Ethiopian Ambassador to US Says Addis Ababa Safe, No Need for Foreign Evacuations
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Ethiopian Ambassador to the United States Fitsum Arega told Sputnik that the conflict in the northern part of the country has been contained and presents no threat to the capital, which makes foreign evacuations unnecessary.
"Addis Ababa is safe and secure as always. There is no need for alarm. People are living their normal lives. It makes no sense to urge 'evacuations.' What we have seen in other part of the world with people clambering to hold onto planes to make an escape recently is far from occurring in Ethiopia," he said.
Last week, the US urged its citizens in Ethiopia to evacuate immediately, claiming the rebels are on the outskirts of the capital ready to take over. It came after the Ethiopian parliament declared a six-month state of emergency nationwide as TPLF rebels threatened to advance on the capital of Addis Ababa. The development prompted several countries to start evacuating their diplomatic missions.
Washington has ordered all of its non-essential diplomatic staff and their families to leave Ethiopia.
Arega noted that Americans and other foreigners are not rushing to leave the country amid a two-week long general call for evacuation of US citizens by the embassy in Addis Ababa.
"Commercial plane seats are always available but no one is rushing to leave, but the US government trying to convince by every means possible including paying for their airfare but no takers," he said.
Arega stressed that Ethiopia is a big country with 120 million people. "The conflict area we are talking about is limited to the northern part. The large part of the country remains safe as well," he said.
According to Arega, the Ethiopian government has made it clear to the diplomatic corps in Addis Ababa that their safety will be fully ensured.
"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has made a presentation to the diplomatic community on the declaration of the state of emergency and provided full assurances that they will be accorded full diplomatic protection. It is regrettable that some should try to weaponize fear and alarm as a pressure strategy in aid of the TPLF. But the country will return to normalcy in the foreseeable future," he said.
Northern Ethiopia has been engulfed by an internal conflict since November of last year, when the central government accused the TPLF of attacking a military base and launched a counter-operation in Tigray. Hostilities have since been going on, despite a unilateral ceasefire announced by the government in June.