Abiy Ahmed made his fourth trip abroad since taking the office of the prime minister, and this time to the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. It is not clear at this point in time if his bilateral agreements represent a success but he is exploiting his trips to achieve humanitarian objectives involving Ethiopians living abroad.
Last week prime minister Abiy Ahmed captured the attention of Ethiopians, including some of his critics, when he phoned Yisma’ake Worku who is the author of 13 acclaimed Ethiopian novels, now critically sick. Ethiopians were able to see the compassionate side of him.
Today, Ethiopians once again witnessed, despite all the skepticism about making much needed change in Ethiopian politics due to what many tend to see as inevitable usurping of power by TPLF, the emotions of the prime minister on matters related to humanity and Ethiopian patriotism.
Abiy took his entourage to a hospital in Saudi Arabia, where he traveled to yesterday as a response to King Salman bin Abdulaziz invitation for an official visit, to visit an Ethiopian boy who happened to be victim of medical error and who has been in a comma for more than twelve years. Mohammed, the boy, was taken to Dr.Sulaman Fakih hospital, in Jeddah, for what was believed to be a minor surgery to remove skin tag on the nose. His mother, Halima, suffered all these years without any support. She won the legal battle in court while caring for her son but no restitution was made years after court ruling. As per the court ruling, the hospital that made the medical error to the boy was to pay SR 2.4 million in restitution.
Nebiyu Sirak, an activist and a champion of Ethiopians who live in Saudi Arabia, among other things, has been relentlessly mobilizing. Struggling tears, he explained to Abiy as to what happened and about the struggle made to get justice for Mohammed, he calls him “Blatena”
State media in Ethiopia reported that prime minister Abiy Ahmed discussed the situation of the boy and his mother when he met with the Saudi prince and he has his word that the woman will soon get justice.
Apart from that, Abiy raised the issue of Ethiopians who are thrown to Saudi jail and reportedly secured the word of the prince who ordered the release of 1000 Ethiopians of which 100 are women.
Ethiopian government communications Affair minister, Ahmed Shede, is cited by government affiliated media as saying that the Saudi government will release the one thousand Ethiopians starting tomorrow. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians are believed to live in Saudi Arabia as immigrants and it is also believed that many more Ethiopians are in prison.
In terms of bilateral relations between Ethiopia and Saudi Arabia, agreement has been reached in trade. The Saudi government is reportedly to invest in sectors like Agriculture and tourism, among others.
Upon concluding the visit to Saudi Arabia, which is Abiy’s first trip as prime minister outside of Africa, he traveled to Abu Dabi, capital of United Arab Emirates, where he was received by high ranking UAE officials. It is rumored in social media that Eritrean president Isayas Afeworki is also in Abu Dabi but it is not covered by major media outlets at this writing.
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