News Analysis: Ethiopia affirms neutral stance on Russia- Ukraine war; says G4 nations promote regional integration

Ambassador Dina Mufti, Spokesperson of the MoFA

By Getahun Tsegaye @Getahuntsegay12

Addis Abeba- At today’s biweekly press briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), the spokesperson Ambassador Dina Mufti said Ethiopia is watching the dispute between Russia and Ukraine carefully.  He asserted that Ethiopia will remain neutral regarding the two countries’ internal affairs. He also commented on the recently formed Group of Four Nations (G4)  comprising  Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa aimed at dealing with various issues confronting Africa. “G4 is an interest-based relationship aimed at the development and it will not operate against Africa’s regional integration program,” the Ambassador said. 

The spokesperson explained that Ethiopian embassies based in England, Italy, and Germany were under efforts to evacuate Ethiopian citizens in Ukraine. He, however, said that he did not have the exact figure of Ethiopians that were residing in Ukraine where war is raging on.

Replying to Addis Standard question regarding the purpose of the formation of the Group of Four Nations (G4) and if it has any impact on Africa’s schemes of regional integration, the ambassador explained that the idea of G4 was not a new concept and it had been operating in many aspects with NEPAD previously. “G4 is an interest-based relationship aimed at the development and it will not operate against Africa’s regional integration program. While G4 is just on interest-based relationships, other Africa’s regional blocs, like IGAD, ECOWAS, and SADC are institutional,” the spokesperson said.

At the beginning of February, it was reported that the leaders of the four countries, Algeria, Ethiopia, Nigeria, and South Africa announced the formation of the Group of Four Nations (G4) on the sidelines of the 6th EU-AU Summit at Brussels. Despite the lack of details, the report indicated that the purpose of forming this group was aimed at addressing crisis areas in the continent.

On the other hand, Ambassador Dina discussed the decision of the appointment of three members of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts by the  UN Human Rights Council on Ethiopia to conduct an impartial investigation into allegations of violations and abuses of human rights concerning the ongoing conflict in the northern part of Ethiopia. At the presser, he was asked if the Ethiopian government had any stance on this decision. He said, “The Ethiopian government has not taken any stance on it yet.”

It is to be recalled that earlier in March the President of the Human Rights Council, Ambassador Federico Villegas (Argentina),  announced the appointment of Fatou Bensouda of the Gambia, Kaari Betty Murungi of Kenya, and Steven Ratner of the U.S. to serve as the three members of the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia. Ms. Bensouda will serve as Chair of the three-person Commission.

Furthermore, Ambassador Dina talked about the relationship between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Explaining to a question from the media if the relationship between the two countries was based on principle and at an institutional level, he stated that the two countries had been in conflict for years and it has almost been three years since they reconciled and regained their peace. “Despite the ongoing conflict impacting the newly emerged relationship of the two countries, the biggest success of Ethiopia and Eritrea is their achievement of maintaining regional peace, “ he said.

Before winding up the briefing, the spokesperson talked about the current relationship between Ethiopia and the U.S. saying, “Both countries want to strengthen their bilateral relationship.” AS

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