News: Ethiopia puts Ireland on notice, threatens to cut ties for alleged “attack against its sovereignty, territorial integrity”

Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy PM and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ethiopia. Photo: MFA Ethiopia/twitter

By Addis Standard Staff

Addis Ababa: Ethiopian Deputy PM and Foreign Affairs Minister Demeke Mekonnen wrote a letter to the Irish government threatening to cut diplomatic ties if the country does not refrain from undermining Ethiopia’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

The letter, which was first published via the ruling party affiliated FBC, reads that “Ethiopia’s plea to Ireland to reduce hostility and attacks against its sovereignty and territorial integrity has not been heeded. To our utter surprise, EU groups visiting Ethiopia privately advise us that we need to mend fences with Ireland if we desire to normalize relations with the European Union.”

Ethiopia also accused Ireland of having the “intent on emboldening the TPLF and calling for coercive actions against Ethiopia using its membership in the UNSC.”

The report did not mention the immediate cause for the notice, but quoted the letter as saying that “Ethiopia’s plea to Ireland to reduce hostility and attacks against its sovereignty and territorial integrity has not been heeded. To our utter surprise, EU groups visiting Ethiopia privately advise us that we need to mend fences with Ireland if we desire to normalize relations with the European Union.”

Ireland has been a vocal critique of the war in Ethiopia and has repeatedly called on the UN Security Council and the European Union to work towards securing cessation of hostilities, unfettered access to humanitarian aid and accountability against allegations of human rights violations committed in the Tigray war.

Ireland’s mission to the UN reflected similar call on 28 September during a briefing to the UNSC by Hanna Tetteh, the UN envoy to the Horn of Africa, op the latest development in Ethiopia’s war.

“Our view on the conflict in Ethiopia is clear: All parties must stop fighting; all parties must return to the African Union-led peace talks. The UNSC has a distinct role & responsibility. The conflict poses risks to and the region. It has a severe impact on civilians. It must end,” Ireland’s mission to the UN said.

This is the second diplomatic rupture between the two countries in a span of a year. In November last year the Ethiopian government had informed Ireland’s Embassy in Addis Abeba that four of the six Irish diplomats serving at the Embassy must leave the country within one week.

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs at the time said in a statement that the decision was made due to the positions Ireland has articulated internationally, including at the UN Security Council, on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.

Ambassador Redwan Hussein, National security adviser to Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, wrote on twitter saying that the two countries “relationship is at its nadir”.

“Ireland has been barbing and undermining Ethiopia incessantly in its real earnest for the last [two years],” he said, further adding that the government’s plea “made for the umpteenth time has been rebuffed & unheeded. Hence obliged to send an official ultimatum this week for Irish government.”

Ireland is among the countries that supported the recent UN resolution to extend the mandate of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia, which the Ethiopian government rejected.

On 10 October, Irish member of the European Parliament, Mick Wallace, told the block that the Ethiopian ambassador telling EU that they [Ethiopian Government] were trying to get aid into Tigray is untrue. “A terrible humanitarian crisis has unfolded” in Tigray he added.

Demeke Mekonnen’s letter to the Irish government says Ethiopia’s effort to mend relations with Ireland bore no fruit. The letter accuses Ireland of severing ties between Ethiopia and the European Union. :The Ministry of Foreign Affairs waits for Ireland’s response, based on which the Government can conclude whether the countries have reason enough to continue what is left of their relations based on the principles of mutual respect and sovereign equality of nations.”

The government of Ireland has not responded to the letter as of the publishing of this news. AS

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