Ethiopia Dismisses Remarks of Finnish FM Haavisto, Asks EU to Pick Impartial Interlocutor

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Addis Ababa June 18/2021 (ENA) The Government of Ethiopia has rejected “the irresponsible remarks” made by the Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto at the European Parliament, following his visit to Ethiopia as a Special Envoy of the European Union, and requested EU to consider picking an impartial interlocutor.

In a statement it issued today, Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the allegations made by Finland’s Foreign Minister Haavisto in his briefing are clear indications of the underlying desire by the Special Envoy to undermine the Ethiopian government and try to facilitate unwarranted interventions through disinformation and outrageous lies.

In particular, it noted that Haavisto’s ludicrous statements clearly show a lack of context and understanding of Ethiopia. Undoubtedly, his self-assured confidence to claim nuanced understanding of the country and its people as well as the current circumstances from two short visits to Ethiopia is not only flawed but it also smacks of a colonial mindset that still lurks in the minds of self-righteous individuals like him.

The statement, specifically, rejected the following hostile statements by the foreign minister.

1. ‘For talks with the Tigray opposition’: The cell is not considered as opposition in Tigray; it is a group declared as terrorist by the House of People’s Representatives in a constitutional process.

2.  ‘Lack of ceasefire implementation’: The law enforcement operation is not an engagement of equals but an operation to ensure a terrorist cell lays down its weapons and cease wrecking havoc in the country. Mr. Haavisto ignores the repeated calls by the Government for fighters of the terrorist cell to lay down arms and seek amnesty.

3. ‘So called elections’: As millions of Ethiopians go to the polls on 21 June 2021, belittling this democratic process which ensures the will and aspirations of Ethiopians is unwarranted.

4. ‘Inability of farmers to cultivate in the agricultural season’: Mr. Haavisto fails to acknowledge the works underway in cooperation with international partners like FAO, to prepare farmers in Tigray Region for the upcoming planting season through distribution of fertilizer, seeds and replacement of agricultural equipment.

While the above egregious statements are riddled with ulterior motives, the claims by Haavisto that senior Ethiopian leaders expressed desire to destroy Tigray is a hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind, the statement pointed out.

Warmly welcoming Haavisto during his two visits, the Ethiopian government facilitated meetings with the most senior leadership of the country, including the president, the prime minister, the deputy prime minister and minister of peace, for a frank exchange of views on a wide range of issues, including the situation in the Tigray region, the statement recalled.

According to the ministry, to give testimony to the European Parliament insinuating that the highest leadership of a sovereign country shared with him that they want to ‘wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years’ is a complete fabrication. It is utterly irresponsible, outrageous and undiplomatic.

The  statement further noted that “it is unfortunate that this is being peddled under the pretense of humanitarian concern for our people, but what is glaringly apparent is a colonial overtone and superiority that the Ethiopian people and government will never accept. That is why the Ethiopian government finds it difficult to henceforth accept  Haavisto as a credible intermediary in our relations with the EU.”

While the Ethiopian government would like to reiterate once again its commitment to continue partnering with the EU, it is absolutely important that the EU considers picking an impartial interlocutor with profound ingenuity and understanding who refrains from callous utterances and engage positively and constructively in helping tackle the prevailing challenges.

 Below is full statement of the ministry.

The Ethiopian government rejects the briefing by the Finnish Foreign Minister, Pekka Haavisto to the European Parliament on 15 June 2015 in relation to his visits to Ethiopia as a Special Envoy of the European Union. The allegations made by Mr. Haavisto in his briefing are clear indications of the underlying desire by the Special Envoy to undermine the Ethiopian government and try to facilitate unwarranted interventions through disinformation and outrageous lies.

In particular, Mr. Haavisto’s ludicrous statements clearly show a lack of context and understanding of Ethiopia. Undoubtedly, his self-assured confidence to claim nuanced understanding of the country and its people as well as the current circumstances from two short visits to Ethiopia is not only flawed but it also smacks of a colonial mindset that still lurks in the minds of self-righteous individuals like him.

Specifically, the Ethiopian government rejects the following hostile statements by Mr. Haavisto:

1) ‘for talks with the Tigray opposition’: The cell is not considered as opposition in Tigray; it is a group declared as terrorist by the House of People’s Representatives in a constitutional process.

2) ‘lack of ceasefire implementation’: The law enforcement operation is not an engagement of equals but an operation to ensure a terrorist cell lays down its weapons and cease wreaking havoc in the country. Mr. Haavisto ignores the repeated calls by the Government for fighters of the terrorist cell to lay down arms and seek amnesty.

3) ‘so called elections’: as millions of Ethiopians go to the polls on 21 June 2021, belittling this democratic process which ensures the will and aspirations of Ethiopians is unwarranted.

4) ‘inability of farmers to cultivate in the agricultural season’: Mr. Haavisto fails to acknowledge the works underway in cooperation with international partners like FAO, to prepare farmers in Tigray Region for the upcoming planting season through distribution of fertilizers, seeds and replacement of agricultural equipment.

While the above egregious statements are riddled with ulterior motives, the claims by Mr. Haavisto that senior Ethiopian leaders expressed desire to destroy Tigray is a hallucination of sorts or a lapse in memory of some kind. In warmly welcoming Mr. Haavisto during his two visits, the Ethiopian government facilitated meetings with the most senior leadership of the country including the President, the Prime Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister for Peace for a frank exchange of views on a wide range of issues, including the situation in the Tigray region.

To give testimony to the European Parliament insinuating that the highest leadership of a sovereign country shared with him that they want to ‘wipe out the Tigrayans for 100 years’ is a complete fabrication. It is utterly irresponsible, outrageous and undiplomatic. It is unfortunate that this is being peddled under the pretense of humanitarian concern for our people but what is glaringly apparent is a colonial overtone and superiority that the Ethiopian people and government will never accept. That is why the Ethiopian government finds it difficult to henceforth accept Mr. Haavisto as a credible intermediary in our relations with the EU.

While the Ethiopian government would like to reiterate once again its commitment to continue partnering with the EU, it is absolutely important that the EU considers picking an impartial interlocutor with profound ingenuity and understanding who refrains from callous utterances and engage positively and constructively in helping tackle the prevailing challenges.

Spokesperson’s Office

18 June 2021