Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government is on a media offensive designed to attack all the established news organisations for spreading “fake news” about the war in Tigray and beyond.
But they are also keen to deny suggestions that the African Union mediator, President Obasanjo’s trip to Mekelle was in any way a prelude to negotiations, or part of a mediation process.
Hence they say: “As the high representative has travelled within the region and around the world to prepared for his mission, it is also apparent that he travels within Ethiopia to find out for himself on the situation on the ground. Therefore, his trip to Mekelle should also be looked within this perspective emphasising that no negotiation or a process of mediation with a terrorist group.”
The full briefing, or “Talking Points” is reproduced below.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Federal Democratic Republic Ethiopia
Talking Points For November 8-15, 2021
Critical issues that need emphasis
▪ Regarding the international media’s negative role in tarnishing the name of the Ethiopian government
– Media outlets such as BBC, CNN, Aljazeera (English), Reuters and AP amongst others, have relentlessly been engaged in circulating fake news with regards to the Ethiopian conflict.
– Warnings should be given to these outlets broadcasting baseless reports and that an appropriate measure would be taken on entities repeatedly reporting fallacious news,
– Share information on media outlets disseminating fake news and expose their negative campaigns.
– In this regards, concerted activities should be carried out by all pertinent bodies including MOFA.
▪ Regarding various meetings that will be held by influential bodies such as the UNSC, AUPSC, EU
▪ Ethiopia, these days, has been a topic of discussions in various forums that have the potential to a far-reaching consequence. Hence, it is essential to gather prior information on such meetings and closely monitor as well as adequately prepare to defend and represent the country in such meetings.
▪ It is also crucial that emphasis is put on seamlessly advocate our country’s interest in the global arena by producing guidelines and plan of actions.
▪ Regarding propaganda alluding that “Addis Ababa has been encircled”
– All Director Generals in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all Ethiopian missions need to engage Embassies and Consulate offices based in Addis Ababa and respective foreign offices to reiterate the fact on the ground and discredit false reports that seek to spread panic not only in Ethiopia but also in the international arena.
▪ Regarding foreign countries calling on their nationals to evacuate Ethiopia
– In order to evacuate their nationals, countries have to provide the necessary documents that federal authorities require. Any activity by countries that transcend the outlined guidelines by the federal authorities need to be followed up with a warning.
– Requests of evacuation should be submitted to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
– The activities of evacuation are deliberate to discredit the country and its legitimate government. In this connection, Director Generals and Mission Heads should engage with diplomatic missions in Addis and respective foreign ministries in order to explain that such activities and narratives are harmful to our relations.
– Consequently, since Ethiopia is being portrayed as an unsafe country to reside in, this false narrative given to the country needs to be reversed.
– Internationally, there is a need to focus on rebuilding the credence of the country.
– In this connection, it needs to be informed that bringing foreign soldiers with the pretext of protecting embassy property and Nationals is prohibited.
– DGs strive to organize retreats for the diplomatic community and media so that they could observe for themselves that what is propagated by the fake media is untrue.
▪ Regarding international conferences planned to be held in Addis Ababa
– Rescheduling of previously planned international conferences needs to be combatted and Ethiopia’s stance needs to be fully reiterated.
– More specifically, efforts to uproot the ‘International Telecommunication Union’ conference from Ethiopia needs to be closely followed.
▪ Regarding the high representative for the Horn of Africa H.E. Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit to Mekelle
▪ As the high representative has travelled within the region and around the world to prepared for his mission, it is also apparent that he travels within Ethiopia to find out for himself on the situation on the ground. Therefore, his trip to Mekelle should also be looked within this perspective emphasising that no negotiation or a process of mediation with a terrorist group.
▪ Regarding the joint investigation by the UN Human Rights Office and the EHRC
– The report on the joint investigation has been accepted positively by major countries, the UN and the EU.
– However, it doesn’t mean that Ethiopia would agree with all its points need and therefore the matter has to be closely followed.
– It is critical that Ethiopia’s initial and self-motivated stride to adequately investigate and address human rights allegations must be brought to light. In addition, the measures taken by the Ethiopian government as a result of its investigation’s findings need to be made available to the lager public.
– The International Legal Affairs Directorate General should work with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission to investigate allegations in Amhara and Afar Regions and make the findings public.
▪ Regarding AGOA
– Given the fact that the American congress will pass a decision in January of 2022 on Ethiopia’s membership in AGOA, it is now essential more than ever to strictly work on diverting the outcome of a negative decision.
– It is high time to persuade congress members by briefing them about the fact on the ground.
– In this regard, we should mobilize the private sector, investors benefiting by AGOA and other mechanisms.
▪ Regarding the diplomatic community’s service
▪ Various Embassies have presented their request to bring in their security personnel along with their weaponry in Ethiopia with a pretext on a security threat.
▪ Nevertheless, although the embassies can work in close contact with the Ethiopian federal police authorities, the proposals presented by the embassies is “unacceptable.”
▪ On this matter the Ministry of Foreign Affairs can coordinate with the federal police. As a result of this, additional security personnel from the federal police can be stationed for the embassies in order to maximise their safety.
▪ Evacuation of people needs to be done in alignment with the Embassy and needs to be in conformity with country’s laws and regulations.
▪ Utterances amongst the diplomatic community that ‘there is no law in Ethiopia’ needs to be combated and serious work needs to be done in cooperation with the concerning bodies.
▪ Regarding IGAD
▪ In Sudan; After the coup, new political developments are happening on every day basis. Therefore, there is a need to continuously engage in producing critical analysis to our engagements.
▪ In Somalia; Since their election is nearing, close engagement and work is essential.
▪ In Uganda; straying away from the usual friendly relations that exist between Ethiopia and Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni’s son has been publicly reiterating unacceptable comments. Therefore, it is vital to closely monitor this issue and hold discussions with the appropriate entity to ultimately reach a solution.
▪ We should work to maximize to our advantage the next IGAD Summit.
Specific Duties to Embassies
- Nairobi Mission
– Nairobi is serving as the base for many false reporting entities and the media as well as TPLF and OLA masterminds. Therefore, Ethiopia’s embassy in Kenya needs to closely follow up on this matter and expose their activities.
– In relation to this, the embassy needs to produce an action plan and an analysis which will help to reverse the problem.
- Kampala Mission
– Recently a higher official of the Ugandan Government has been twitting messages in favour of the TPLF. Accordingly, it is essential to approach and engage with this official and explain the facts on the ground.
– It is also imperative to follow up the preparation of the IGAD Summit and decide on our position in consultation with the Directorate General.
- Washington DC, USA
– The Embassy should strengthen its engagement with congress members who have positive viewpoint. Invitation should be sent to these Congress members to come and visit Ethiopia.
- New York Mission
– Efforts should be made to win back the confidence and support of A-3 countries.
– We should provide timely and adequate information on the situation on the ground
- Directorate Generals
– Directorate Generals should prepare a two months plan of engagement with the diplomatic community. They should identify necessary platforms where the DPM & FM as well as State Ministers should also engage.
– Director Generals should report their daily activities and findings to the Office of the State Minister for Political and Economic Affairs.