H.E. Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia welcomed UN senior officials to his office today (December 15) for a briefing on the latest developments in the #Tigray region.
Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Her.E. Dr. Vera Songwe, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Her. E. Dr. Catherine Sozi, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the AU, Her.E. Ms. Hanna Tetteh, and Special Envoy of the UN Secretary-General for the Horn of Africa Mr. Parfait Onanga have attended the meeting.
On the occasion, Mr. Demeke thanked the UN senior officials for joining the meeting on short notice and told them Ethiopia’s appreciation to Secretary-General António Guterres for taking a principled stand on the situation in the Tigray region.
He informed them that the Interim administration in Tigray has started discharging its responsibilities in reestablishing the bureaucratic structure, conversing with the community, and facilitating the restoration of basic services to the people in the region.
The recent visit of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to the region and his discussion with the interim administration is an indication that life in the region is slowly turning into normalcy, he added.
He said a major part of the law enforcement operation is now over and what remains is the police work of apprehending the fugitives.
The main focus of the government now is in rehabilitation and reconstruction of damaged infrastructure, he added.
In this regard, he said, the government has restored telephone and electricity lines in some areas and finalized preparation to rehabilitate damaged highways and airports.
Regarding the humanitarian issues in the region, Mr. Demeke underscored Ethiopia’s firm commitment to address concerns about internally displaced people, Ethiopian refugees in Sudan, and Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia.
He expressed hope that the humanitarian situation will significantly improve soon with the stabilization of the peace and security of the region coupled with the ongoing restoration and rehabilitation works.
He also assured them that the government is closely studying the concerns raised about Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia in order to provide appropriate response.
The UN officials said the Secretary-General believes that Ethiopia is an anchor of peace in the region and stability in Ethiopia means stability for the Horn of Africa.
The meeting ended with the UN officials thanking Mr. Demeke for facilitating the discussion and addressing the UN concerns over the issue.