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News: President Sahle-Work cautions against using “race and religion” for political gain, calls it “crossing red line” after meeting with Orthodox Church leaders

From left: His Holiness Abune Pertos, Head of the Holy Synod Secretariat, His Holiness Abune Mathias I, Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church, President Sahle-Work, and His Holiness Abune Abraha, General Manager of the Holy Synod. Photo: President’s office

Addis Abeba – Ethiopian President Sahle-Work Zewde, in a statement she released on social media after meeting with leaders of the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church (EOTC), including the Patriarch Abune Mathias I, said that “using race and religion for political gain is crossing the red line”.

“If no boundaries are set in life, work, and social aspects, it become a source of danger for human kind,” she remarked in connection to the ongoing schism within the EOTC.

Expressing her grief for the lives lost during confrontations between faithfuls and security forces, she said that, “religions are the last strongholds for us, believers. They give hope, strength and endurance”.

The President asserted that the issue of religion should be left to churches, religious fathers and its devotees, calling upon all to preserve and protect them from attacks, adding that, “caution, ingenuity, wisdom, tender heart, composure and prudence are methods of solving problems”.

The President urged the need to ensure issues that she described as “non-negotiable and foundation of the country” such as fundamental rights of citizens, rule of law, compliance with the law, accountability, freedom of thought, right to access to information, to not not be exposed to danger.

“Without putting to end the misery we have been in, without mending the many fractures that have been inflicted on the people and the country, without ending conflicts that are taking lives, in a country where many of our citizens have been displaced, and where millions of people are in need of humanitarian aid, I don’t see any other option but to come together, discuss and work in harmony,” she said. AS

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