Ethiopia to Close Embassies in Egypt, Ireland Over Financial Strain

27 September 2021

Ethiopia has decided to close its embassies in Egypt and Ireland due to financial constraints, which have been worsened by a long conflict in the Tigray region.

Ethiopian Ambassador to Egypt, Markos Tekle, announced that the embassy in Cairo will be closed temporarily as of October.

"The embassy will be closed for the next three to six months to reduce costs," he said.

The ambassador noted said that the decision has nothing to do with the longstanding Nile dispute Ethiopia has had with Egypt and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).

Last July, Ethiopia filled the controversial dam for the second time despite Egyptian and Sudan's warnings against this before the three countries reached a final deal.

More on this: Ethiopia shuts down embassy in Algeria

The horn of Africa nation is closing its embassy in Dublin, Ireland's capital, for similar reasons, with its responsibilities transferring to the country's mission in London.

Relations between Ethiopia and Ireland have not been very friendly in recent months.

The Irish government has been at the forefront in pushing the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Ethiopia with regard to the Tigray conflict.

Following that, Prime minister Abiy Ahmed's government has been criticising what it has called international "interference" in its internal affairs.

"The government regrets the decision of the Ethiopian authorities to close their embassy in Ireland," Ireland's Department of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

"The ongoing conflict in Tigray is of significant concern, and Ireland has been at the fore in raising the crisis at the UN Security Council, within the European Union, and with other partners."

The department added: "We have also conveyed our concerns directly to the Ethiopian authorities. In all cases, we have stressed the need for unimpeded humanitarian access, a ceasefire and dialogue leading to a political resolution of the conflict."

Since the Tigray conflict broke out in November last year almost 2 million people have been displaced while more than five million need emergency food aid as the famine begins to take hold.

The conflict in Tigray has spread to the neighbouring Amhara and Afar regions, raising fears that Ethiopia, Africa's second most populous nation with about 120 million people, might eventually fall apart.

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