Fana: At a Speed of Life!

Circumstances in 2021 helped Ethiopia to distinguish trusted allies from fair weather friends: MFA State Minister

Addis Ababa, December 31, 2021 ( FBC) – State Minister of Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Redwan Hussein, in an exclusive interview with Horn Review, said that 2021 has been a tumultuous year for Ethiopia with a number of twists and turns, shenanigans, and political maneuverings; this has helped Ethiopia clearly distinguish its trusted allies from its fair weather friends. 

This past year has also revealed the interests and motivations of our regional and global partners. We have indisputably witnessed various pressure campaigns in an attempt to bend the will of the Federal Government, the elected representative of the Ethiopian people, to fit western agenda, Ambassador Redwan stated. 

Similar to these very nations, Ethiopia has its own foreign policy priorities and should not be expected to be at the beck and call of external powers. We are grappling not only with the challenges and aftermath of the conflict in the North, and all the while asserting our sovereignty and autonomy in the Horn and beyond.

The upcoming all-inclusive dialogue will help in sorting out our issues and better equip Ethiopians to chart a path of their own choosing. 

Ethiopia remains a significant actor in the Horn, and in Africa. As such, it is our prerogative to establish a clear message that coercive diplomacy is an unfruitful approach. 

Though we are poor, we still have our dignity and pride. And for the Ethiopian people, hunger is a preferable alternative to subservience to terms and conditions of outside entities. Though we are constantly reminded of the quintals of grain we are receiving, our inherent value is not determined by the foreign assistance.

Additionally, we will need to galvanize our existing partnerships with friends and partners in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean to uplift our global standing. 

Our Ministry is doing its best to reach out to countries and other entities with a genuine interest in understanding our position. We are hopeful that these partners will contribute positively to rectifying the highly partisan narrative that has been purposefully imposed on the nation and its people.

First, there needs to be clarity in our understanding of the term “national dialogue”. The tentative national dialogue is meant to establish a shared goal amongst the people, and the political elite, it does not mean bargaining with designated terrorist elements. 

This endeavor could take months, or perhaps years depending on the process. Considering the current reality, Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) will not participate in the dialogue precisely because their terms are self-defeating. No legitimate government can be made to accept preconditions from terrorist elements and Ethiopia certainly will not. It is the Ethiopian government’s responsibility to set clear conditions and standards so as to move forward with normalization and rehabilitation efforts.

“The Ministry of Foreign  Affairs is intent on widening its reach not only through traditional diplomacy but also by utilizing tools of this digital age. Though there might be initial shocks to the system, I believe the long term benefits of this reform will be many fold.”

“The to One is to assert our relevance by handling our domestic issues, and also portraying a positive image. Secondly, the ministry plans to strengthen its partnership with Ethiopians in the diaspora as well as friends of Ethiopia, to facilitate paths for investment and tourism.” he added. 

“Lastly, we are only beginning to venture deeper into our homegrown economic reform agenda to enhance our economic development. Though our aim is to gradually become self reliant, we still solicit partnerships and projects both in terms of investment and aid.”

“We are expanding our public diplomacy and public relations departments as well as staffing them with highly trained young professionals in digital communications. In addition to the local languages, we are expanding our linguistic base to French, Arabic, Spanish, and English, to integrate the diaspora. Furthermore, we aim to increase our collaboration and ventures with Ethiopian Ministries, as well as diaspora agencies and organizations.”

It is apparent that the level of cohesion observed in the diaspora is a reflection of our unity at home; it is my hope that the upcoming national dialogue will forge greater ties within the diaspora as well. 

“The year 2022 will bring an increased involvement of the diaspora. We hope that the great homecoming that is taking place provides ample opportunity for the diaspora to assess the reality on the ground for themselves.”

As direct stakeholders, the diaspora can play a crucial role in disseminating accurate information, he said.

In parallel, there are commendable efforts from the diaspora to help in the daunting task of reconstruction from damages to hospitals, schools, and other public facilities as a result of the war.

Our major task in the coming year is bolstering our domestic reform efforts. We expect this to have a cascading effect in encouraging our partners and friends for increased collaboration, both in the diplomatic and development spheres.

Additionally, though we may be through with the conflict, we will need to begin reconstruction and rebuilding infrastructure. The next year will be the year of mending, reconstruction, and rehabilitation.

In the coming year, we are tentatively planning to host a number of workshops, panel discussions, and trainings in and around university campuses on core international Affairs issues relevant to our continent, our region, and the world. 

He added that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs plans to maintain the current wave of citizen diplomacy in our university campuses.

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