Addis Abeba – Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that the ongoing civil war in Ethiopia “has shown the devastating consequence that war inflicts upon families, communities, livelihoods and the economy at large.” Released in connection with the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Prime Minister’s statement also called on “all parties involved to exercise maximum caution in engagement and refrain from further exacerbating a sensitive situation.”
The statement came one day after Ethiopia absented itself from a crucial vote at the United Nations General Assembly “deploring” the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A total of 141 countries voted in favor of a UN General Assembly resolution “deploring” Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. Whereas only five countries: Russia, Belarus, Syria, North Korea and Eritrea, voted against the resolution; and 35 countries, mainly from Africa, abstained. Ethiopia, however, became one of the 13 countries that did not vote in the resolution by absenting from the session.
In addition to “deploring” Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the UN resolution also demands that the Russian Federation immediately cease its use of force against Ukraine and to refrain from any further unlawful threat or use of force against any Member State; and that the Russian Federation immediately, completely and unconditionally withdraw all of its military forces from the territory of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
In his statement this morning, PM Abiy made no reference of the UN resolution, but admitted that “while the material consequence of war can be thought to be easily replenished, it is the lasting impact on the fabric of society that scars nations.”
He further said Ethiopia expresses its “concern at the escalating rhetoric that risks further intensifying the issue and call upon all concerned to explore the multiple pathways to reach an understanding.” A zero-sum situation need not be our reality, the Premier said, “especially when we can rely on the lessons of the past to draw us to greater heights of coexistence.”
In a televised message this morning, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov compared the U.S. to Hitler for “subjugating Europe,” according to media reports, and repeated Russia’s accusation that the Ukrainian government is “neo-Nazi”.
PM Abiy said the use of diplomatic “tools of creating international harmony are within our means” and expresses Ethiopia’s “sincerest wishes for peace to prevail as all concerned parties explore peaceful alternatives to the current status quo.”
In the last 16 months the leadership of PM Abiy has rejected repeated diplomatic calls to end Ethiopia’s ongoing civil war, including early diplomatic attempts of the African Union’s appointment of three Special Envoys to seek “to help the fraternal people of Ethiopia find a solution to the current problems, in the spirit of solidarity, guided by the dictum of ‘African solutions for African problems’.” AS
PM Abiy’s Full statement
The past two years have made it abundantly clear the level of interdependence within our global community. Issues we consider remote to our respective locations have in reality exposed our vulnerabilities in that no nation is an island. When the COVID19 virus emerged, the effects of individual national responses were felt throughout the world.
Two difficult years later, as our global community emerges from the economic and health shocks of the pandemic, returning the lives of our people to a level of normalcy is a priority. Particularly vulnerable sections of society. Whether it is a health pandemic or an armed confrontation, it is these vulnerable sections of our society that suffer the most.
Ethiopia has abundant lessons to share from its recent engagement in war. Our experience has shown the devastating consequence that war inflicts upon families, communities, livelihoods and the economy at large. While the material consequence of war can be thought to be easily replenished, it is the lasting impact on the fabric of society that scars nations.
It is with this recent recollection of war still fresh for many Ethiopians that my government calls upon all parties involved to exercise maximum caution in engagement and refrain from further exacerbating a sensitive situation.
As Ethiopia closely follows the developments in Europe with great caution, we urge all parties to exercise restraint in the Ukraine crisis. We express our concern at the escalating rhetoric that risks further intensifying the issue and call upon all concerned to explore the multiple pathways to reach an understanding.
Our tragic historical past as a global community coupled with the vast leaps and advancements we have made in the 21st century beckon a more nuanced approach in our international relations and diplomacy.
A zero-sum situation need not be our reality, especially when we can rely on the lessons of the past to draw us to greater heights of coexistence. The multilateral institutions and international norms we have built collectively need not be a site of isolation when we designed them to be a mechanism for problem solving, heightened diplomacy and collective development.
Let not the failure of diplomacy be the reason millions of lives are uprooted and global shock waves felt throughout when the tools of creating international harmony are within our means. Ethiopia expresses sincerest wishes for peace to prevail as all concerned parties explore peaceful alternatives to the current status quo.
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