Thursday, 2 December 2021
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade
67. To ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on the decision by the Government of Ethiopia to restrict the size of the Irish Embassy in Addis Ababa; his response to the stated reasons by the Ethiopian government for taking this course of action; if Ireland will continue to allocate Irish Aid development and humanitarian supports to Ethiopia; his response to the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [59562/21]
I am deeply disappointed by the Government of Ethiopia’s decision to restrict the size of our Embassy in Addis Ababa, requiring the majority of our diplomatic staff to leave the country. Our Ambassador and one other diplomat have been permitted to stay. The Embassy remains open, with a particular emphasis on critical consular assistance to Irish citizens.
The Ethiopian authorities indicated that the decision to scale-down the size of our Embassy was due to the positions Ireland has articulated internationally, including at the UN Security Council, on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.
Ireland’s focus, together with our EU partners, has been on the humanitarian consequences of the war and the need to end the violence for the good of Ethiopia and the region. The most recent statement by the UN Security Council on Ethiopia, led by Ireland together with African members of the Council, was issued on 5 November. It echoed the calls of the United Nations Secretary General for full humanitarian access, a ceasefire, and political dialogue between parties.
Ireland fully supports the role of the African Union in seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, including through the work of its Special Envoy, former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo. We are committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.
Ireland's engagement internationally on Ethiopia, including at the Security Council, has been consistent with the positions and statements made by the European Union, including by the EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell.
Ireland has maintained a close partnership with Ethiopia since establishing our diplomatic presence there in 1994. Over €160 million in Irish Aid development and humanitarian support has been provided to Ethiopia in the past 5 years, with the Embassy team playing an important role in designing and overseeing critical programmes.
Ireland was the first country to commit funds to mitigate the humanitarian consequences of the current crisis in Tigray, with to date over €4.4 million in humanitarian aid disbursed to mitigate the circumstances which Ethiopians in Ethiopia and who have taken refuge in Sudan find themselves due to conflict. My Department will disburse a further €16 million in Irish Aid funding over the coming weeks to humanitarian partners operating in Ethiopia including UN OCHA, UNICEF, UNFPA and the International Rescue Committee. We will continue to prioritise humanitarian need while this crisis persists.
I hope the decision of the government of Ethiopia to restrict the size of the Embassy will be temporary, so that our staff can return to carrying out their important duties in the country as soon as possible.