Following the massacre which claimed the lives of more than 600 Ethiopians when annual religious and cultural event – Ireecha – in Debre Zeit (Bishoftu) was marred by a stampede instigated by security forces, the regime in Addis Ababa accused Egypt of meddling with internal affairs of Ethiopia by way of supporting radical ethno-nationalist forces whose political creed was ,in fact,shaped very much by ethnic politics of the very same regime -as a tool to maintain power – which is now accusing them of “terrorist activity”.
At the height of the popular movement, regime in Ethiopia appeared as if it was coming to an end so much so that it had to declare state of emergency in an apparent move to buy time before it mounts deadly crackdown to save itself. Why on earth would Egypt meddle in the politics of Ethiopia? Presumption is that alleged Egyptian support during the movement was related to hydro-politics. Egypt opposes construction of dam over the Nile river and is still battling to avert construction of the dam.
During the country wide popular movement in Ethiopia, Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia was called to the foreign Affairs Ministry of Ethiopia in Addis Ababa to answer questions by the regime. Soon after, Egyptian government had to respond asserting that Egyptian government does not interfere in the internal affairs of other countries. it was not clear whether the Ethiopian government was satisfied with Egypt’s response.
Then the allegation was re-framed on the part of the government in Ethiopia in a way to place the blame on some institutions in Egypt rather than the government of Egypt.
It seem to be the case that the regime in Ethiopia still anticipates response from the government of Egypt. Daily News Egypt cited Foreign Affairs Minister Workneh Gebeyehu as saying “The Ethiopian government is awaiting a response from Egypt to a request that Egyptian authorities take action against alleged Egyptian institutions supporting and funding Ethiopian opposition groups…” during an interview with Asharg Al-Answar, pan-Arab daily newspaper.
Daily News Egypt claims that it contacted Ahmed Abou Zaid, the spokesperson of Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, seeking clarification about the issue and is told that the ministry will soon release formal response to Ethiopia’s claim about alleged support groups in Egypt.
From the report, no detailed information is given by the government in Ethiopia regarding the identity of institutions that are allegedly supporting what the regime says are “terrorists.” Further more, Daily News Egypt inclines to think that statements by Foreign Affairs Ministry of Ethiopia, Worqneh Gebeyehu, and Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegne is contradictory.
Daily News Egypt report is available here