The Department of Foreign Affairs has advised Irish citizens in Ethiopia to leave the country immediately.
International concern has escalated due to the escalation of the war in Ethiopia as Tigrayan rebels are approaching closer to the capital Addis Ababa.
Foreign Minister Simon Coveney has said about 80 Irish nationals in Ethiopia have been advised that it would be prudent to leave the country due to an escalating political situation in the country affected by the conflict.
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian government has notified the Irish embassy in Addis Ababa that four of the six Irish diplomats serving at the embassy should leave the country within a week.
The Irish ambassador and another diplomat were allowed to stay.
The Ethiopian authorities indicated that the decision to reduce the size of the Irish embassy in Addis Ababa is due to the positions that Ireland has articulated internationally, including the United Nations Security Council, on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.
Responding to the news, Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he felt deep regret for the Ethiopian government’s decision and the Ethiopian government was targeting Ireland over its comment.
“Ireland has had a diplomatic presence in Ethiopia since 1994, working in partnership with the government and people of Ethiopia to support the development of their country.
“That Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Irish Aid in the last five years is a demonstration of Ireland’s deep commitment to the country.
“Our international commitment to Ethiopia, including the Security Council, has been in line with the positions and statements made by the European Union, including High Representative / Vice-President of the EU Josep Borrell,” said Minister Coveney.
He confirmed that the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa remains open, “with the team continuing to carry out their responsibilities, including in relation to the international organizations to which we are accredited, including the African Union and IGAD (Intergovernmental Authority for Development).
He said Ireland fully supports the role of the African Union in seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, including the work of its special envoy, former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.
“We are committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia,” he said.
Minister Coveney warned that although the embassy will continue to provide consular services, reducing the number of staff there will have an impact.
“In the context of the deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia, the Embassy’s focus will be on providing consular services, although reducing our diplomatic staff by two-thirds will inevitably affect our ability to provide full-fledged services. such ”, he said. .
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Minister Coveney also advised not to travel to Ethiopia and he urged Irish citizens to leave the country immediately.
“We recommend against any travel to Ethiopia and Irish citizens in Ethiopia should leave the country immediately by commercial means.”
The Minister added that he hopes that the decision of the Ethiopian government will be temporary, so that the Embassy staff can return to performing their duties in the country as soon as possible.
“We will maintain our solidarity with the people of Ethiopia as the humanitarian crisis worsens.
In the coming weeks, Irish Aid will distribute € 16 million to humanitarian partners operating in Ethiopia, including the UN OCHA (United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs), UNICEF, UNFPA (United Nations Population Fund). ) and the International Rescue Committee. ” he added.
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