Addis Abeba — The office of the Spokesperson at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has denied reports that are widely circulating saying that Egypt's Foreign Ministry has summoned Ethiopia's envoy in Cairo over comments on Egypt by Ambassador Dina Mufti, the Spokesperson of the Ministry.
On December 30, Egypt's leading newspaper Ahram Online reported that Egypt's foreign ministry summoned Ethiopia's chargé d'affaires on comments made by Ambassador Dina during his biweekly press briefing. The news was also reported by Reuters.
"Egypt's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement that it summoned the Ethiopian chargé d'affaires to Cairo, on Wednesday, to provide clarifications about statements quoted by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry's spokesperson in which he touched upon Egypt's internal affairs," Ahram Online said.
However, the Spokesperson's office of Ethiopia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs told Addis Standard over the phone this morning that "There were no official reports of the summoning until now; the ministry will notify the public if there is one through an official medium."
Ambassador Dina Mufti's last press briefing was held on Tuesday December 29. According to the official dispatch from the Ministry, the Ambassador did not mention Egypt in his briefing. However, Ahram's news claimed that the Ambassador has "criticized on Tuesday the role of Egypt in the issue of the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam (GERD), which Ethiopia has started building on the Blue Nile since 2011."
Accusations on Egypt
Although the government has not officially accused Egypt of playing a role in destabilizing Ethiopia, there are increasing reports by several media outlets, including by those affiliated or closely associated with the government, accusing Egypt of stepping up efforts to support the Sudanese government in the ongoing border conflict with Ethiopia.
The Spokesperson's office told Addis Standard that Ethiopia was yet to take a stance on the matter as things stand because the nature of the said support is "unclear." "Egypt has the right to stand by Sudan but it is not made clear as to whether it is backing Sudan by means of military support or other ways," the office said, adding the Ethiopian government will take a stance if or after Egypt's support is translated into actions or after it clarified the nature of the said support.
On Tuesday December 22, ESATtv, a TV network known for broadcasting classified information from government sources, reported that Egypt was trying to pressure Ethiopia through its neighboring countries. Citing credible sources within the government the network said Egypt was deliberately misrepresenting the federal government's military operation in Tigray and pressuring donor countries to cut the aid provided to Ethiopia. It also said the embassy of Egypt in Addis Abeba was engaged in misinforming EU diplomats stationed in the city to have suspicious perceptions of the operation in Tigray, contributing to EU's decision to withhold aid to Ethiopia.
Egypt is also using its media to propagate false information regarding the operation in Tigray by painting it as a civil war and accusing the government of UAE of involvement in the war. Attributing its sources to credible government report, the network further said that Egypt was also interfering in Ethiopia's internal affairs by backing armed rebels in Benishangul Gumuz regional state and by striving to prevent the liquidation of TPLF. Leaders of the rebel group in Benishangul Gumuz have traveled all the way to Egypt to receive support, and that the Ethiopian government has taken note of it, the network said.
Regarding Egypt's attempt to maneuver countries in the Horn of Africa to pressure Ethiopia, the network said that Egypt was contacting neighboring countries in an effort to convince them to cut their ties with Ethiopia. By building a strong economic and military relations with Sudan, Egypt is also trying to separate Sudan from Ethiopia. ESATtv cited a classified report as saying that using a joint military operation with Sudan as a pretext, Egypt has stationed 16 military aircraft in an airbase called Dindar.
Furthermore, the report said that Egypt was trying to extend its influence in Somalia by offering military aid for peacekeeping and assisting Somalia's military. Egypt is attempting to establish a military base in Somalia. Similarly, the report said following the recent visit by Egypt's President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to Juba, the capital of South Sudan, Egypt has supplied South Sudan with radio jamming equipment and air defense system. The two countries have also agreed to bring 300 Egyptian soldiers to South Sudan under the guise of military advisory positions, the network cited the document in its possession, adding that Ethiopian government sources also said Egypt was already using South Sudan's air space for military training.