PM Abiy Ahmed questions Kenya's role in Ethiopia conflict

In this file from from 2019, President Uhuru Kenyatta and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed Ali converse during the official opening of the Debre Birhan Industrial Park in the Amhara Region of Ethiopia. PHOTO | FILE

ADDIS ABABA - The federal republic of Ethiopia has questioned Kenya's role in mediating the conflict, just weeks after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken engaged President Uhuru Kenyatta directly over the 13-month war which has cost devastating effect.

In his weekly conference, Ambassador Dina Mufti asked the United States to work directly with Ethiopia instead of going through proxies like the republic of Kenya in solving the Tigray conflict which has almost broken the country into pieces.

He also recalled Blinken’s discussion on important regional issues, including the situations in both Ethiopia and Somalia, with Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta and said, “Instead of taking matters that concern Ethiopia to third parties, we invite the U.S. and other countries to engage with us directly.”

Blinken visited Kenya recently over the conflict in the Horn of Africa where he extensively discussed the current situation in Ethiopia and Somalia. Before his visit, President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya visited Ethiopia briefly for fact-finding.

Early this week, Secretary Blinken also called President Uhuru Kenyatta and discussed the ongoing conflict in Tigray and Somalia's political crisis which has delayed elections. Kenya is a strategic partner of the United States on matters of security and development.

Addressing the evaluation of three months’ performance of the ministry, the ambassador said, “The Ministry was successful in the realms of maintaining Ethiopia’s sovereignty, territorial integrity, withstanding the UN Security Council pressure and encouraging a pan-African movement.”

He discussed the events unfolding in both Sudan and Somalia and argued that both events resulted from foreign interventions and advised that issues be settled through an African-led initiative. He said, “In fact, their conflicts have spillover effects on Ethiopia and the Ethiopian government will help them in their endeavors to handle the issues.”

He went on to discuss political, economic, and citizen-centered diplomacy policies and addressed an event dubbed as “Great Homecoming Challenge” that will be held at Wodajinet Park in Addis Abeba led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen as an appreciation for Diaspora role in initiatives related to the economic, social and political welfare of the country.

He further disclosed that during the Homecoming Challenge, designated institutions will facilitate with the diaspora to have them engaged in the reconstruction programs including in tourism, investment, and other sectors throughout the country.

When asked about the safety of travel to areas under the control of Federal and allied forces especially in the case of Lalibela, the spokesperson said, “Flights and other means of transportations are readily available and Lalibela will host the coming Epiphany holiday at a larger scale,” he added, “Details will be provided by the Amhara Regional Government as to how the holiday will be celebrated.”

Before concluding the briefing the spokesperson addressed the issue of repatriating citizens from Saudi Arabia. He admitted that the MoFA was receiving complaints that the embassy and general consulate in Riyadh and Jeddah were denying citizens assistance. He urged the said institutions to dispose of their responsibilities accordingly.


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