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The Brief from The Ethiopian Embassy in London, May edition.

On Ethiopia's 2021 Elections...

Statement from the Office of the Prime Minister on the Progress of Electoral Preparations

As the highly anticipated national elections will be held on June 5, 2021 with the cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa casting their vote on June 12, 2021, far reaching preparations have been undertaken by the Government in all regions, together with the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has been convening Regional Presidents and the leadership of the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia for the past few weeks, to review progress and provide direction on addressing bottlenecks. Resultantly, a follow-up meeting was held online on Tuesday 4 May to assess voter registration, polling station setup and transportation of polling materials to each constituency.

Based on the report provided and discussion with Regional Presidents, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed acknowledged the progress made since the last meeting in increments of voters’ registration. With continued work in the remaining days, he reiterated that voter registration has a marked increase in comparison to the 5th National Elections held in 2015.

In ensuring that the elections are peaceful, the Federal government has been organizing election security forces to be deployed at each polling station in coming weeks and to complement regional electoral police in their work to ensure peace and security. Citing the positive turnout in voter registration, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed noted that citizens have the desire and high expectation to engage in the upcoming elections and noted that concerned authorities need to engage community members to be custodians of peace.

The Government of Ethiopia continues to be committed to holding democratic and peaceful elections and has shown goodwill in creating an enabling environment, within its capacity, for international election observers. We welcome all international observers who are interested in witnessing Ethiopia’s process. Ultimately, the Ethiopian people are the primary observers in ensuring legitimacy and whose commitment to peace and democracy is sought. Therefore, all Ethiopians are encouraged to continue registering for voting cards in an exercise of their democratic rights and advised to be vigilant in safeguarding their communities.

On the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam and Ethio-Sudan Border…

Press Release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the Statement issued on the GERD and Ethiopia-Sudan Border Dispute by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia had to issue this press statement because of the unwarranted, provocative and increasingly bellicose propaganda campaign by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of the Sudan against Ethiopia. Ethiopia has long refrained from reacting to the numerous fabricated stories appearing in the press statements of Sudanese institutions and remarks by government officials, taking into account the historic and fraternal relations between the brotherly peoples of Ethiopia and the Sudan. However, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, with a view to setting the record straight, would like to make the following points very clear to the brotherly people of the Sudan and the international community at large.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Sudan, in its press statement issued on 1st May 2021, has once again attempted to mislead the people of the Sudan and the international community on issues related to the Ethiopia-Sudan boundary and the trilateral negotiations on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Ethiopia, as an old, independent and sovereign country, has a time-tested reputation in respecting international treaties and obligations it has signed up to.

The unfounded statement by the Sudanese Foreign Ministry only aims at covering up the continuing aggression committed by the Sudan since 6 November 2020, in violation of international principles, bilateral agreements and established joint boundary mechanisms. The unprecedented hostile military actions by the Sudan, the current Chair of our regional organization, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), has resulted in the looting and burning of properties, killing of civilians as well as, the displacement of thousands of Ethiopians.

Ethiopia strongly believes that all the recent actions and vitriolic propaganda campaigns by the Government of the Sudan against Ethiopia do not reflect the wishes and aspirations of the peace-loving people of the Sudan. Ethiopia has consistently been calling the Government of the Sudan to reverse its aggression and resolve the boundary issue in accordance with bilateral agreements and joint boundary mechanisms to finalize the re-demarcation process.

The reference in the Sudanese statement to the Benishangul-Gumuz Region of Ethiopia is indeed utterly ridiculous. It is common knowledge that Ethiopia’s historic territories in the west would have been extended beyond what is now Ethiopia`s boundary, if it was not for existing boundary agreements.

The attempt by the Government of the Sudan to mix the boundary treaties with the unjust, exclusive and colonial-based bilateral “agreements” on the utilization of the waters of the Nile is regrettable. As far as Ethiopia is concerned, it has repeatedly expressed its position regarding those colonial-based agreements, whose sole aim was and still is to deny the rights of upper riparian states, including Ethiopia, to use the waters of the Nile. Therefore, Ethiopia categorically rejects any and all attempts to preserve a self-appropriated water quota among the downstream countries. The insistence of downstream countries to monopolize the waters of the Nile and politicization of technical issues are the main challenges that the trilateral negotiations have faced.

Ethiopia calls for the peaceful resolution of the boundary issues with the Sudan based on the existing joint boundary mechanisms and finalizing the trilateral negotiations on the GERD in accordance with the Declaration of Principles (DoP) of 2015. In fact, it is not clear, to whose interest that the current authorities in the Sudan have suddenly changed their position, although they had repeatedly pointed out that the GERD has enormous benefits to the Sudan.

Ethiopia highly values the historical and brotherly relations that exist between the two countries and is still committed to address all related issues through dialogue and negotiations. It once again calls upon the Government of the Sudan to desist from this unhelpful campaign and commit itself to dialogue and peaceful resolution. In this regard, Ethiopia looks forward to the engagement of the international community in encouraging the Sudan towards a peaceful resolution of the dispute.

n the Situation in Tigray…

It is to be recalled that the primary objective of the intervention by the Federal government in the current phase of the rule of law operations in Tigray remains two-fold:

  1. To rebuild the region by ensuring that humanitarian needs are addressed; damaged infrastructure are repaired, and administrative and governance functions are restored to effectively provide public services to citizens, and

  2. To complete the process of bringing to justice the perpetrators of crime still actively operating in the region

... Humanitarian Update and Rehabilitation

Summary of the Remarks by H.E Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission, at a virtual panel discussion hosted by Chatham House on “Ethiopia’s Tigray region: Priorities for Protecting Civilians and Delivering Humanitarian Assistance Since the completion of the law enforcement operation, food and non-food items have been delivered to 4.5 million beneficiaries (first round) and 2.7 million beneficiaries (second round) in the Region. During the first two rounds of distribution, a total of 120,000 Metric Tons (MT) of food worth 94.6 million USD has been distributed to beneficiaries. An Emergency Coordination Center (ECC), comprising all relevant line ministries, regional bureaus, UN Agencies, local and international humanitarian agencies, has been established in Mekele to enhance the safe, efficient and effective delivery of humanitarian assistance. The ECC is mandated to address immediate food and non-food needs in an organized and coordinated manner. The food distributed in the Region thus far has been financed and/or sourced by both the Government (70%) and its local and international partners (30%). Currently 6 operators, namely World Food Programme, World Vision, CARE, Relief Society of Tigray (REST), Food for the Hungry (FH) and the Government of Ethiopia are providing food assistance in the Region. Out of the 92 Woredas (districts) in the Region, WFP, World Vision, CARE, REST and FH are operating in 79 districts (86%) while the Government of Ethiopia is responsible for 13 districts (14%). Otherwise, a total of 192 UN staff, 25 international organisations and 6 national NGOs have been provided access to the Region to support the emergency response. More than 49,117 Emergency Shelters & NFI kits, including 41 Rub halls worth 10.9 million USD have been supplied to more than 245,586 IDPs. Nonetheless, there remains a significant gap in the provision of non-food items. So far only 33% of the total requirement has been covered by partners, whereas the major contribution has been shouldered by the Government of Ethiopia. Health Emergency medicines have been supplied to the Region by the Ministry of Health and partners to strengthen basic health services and facilities. The Ministry of Health has been working to functionalize health facilities in the region and avail emergency supplies to hospitals and other health institutions. In addition to that, more than 57 mobile health team have been established to deliver health services in areas where health facilities are not functional. 2 UN agencies and 9 International organisations, in collaboration with the Region’s Health Bureau, are currently providing mobile health services across different woredas in the Region. Women and children have been given priority and emergency medicines have also been delivered to key areas using air transport. Water Water pipelines maintenance has continued. More than 120 water trucks have been deployed to different IDP site and host communities in 25 Woredas. Maintenance of 44 boreholes, 180 shallow-wells and 78 hand dug wells has also been undertaken. Agriculture The federal Ministry of Agriculture has allocated 10 million birr to strengthen the regional agriculture and natural resource bureau. Additional support is ongoing with the coordination of regional agriculture and natural resource bureau. Education The Ministry of Education has allocated 95 million birr to reopen schools. It has also dispatched 1 million face masks to the Region while hand washing facilities have been installed in 58 schools to promote Covid-19 protocols. Furthermore, the Regional Labour and Social Affairs Bureau, in coordination with the protection cluster, has been providing dignity kits to women and psycho-social support to women and children in IDP sites. Rehabilitation Regarding recovery and peace building interventions in the Tigray Region, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Peace are working closely with the EU, World Bank and UNDP to ‘build back better’ the economic and social infrastructure damaged and destroyed in the Region. A Ministerial Committee is overseeing all support and has developed a plan to assist regional bureaus on a regular basis through the assignment of experts. Currently, the Federal Government is working on mobilizing resources for recovery and rehabilitation, as well as humanitarian assistance. Refugees in the Region remain one of the Government’s key priorities. Accordingly, activities are underway to ensure the safety and security of refugees and the continuous supply of food and non-food items. In refugee camps where access and security are an issue, the Government has taken immediate action by relocating the refugees and providing basic humanitarian services. IDP information There are currently 11 IDP centres in the Region, hosting a total of 948,961 displaced peoples.

  • Shire and its environs: 467,000

  • Adwa: 102,000

  • Mekele: 92,000

  • Adigrat: 82,172

  • Abi Adi: 67,000

  • Axum: 60,617

  • Michew: 31,172

  • Yechila: 11,000

  • Enticho: 6,000

...Remaining Challenges

Access and security issues related to food distribution points in 6 woredas

Shortage of Emergency Shelter & Non-Food Items (ESNFI)

Challenges in coordinating humanitarian responses at the zonal and woreda levels

Challenges in fulfilling supplementary food demand

Substantial resource requirement to plan and undertake recovery and rehabilitation interventions in large parts of the region.

Administration and Security…

On Thursday 6 May, the Prime Minister announced two new appointments within the Government with H.E Dr Abraham Belay announced as new Chief Executive of the Tigray Provisional Administration and outgoing Chief Executive, H.E Dr Mulu Nega, appointed State Minister at the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

On the same day, the House of Peoples’ Representatives unanimously designated the Tigray Peoples Liberation Front and the Oromo Liberation Army (also known as Shene) as terrorist groups.

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