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Amid diplomatic tensions, US Ambassador describes Ethiopia-US relations as ‘strong’

U.S. Ambassador Ervin J. Massinga (Photo: US Embassy in Ethiopia)

Addis Abeba – In the wake of a recent policy address delivered by U.S. Ambassador Ervin J. Massinga, which the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs characterized as “ill-advised” and containing “uninformed assertions,” Ambassador Massinga sought to assure continued positive relations.

During a recent media roundtable, Ambassador Massinga affirmed that the relationship between the U.S. and Ethiopia remains “strong.”

During the event on May 22, 2024, Ambassador Massinga addressed questions about the current U.S. focus on the Amhara region, stating that the attention is consistent with the approach taken during the Tigray War.

He emphasized that the U.S. government is equally concerned about all Ethiopians and that the Tigray war highlighted the need for humanitarian assistance across all affected regions.

The Ambassador also discussed Ethiopia’s efforts to secure access to a sea port, stressing the importance of a reliable port for the country’s growing economy and trade.

He pledged U.S. support for strengthening Ethiopia’s relationships with neighboring countries such as Djibouti and Kenya and underscored the need for an official platform to facilitate ongoing discussions on this issue.

In a recent policy speech delivered at the “American Gibbi” Yemeni Community School in Addis Abeba on May 15, Ambassador Massinga addressed Ethiopia’s current security situation, national dialogue, and transitional justice initiatives.

He urged the Ethiopian government to adopt a more peaceful approach to resolve complex political issues and release key political figures to facilitate much-needed political dialogue. Massinga also called for an end to the detention and harassment of government critics.

Furthermore, the Ambassador addressed various armed groups engaged in conflict with the government, including the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) and the Fano militia in Amhara. He called for a “nationwide temporary ceasefire” to facilitate humanitarian access.

However, the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs criticized Ambassador Massinga’s speech, deeming it “ill-advised” and containing “uninformed assertions” about the government’s handling of the country’s affairs.

In a press release issued on May 16, 2024, the Ministry stated that the ambassador’s statement contained “allegations against and unsolicited advice to the government of Ethiopia on how best to run the affairs of the country.”

Subsequently, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that the recent policy speech of the United States Ambassador to Ethiopia and the government’s response should not be interpreted as a sign that “the relationship between the two countries is problematic and not strong.”

The ministry emphasized that the ambassador’s statement contradicted the historical and friendly ties between Ethiopia and the United States. “If there are issues that need to be addressed, we may be able to consult and work together,” Ambassador Nabiyu Tedla, the ministry’s spokesperson, stated.

Ambassador Nebiyu further criticized the speech for not adhering to the norms of diplomacy and failing to reflect the equitable and proper relationship between nations.

He asserted, “Our country doesn’t want to base relationships on temporary or immediate problems, but we desire a foundational and lasting relationship based on our capacity and historical ties.” AS

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