Thursday, 26th November 2020
On Wednesday, 25th November 2020, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, H.E. Mr Demeke Mekonnen, met and held discussions with his British counterpart, The Rt Hon Dominic Raab MP, to deliver a message from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Dr Abiy Ahmed.
The Deputy Prime Minister was visiting the UK as part of his wider trip to Europe, where he has been briefing officials on the current law enforcement operations taking place in Ethiopia.
During the meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke outlined the reform process initiated in Ethiopia two and a half years ago and the repeated Government efforts to encourage the TPLF leadership to be part and parcel of the popular democratisation process. However, the TPLF leadership proved unwilling to engage, instead opting to sow instability across the country by unlawfully training, arming, and financing extremist forces.
Deputy Prime Minister Demeke further briefed the Foreign Secretary on the necessity of the law enforcement operation in the Tigray region – on the one hand, emphasising the need to bring to justice the TPLF junta that attacked and killed members of the Ethiopian Defense Forces on 4th November 2020, and on the other, the attention being given to undertake the operation with maximum care to avoid civilian casualties.
The Deputy Prime Minister also underlined the primary responsibility of the Federal Government to maintain the rule of law, ensure the peace and security of the people of Ethiopia, and protect and defend the constitution of the land.
In this regard, he explained that a provisional administration had been set up in the Tigray region to address the urgent needs of the people and to strengthen the existing administrative structures at the district and local levels.
With regards to the humanitarian situation, the Deputy Prime Minister assured the Foreign Secretary of the Federal Government’s commitment to responding to the needs of citizens in the Tigray Region. He explained that the Government had dispatched officials to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground and has put in place provisions of food and medicine for affected peoples in the Region. He further added that the Government was collaborating with UN agencies to ensure safe access to areas liberated from TLPF control.
Efforts are also underway to support refugees who have fled to the Sudan to return to their communities and settle peacefully in their home country, the Deputy Prime Minister added, saying that the government stands ready to support all Ethiopians that have fled.
Finally, while respecting and appreciating the concern expressed by the Foreign Secretary, Deputy Prime Minister Demeke called for the understanding and support of the UK government in the efforts underway to maintain law and order in the country. Stating that these activities will have far-reaching implications in sustaining the reform process and safeguarding long-term peace and stability in the country, as well as the sub-region.
…the government takes its responsibility to safeguard civilians seriously
During his visit to the UK, the Deputy Prime Minister also met with the British Prime Minister’s International Affairs Adviser and Deputy National Security Adviser, David Quarrey CMG.
The Deputy Prime Minister explained that the Federal Government took its responsibilities to safeguard civilians in conflict areas very seriously and had put in place all necessary measures to ensure minimal civilian casualties. He also confirmed that the Government’s preparations to guarantee humanitarian corridors in these areas were being finalised.
Recalling the indispensable role Ethiopia has played in promoting peace and security in the Region, Mr Quarrey expressed his hope that Ethiopia would continue to be a source of stability going forward.
Ethiopia’s relationship with the United Kingdom continues to be among the most dependable, mature and mutually beneficial of any that it enjoys with other countries. The UK has long been a trusted partner in Ethiopia, and over the centuries, Ethiopia has enjoyed close economic, diplomatic and cultural relations with the United Kingdom. Both countries collaborate on many issues of mutual concern at the regional and global levels. Both countries also continue to share a common vision of the kind of well-ordered global society that can ensure social justice, peace and prosperity.