Ethiopia: When the Country's Most. . .

editorial

Ethiopia's dealings with other countries and powers needs to rediscover its age old mantra in non-alliance, and accords entered should have a degree of transparency, says gossip. It is a call made in check with the idea of "pragmatism" the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has been promoting in foreign affairs.

When the country's most senior diplomats and envoys return back to their posts after two-week debriefings, they leave behind a point or two by way of emphasis, claims gossip. Ethiopia's dealings with other countries and powers needs to rediscover its age old mantra in non-alliance, and accords entered should have a degree of transparency, says gossip. It is a call made in check with the idea of "pragmatism" the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) has been promoting in foreign affairs.

Camped at the Kuriftu Resort, no less than 60 ambassadors had gathered from across the world, hoping to get clarity on matters vexing Ethiopia's foreign affairs. They were briefed by a horde of senior officials on current domestic issues, with Fitsum Assefa (PhD), minister of the Plan & Development Commission, and her deputy, Nemera Gebeyehu (PhD), outshining others in the eyes of the diplomats.

Nonetheless, economic affairs have taken little of the attention of these diplomats, especially during the closing address by the Prime Minister, gossip disclosed. Most were focused on the evolving relationship with neighboring countries, particularly of Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea. Prime Minister Abiy characterised his relationship with Eritrea's strongman, Issayas Afeworqi, as exceptionally remarkable; but some of his envoys were vocal calling for the institutionalisation of this relationship, shrouded with secrecy, and deals that have been made remain unknown even to those who claim insider positions, claims gossip.

The debate on GERD was animated, bar the congratulations and patting the administration's back for "starting to fill the Dam" with water. However, the administration was questioned on its wisdom in accepting the United State's and World Bank's role to "observe" the tripartite talks in Washington, DC, an issue that appears to have infuriated the Prime Minister, gossip disclosed. The senior diplomats were unhappy about this "strategic blunder" which they saw as a disadvantage, if not denying the country greater leverage, claims gossip. The Prime Minister was irritated over this partly due to many of the diplomats being judgmental on the issue without first having been adequately informed, in his opinion. But he was open about the "debt" he feels he owed strongman Issayas, while praising the support he received from Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa's President currently observing the tripartite talk, albeit virtually, as chairman of the African Union (AU), claims gossip.

Ethiopia's envoys were also troubled by the unrelenting violence occurring in the country. They were open about the issue, claiming that the recurrence of violence put them in a bad light when briefing officials in the countries where they are posted. They wondered - aloud - when there will be a stop to it and what road map the administration has developed worthy of their attention, says gossip.

But there appears to be few issues that have gotten under the Prime Minister's skin as the plea for clarity on the foundational ideology of the administration. Abiy told the diplomats - rather condescendingly - that his administration's philosophy lies in the Me'demer - translated as positive-sum - for them to read. He, however, sees some of them as stuck and unable to outgrow their mindset indoctrination from revolutionary democracy, gossip disclosed. While wondering aloud if many of them had read the book to begin with, he sees them unappreciative of his effort as they would have been had the book been authored by foreign writers, says gossip.

The Prime Minister was candid in his address to the senior diplomats, with little mincing of his words. Albeit momentarily, the sicknesses subsequently reported of two dozen diplomats were attributed to stress and frustrations they might have felt from the brutally frank talk they had received from him that some thought went overboard. Little was known at the time that one-third of the ambassadors had contracted the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). Almost all of them returned home only after checking their status in their respective countries and found to be negative, claims gossip.

Many of them will go back to their respective posts beginning this week, except those under quarantine. This may include those reshuffled such as Taye Astqesellasie, ambassador to the UN in New York. Muktar Kedir, former president of Oromia Regional State, has been assigned as an ambassador to Australia, and Teferi Melese to the United Kingdom. There will also be a change of guard in Ethiopia's diplomatic posts in Ghana, Turkey and Italy, gossip revealed.

More From: Addis Fortune

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