France chipped in €32 million for the reconstruction in Afar, Amhara and Tigray regions
Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Minister for foreign Affairs, and her French counterpart, Catherine Colonna, were in Addis Ababa this week on an official working trip.
Their visit came just a day after Chinese new Foreign Minister, Qin Gang, visited the country in a move to enhance the depth and breadth of cooperation with the Ethiopian government.
Annalena Baerbock tweeted about the purpose of the joint trip to Ethiopia. The purpose was to learn about ways of “supporting” Ethiopia and ensuring accountability for human rights abuses during the course of the war with the TPLF.
She said, ” In Ethiopia with @MinColonna to do three things: explore with authorities on how to support the country on its way to lasting peace and accountability for human rights abuses, discuss food security at the Horn of Africa & strengthen Europe’s partnership with the AU.”
French Foreign Affairs Catherine Collonna endorsed the message by retweeting the message in French. Both countries are EU members and the EU has been putting immense pressure, including by sanctions, against Ethiopia during the war with the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).
After the reception ceremony, there was a triangular table meeting in Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s office.
He said, “Today I have met with Catherine Collonna, France’s Minister for Europe & Foreign Affairs and Annalena Baerbock, Germany’s Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs. Our in-depth & fruitful discussions are reflective of the strong relations Ethiopia holds with both France and Germany.”
They also met with Demeke Mekonnen, Ethiopian counterpart and Deputy Prime Minister. They tend to think that the peace situation in the country is promising.
The two ministers have reportedly called on accountability on the reported human rights violation.
The French Foreign Affairs Minister seems to think that the visit was “useful.” An English translation of her tweet in French reads “A useful visit to show European support for the implementation of the peace agreement. A call to all Ethiopians to seize the dividends of peace. Goodbye Ethiopian friends. We are by your side.”
Before concluding her visit, she announced a €32 million financial support which is to be spent on food security and productivity projects in the war affected areas – Afar, Amhara and Tigray.
During the height of diplomatic and political pressure against Ethiopia, politicized Ethiopians that are active on social media demonstrated a tendency towards the view that the European Union was in a mission to rescue the TPLF – the entity that caused the war – under the guise of human rights activism.
Now some Ethiopians, like Gezaw Legese who is an analyst with EMS, seem to think that the visit of the two foreign ministers demonstrates that Ethiopia has proved to be relevant.
On the other hand there are vocal critics of Ethiopia, and supporter of TPLF, like Rene LeFort describe the visit as “The carrot after a very soft stick”
Mr. Rene Lefort said “After the visit of the German and French foreign ministers, it’s clear that Berlin and Paris, and with them a lot of other European Union countries, find that the peace process is promising enough to restart their cooperation with Addis…”
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