The spokesperson of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia
, H.E. Ambassador Dina Mufti, gave the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing today (January 12, 2021) to the media. In his presentation, the Ambassador focused on the diplomatic activities of the DPM and FM H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, #Ethiopia-#Sudan Border Dispute, the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (#GERD), economic diplomacy and capacity building activities and
collaboration between Ethiopians and our missions in Europe within the past two weeks. Here is the summary of the press briefing:
I. Diplomatic Activities of the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, H.E. Demeke Mekonnen
• H.E. Mr.Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Mr. Joseph Borrell, High Representative for the Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of European Union conferred over the phone and exchanged views on the current humanitarian situation in Tigray region. H.E. Mr.Demeke briefed the High Representative on the reconstruction and rehabilitation activities in the region which is being implemented under a cluster-based coordination mechanism.
• H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia has met and discussed with cluster leaders of Ethiopia’s Public Diplomacy team at his office. The meeting aimed at deliberating ways to better use the public diplomatic team in promoting and protecting the sovereignty of the country. Deliberations have also been made following presentations of detailed plans by the cluster leaders regarding tasks that need to be carried out by the public diplomacy team.
• H.E. Demeke Mekonnen Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia has participated in a Virtual Fundraising Event that was organised by Ethiopian taskforce UK in collaboration with Ethiopian Embassy in UK to help displaced and affected people in Ethiopia. The event was held yesterday where a number of some senior officials, including peace Minister, H.E. Mufariat Kamil have participated as guest speakers. The fundraising program will stay for 3 weeks.
• H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia and H.E. Ambassador Girma Biru, macroeconomic advisor to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, chaired on Tuesday (January 05) the regular meeting of the joint forum that was established to tackle challenges of attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ethiopia. The meeting deliberated the types of problems foreign investors are facing in the country today and measures taken to alleviate the observed hurdles.
1. Historical accounts
– boundary treaty in delimiting the Ethio-Sudan border was signed between the Government of Ethiopia and British Colonial administration of Sudan
-the treaty declared the establishment of a Joint Boundary Commission for the demarcation of the common boundary
-the representative of British (Major Gwynn) unilaterally carried out the demarcation process without the presence of the representative of Ethiopia or the authorization of the Ethiopian Government.
– As a result, the Gwynn demarcation particularly in the area North of Mount Dagleish remained controversial and disputed.
– In order to solve the long overdue boundary dispute between the two countries, the Government of Ethiopia and the Sudan through their Foreign Ministers Exchange of Notes agreed:
to proceed the re-demarcation process from Mount Dagleish southwards
to study the problem resulting from settlements and cultivation by nationals of either nation in the territory of the other with a view to finding an amicable solution
– Two months after the signing of the Notes, the Foreign Minister of Sudan wrote a letter to Ethiopia informing the later that the government of the Sudan had written a letter to the then Chairman of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) informing that the conclusion of an agreement governing the longest frontier between the two African countries
– In addition to this, they informed Ethiopia that the government of the Sudan had ratified and deposited the 1972 Exchange of Notes in accordance with article 102 of United Nation Charter.
– As it is clearly envisaged under the 1972 Exchange of Notes, finding of an amicable solution for the problem resulting from cultivation and settlement is a prerequisite for the re-demarcation of the Gwynn Line north of Mount Daeglish
– Immediately after the signing of the 1972 Exchange of Notes both countries set up a joint boundary commission to re-demarcate the boundary south of Mount Dagleish but due to change of government in 1974 in Ethiopia the agreed upon re-demarcation project did not materialize.
– both Ethiopia and the Sudan decided to implement the 1972 Exchange of Notes and establish a Joint Special Committee that was mandated to find an amicable solution for the problem resulting from settlement and cultivation in the area north of Mount Dagleish
– Moreover, both countries agreed and set up Joint Boundary Commission (JBC) and Joint Technical Boundary Committee (JTBC) to re-demarcate the boundary line between the two countries, based on the amicable solution of the Joint Special Committee, particularly for the boundary sector north of Mount Dagleish
– The Joint Special Committee, even though it held eight meetings, it did not complete its task given to it under the 1972 Exchange of Note and its Terms of Reference adopted by the agreement of our two countries
– while negotiation was on going the two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in 2005 to give temporary solution to a specific challenge until a final agreement is reached on the amicable solution that the two countries will agree on
– It must be underlined that the MoU reasserted the status quo holdings of Ethiopian nationals by agreeing not to displace them and prohibited new penetration
– the 2005 MoU is a supplementary and temporary solution, which supports the 1972 Exchange of Notes. Therefore, it is by no means intended to replace the mandate entrusted to the Joint Special Committee by the 1972 Exchange of Notes
2. The way forward
• the Joint Special Committee which was formed according to the 1975 Exchange of notes shall be reactivated to reconvene its meeting and submit its final report recommending an amicable solution to the appropriate body. It is, therefore, essential that the finding of an amicable solution has to be accomplished prior to the re-demarcation of the Gwynn line in the sector north of Mount Dagleish.
• The boundary line should not be a point of separation wall, rather it is contact point that would enhance and cement cooperation and collaboration among nationals of both countries. It is an international norm and practices that boundary issues are resolved by negotiation and dialogue between the concerned parties.
• Any type of unilateral exercise is not helpful in finding a lasting solution. What the Sudan is doing at the moment is unprecedented and it did not reflect the interest of its people.
• The virtual meeting of Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Ministers of Water Affairs of Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan was held on 10 January 2021.
• The Chairperson of the AU Executive Council proposed for the three countries to have a three days bilateral meeting with the AU designated experts to be followed by a trilateral meeting and report the outcome to her office.
• While Ethiopia and Egypt agreed with the proposition, Sudan declined (putting enhancement of the Terms of reference of the experts as a prerequisite) compelling the closure of the meeting.
• The Chairperson of the AU Executive Council will report to the Chairperson of the African Union.
IV. Capacity Building
• A high-level online workshop on environmental diplomacy, encompassing a number of Ethiopian ambassadors and diplomats, kicked off yesterday (January 11). The four-day workshop will cover the basics in climate change science and Climate Diplomacy, international climate change policy frameworks and negotiations, including international considerations for climate change decision-making. State Minister H.E. Ambassador Redwan Hussien has delivered a keynote speech where he underlined Ethiopia’s commitment to be at the forefront of climate change issues in the international arena.
• The Embassy of Ethiopia in France, in collaboration with stakeholders, conducted a virtual Ethiopian Coffee Promotion Meeting yesterday (January 11). Over 53 participants, including coffee roasters and importers from France, Spain and Portugal and exporters from Ethiopia and other stakeholders attended the meeting. State Minister H.E. Mrs.TsionTeklu delivered a keynote speech.
VI. Collaboration between Ethiopians and our missions in #Europe
• The Geneva Press Club and the Network of Ethiopians in Geneva for Action Taskforce (NEGAT) in collaboration with the Ethiopian permanent mission in Geneva have organized a press conference on January 06. Ambassador ZenebeKebede said the conference aimed at putting Developments in Ethiopia in the right perspective and correcting the misinformation circulating in social and mainstream media outlets regarding the law enforcement operation in the Tigray regional state. Ethiopia’s Attorney General Dr.GedionTimothewos, Chief Commissioner of Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, Dr. Daniel Bekele, and Prof. BerhanuNega from Ethiopian Citizens for Social Justice (Ezema) have reflected on several issues surrounding the measure taken against the TPLF clique.
• Ethiopian Organizations in Europe submitted a statement to Ms. Michelle Bachelet Jeria, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) expressing their profound dismay, sadness and disappointment at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), following the High Commissioner Michelle Bachelet’s Press Statement on the 22nd of December regarding the situation in Northern Ethiopia. The letter was Initiated by Network of Ethiopians in Geneva for Action Taskforce (NEGAT) and endorsed by more than 20 Ethiopian-based associations in Europe