered diplomacy agendas.
“Ethiopia believes that Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been appointed as the African Union’s envoy to the Horn of Africa, will play a constructive role in resolving the problems in East Africa.”Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson of MoFA
The spokesperson discussed the recent appointment of Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria as High Representative for the Horn of Africa by African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki. Amb. Dina Mufti said, “Ethiopia believes that Olusegun Obasanjo, who has been appointed as the African Union’s envoy to the Horn of Africa, will play a constructive role in resolving the problems in East Africa,” he added, “Olusegun Obasanjo is a mature African diplomat. He is committed to solving Africa’s problems through African means and respects Ethiopia and its people.”
The Ambassador then discussed the humanitarian situation in Tigray, disclosed information about the repatriation process of citizens from Saudi Arabia, Tanzania and Yemen before opening the floor for questions.
Addis Standard asked if Ethiopia’s recent closure of its embassy in Algeria would impact the initiative Algeria proposed to mediate over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the Ethio-Sudan dispute. He responded by explaining that the Ethiopian government has been engaged in what he described as ‘right sizing’ embassies and consulates abroad with the objectives of being efficient, all the while considering financial aspects.
He argued that the term ‘closing embassies’ does not define what the MoFA is currently working on. He said, “MoFA is conducting reforms in ‘right sizing’ embassies and consulates which does not imply that Ethiopia is severing its diplomatic relations with other countries. Ethiopia will continue its relations with foreign countries through non-resident envoys.”
In relation to the question, he explained that Ethiopia still has strong relations with Algeria and the initiative Algeria proposed would be welcomed as long as it satisfies Ethiopia’s national interest. He added that the Sudanese encroachment on Ethiopia’s border is unacceptable and agreements can be reached based only on previous agreements the two countries made.
“Because there are many residents and the Hajj and Umrah are crucial aspects that need to be considered, the government will implement an option called Honorary Consulate to serve and accommodate these demands.”Amb. Dina Mufti
Addis Standard further asked about reports suggesting that Ethiopia would close its General Consulate in Jeddah and how the closure would impact legal residents in Saudi Arabia, facilitation for Hajj and Umrah pilgrims.
Amb. Dina replied, “The Ethiopian government is still reviewing whether to close the consulate or not,” he added, “Because there are many residents and the Hajj and Umrah are crucial aspects that need to be considered, the government will implement an option called Honorary Consulate to serve and accommodate these demands.”
Amb. Dina also replied to a question by Addis Standard with regard to reports of defections of some Ethiopian ambassadors to foreign countries, he said, “I do not have any information about such news.” According to him, most of the ambassadors that had been recalled by the Ethiopian government are home and are taking courses in relation to the reforms intended by the MoFA. AS