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Premier reiterates Ethiopia’s stance on rules based access to the Red Sea

Addis Ababa, November 14, 2023 (FBC) – Ethiopia’s accession to BRICS should not be mistaken for a decision to sideline the countries which are not part of the economic bloc, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in his remarks at the Parliament on Tuesday.

The Prime Minister noted that Ethiopia’s presence in the BRICS would help the nation actively participate in the South-South Cooperation and gain economic benefit from this framework in many several ways.

Ethiopia is a major player in the South-South Cooperation framework and our accession to the bloc is beneficial for both the BRICS and the country.

Ethiopia is committed to work in cooperation with every country in all corners of the world based on its foreign policy, he added.

Concerning diplomatic issues, the Prime Minister explained that Ethiopia’s foreign policy takes into consideration the national interest and sovereignty of the nation and geopolitical historical and economic situation. The foreign policy prioritizes neighboring countries and considers future cooperation with regional countries, he said.

Regarding access to the Red Sea, the Prime Minister noted that many conspiracy theories and analyses have emerged following Ethiopia’s announcement to the quest for access to the sea outlet.

“But, this is not the right way to solve the issue, he said. Ethiopia wants to ensure its access to the sea only with discussions based of business rules not by aggressive ways,” the Premier noted.

Ethiopia had a population of around 47 million while it owned two sea ports thirty years ago. After thirty years, Ethiopia came to a position to use two ports based on a trade deal. But, the conflict between Eritrea and Ethiopia forced the nation to stick to only the Djibouti port based on a trade deal.

“If Ethiopia’s access to the Djibouti port is forced to be obstructed, import of fuel, fertilizers and other essential goods via the port will be disrupted and this in turn will affect the overall economic activities in the country.  That is why Ethiopia is seeking other alternatives to have access to the Red Sea,”

Ethiopia’s lack of direct access to the sea has contributed the increase of undocumented Ethiopian migrants to various Middle East and African countries constrained nation’s ability to cater for its large population and hindered its economic growth and development, the Prime Minister said, calling countries to understand quest to the sea access with a good intention.

The Premier called on countries of the Horn and African at large and countries of the eastern and western parts of the world to consider the true nature of the interest and the problems Ethiopia is facing currently.

“Ethiopia has the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) and the largest Airlines in Africa. So we can share these great national treasures with countries willing to share their ports with us,” the Premier said.

“We have no intention of threatening the sovereignty of any nation but we would like a rules based access to the Red Sea. Our request is to initiate discussions towards sustainable solutions.” The Prime Minister added.

Finally, the house has passed a motion supporting President’s speech on the work plan of the 2023/2024 budget year.



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