The Ethiopian government through its spokesperson has questioned the motive of some of its partners particularly given the public statements and pronouncements, they made recently.

In recent days, the Ethiopian government has come under what it describes as concerted campaign to exert undue pressure. Statements and pronouncements as well as the fake news and speculations propagated through the media speak volumes in this regard.

Since the terrorist attacks by the TPLF which resulted in a humanitarian crisis, the Ethiopian government has engaged relentless efforts to positively and constructively tackle concerns raised by partners. Unfortunately, the efforts have been given cold shoulders by some partners who seem to be short of showing a genuine desire to understand and help Ethiopia overcome its current challenges, rather, their actions have been counterproductive and exacerbating the situation.

The Ethiopian government unequivocally made its position clear on some salient issues through its spokesperson.

1/ Humanitarian response in the Tigray region

Contrary to false reports that Ethiopian and Eritrean troops are blocking food aid, the Ethiopian government has demonstrated its willingness and commitment to work with the international community to respond to the humanitarian crisis in Tigray. It has also provided full and unhindered access for humanitarian actors to operate in all parts of the region. It acknowledged that due to security issues, accessing some pocket areas were difficult but have now been addressed. The spokesperson said.

The challenge at hand is quite to the contrary and it is related to issues of capacity and resource. This is well known by humanitarian actors operating in the region

2. On allegations of human rights abuses

The Ethiopian government has been clear on several occasions how it takes any allegations of human rights abuses and crimes extremely seriously. This is why the necessary investigations have been made recently to verify allegations and bring perpetrators to justice.

According to the spokesperson, a team composed of representatives from the Federal Attorney General and the Federal Police Commission had been deployed in the Tigray Region to carry out this investigative work whose report was submitted last week.

The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission has been investigating and reporting on human rights issues, including the Mai Kadra massacre, civilian casualties, sexual violence, and allegations of discriminatory treatment. The doors were equally opened for African Commission on Human and People’s Rights to undertake its own investigative work.

The office of the spokesperson notes further that the outcome of these investigations will enable the government to bring the perpetrators to justice and comprehensively address alleged human rights violations and crimes that have occurred in the Tigray region.

Continuously lamenting about human rights abuses, while the Ethiopian government has shown its unreserved commitment to get to the bottom of the issue and apply the full force of the law in ensuring accountability and justice serves no other purpose than unnecessarily politicizing the issue and exert undue pressure.

3. On calls for Ceasefire and national dialogue

The Ethiopian government has been consciously working to promote national dialogue and build the necessary national consensus in the country to chart a better way forward. In this regards, there have been series of discussions to engage with wider sections of the Ethiopian society, including opposition political parties, the academic community, Civil Society Organizations, and various representatives of the society, including women and the youth with a view to promoting a culture of peace and reconciliation, and build civic political culture. The significance of these discussions can be visible as the country gears up to hold national elections. Says the spokesperson.

The push by partners to involve the TPLF in this national dialogue process is unacceptable. TPLF is an outlawed group that endangered the country’s sovereignty and its constitutional order

The Ethiopian government has also shown its readiness to engage with legal opposition parties, members of the civil society, the private sector, elders, scholars, prominent personalities, and others in the Tigray region to promote dialogue. However, the Ethiopian Parliament recently passed a decision labelling the TPLF as a Terrorist Organization, which is the reason why the Ethiopian government utterly rejects the repeated call by partners to cease hostilities and negotiate with the TPLF.

4. On allegations of a clampdown on dissent

The unwarranted and unsubstantiated allegations on the stifling of dissent and a crackdown on journalists that some media outlets propagate these days, while the country gears up to hold national elections have no other purpose than to tarnish the government’s image and undermine the electoral process.

The Ethiopian government has rescued the country from the abyss and opened up the political space to safeguard greater peace, freedom, and democracy. Its reform credentials have also been well recognized not only domestically but also internationally. According to the spokesperson, Ethiopia is determined to redouble these efforts with all the necessary vigor. That is why it is doing everything possible to make sure that the upcoming elections are conducted in a peaceful, transparent, and credible manner.

The expectation is that this will usher in a new era of democratic dispensation to meet the hopes and aspirations of the Ethiopian people for lasting peace, freedom, and democracy.

Building and nurturing a fully-fledged democracy and political culture is essentially a homegrown process, and it cannot be achieved through external pressure.

The Ethiopian government says it has no desire to clamp down on dissent otherwise; it would not have invited most of the opposition groups and politicians as well as journalists, activists and others who were in exile to return to their country and operate freely. It has rather called foreign journalists to strictly abide by the law of the land in carrying out their journalistic work. Those who do so have been operating without any difficulty. He equally emphasized that the government is duty-bound to take the necessary legal action on those who are not willing and ready to comply with the law.

5. On attempts to meddle in Ethiopia’s Internal affairs

Ethiopia is a sovereign nation, and it cannot accept any dictates from outside on how to manage its own internal affairs.

There have been repeated attempts to make unwarranted statements on Ethiopia’s internal affairs, particularly in relation to the Amhara regional forces.

The Ethiopian government makes it clear that deploying the necessary security structures and means available in ensuring the rule of law within all corners of its borders is within its sole responsibility, noting that it is in this context that the Federal government has been undertaking the rule of law operations in Tigray.

It is indeed unfortunate that some partners chose to dwell on internal matters of Ethiopia

The spokesperson concludes that while it is the desire of the Ethiopian government to remain always ready and open to engaging with partners on issues of mutual interest and concern, it will be forced to reassess its relations if these attempts to interfere in its internal affairs continue unabated. The Ethiopian government, therefore, rejects those statements, which are not only inappropriate but also completely unacceptable.

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