Ethiopia Warns Ireland Over ‘Hostile’ Stance

Politics News

Ethiopia has issued an ultimatum to Ireland over its hostile stance on the nation’s conflict with a separatist rebel group, the Tigray People Liberation Front (TPLF)

Ethiopia Threatens to Cut Diplomatic Ties with Ireland Over 'Hostile Stance'BY AFP

Ethiopia has threatened to review diplomatic ties with Ireland, accusing the EU member state of attacking its “sovereignty and territorial integrity” over the two-year conflict in the north of the country.

The warning comes as the international community intensifies efforts to bring the government and Tigrayan rebels to the negotiating table to end a brutal war that has killed unknown numbers of civilians and unleashed a deep humanitarian crisis.

Ireland, which has had a diplomatic presence in Ethiopia since 1994, currently holds a seat on the 15-member UN Security Council.

“Ireland has been barbing and undermining Ethiopia incessantly in its real earnest for the last 2yrs,” Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s national security adviser Redwan Hussein said on Twitter late Thursday.

“(The government’s) plea made for the umpteenth time has been rebuffed & unheeded. Hence obliged to send an official ultimatum this week for Irish government,” he added late Thursday, without giving further details.

Redwan described the relationship between the two countries as “at its nadir”.

It was not immediately clear what sparked the anger against Ireland. The Irish embassy did not respond immediately to AFP’s request for comment.

In November last year, Ethiopia ordered the expulsion of four of Ireland’s six diplomats in Addis Ababa.

The Irish foreign ministry said at the time the Ethiopian authorities had indicated the decision “was due to the positions Ireland has articulated internationally… on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia”.

The expulsion occurred three weeks after Ireland joined a UN Security Council call for a ceasefire in the war in Africa’s second most populous country and for dialogue between the warring sides.

In a statement carried by Fana Broadcasting Corporate, the Ethiopian foreign ministry urged Dublin “to refrain from further hostility” towards the country, accusing it of “attacking Ethiopia using its membership in the UN Security Council, the European Union, and elsewhere”.

It said Ireland “appears to be intent on emboldening the TPLF and calling for coercive actions against Ethiopia using its membership in the UNSC,” also charging that Dublin was standing in the way of Addis Ababa’s efforts to normalize ties with the EU.

“Ethiopia’s plea to Ireland to reduce hostility and attacks against its sovereignty and territorial integrity has not been heeded,” it said.

“As a measure of last resort, we can find an opportunity to deliberate whether there is a mutual will to pursue our diplomatic ties.”

The diplomatic storm erupted just as US special envoy Mike Hammer was in Addis Ababa as part of a regional tour to promote peace efforts after fighting resumed in northern Ethiopia in late August, rupturing a five-month truce.

Both Abiy’s government and the Tigrayan authorities have accepted an African Union invitation to sit down at the negotiating table.

But talks scheduled to start last weekend in South Africa failed to take place, with diplomats suggesting logistical issues were partly to blame.

Western powers including the US had on Wednesday urged the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan regional authorities to lay down their arms and start AU-led talks, and called on neighboring Eritrea to withdraw its troops from the battlefield. […]