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News Alert: EU envoy off to Saudi Arabia, UAE en route his second trip to Ethiopia to discuss crisis in Tigray

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto during the later’s visit to Ethiopia on July 10 2019. Source: PMO

Addis Abeba, April 03/2021 – Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, and EU’s envoy to Ethiopia mandated by the block’s High Representative Josep Borrell, is on his way to the Kindom of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates “for discussions on regional issues as well as the situation in Tigray,” the EU said in a statement.

After his trip to KSA and UAE, Foreign Minister Haavisto will be traveling to Ethiopia on his second mission as EU’s envoy where he “will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications,” the statement said.

“During his visit, Haavisto will meet with Ethiopian authorities, and convey the EU’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling all parties to end hostilities and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law, as well as to allow independent investigations on alleged human rights abuse.”

He will also “recall that Eritrean forces shall withdraw from Tigray” and “consult with the African Union to exchange views on the situation in Ethiopia as well as on regional issues.”

Upon completion of his trip, FM Haavisto will breif the EU Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the next Foreign Affairs Council this month.

On March 23, while announcing the envoy’s second mission, Josep Borrell said the block was “ready to activate all our foreign policy tools against those responsible for human rights violations,” in connection with the ongoing armed conflict in Tigray regional state, and that “this applies to all parties to the conflict.”

His trip comes a day after the G7 Foreign Ministers called for “the end of violence” in Tigray and the “establishment of a clear inclusive political process that is acceptable to all Ethiopians, including those in Tigray and which leads to credible elections and a wider national reconciliation process.”

The Ethiopian government is facing a mounting international pressure
following the release on April 02 of two reports by BBC and CNN which suggest the involvment of members of the Ethiopian National Defense Forces (ENDF) in a massacre of a group of unarmed young men in Mahibere Dego, in central Tigray. The two news organizations said they have analized a vedio footage which emerged in early March showing the mass execusion of the men by what both confirm were members of ENDF.

It is to be recalled that during his first mission to Ethiopia as EU’s envoy, the Finnish Foreign Minister accused the federal government of being in “denial” over the depth of the humanitarian crisis in Tigray which he said was spiraling “out of control.”

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In response, Ambassador Hirut Zemene, Ethiopia’s envoy to Belgium, Luxembourg and EU institutions, said the envoy’s remarks were “regrettable” and do not “reflect the reality on the ground and contain unsubstantiated claims.” Ambassador Hirut also accused Mr Haavisto of showing “no interest to travel to the region, but instead resorted to visit the refugee camp in neighbouring Sudan and extrapolate grossly inadequate information to provide unfounded claims that put unnecessary pressure on the government of Ethiopia.” AS

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