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Ethiopia releases Egyptian nationals detained during recent unrest: Ministry

The foreign ministry said the three Egyptian men have been released after months of detention in Addis Ababa

Ahram Online , Thursday 12 Jan 2017
Ethiopia unrest
Protesters chant slogans during a demonstration over what they say is unfair distribution of wealth in the country at Meskel Square in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa, August 6, 2016 (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's foreign ministry says Ethiopia has released three Egyptian nationals detained for months during a recent wave of violent protests that left hundreds dead in the East African country.

The foreign ministry secured the three men's release after a months-long effort, the ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday. The nationals departed Ethiopia's Addis Ababa for Cairo Wednesday night. They were not charged with any wrongdoing, the ministry added.

Egypt's Foreign minister Sameh Shoukry traveled to Addis Ababa in November to discuss the release of the men with Ethiopia's Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

In October, Ethiopia blamed "elements" from Eritrea and Egypt for stoking an unprecedented wave of protests against the Ethiopian government over land grabs and human rights abuses that led the government to declare a six-month state of emergency.

Egypt's President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi denied the accusations of Egyptian involvement.

"Egypt has never ever offered any support to the opposition and will not carry out any conspiratorial action against Ethiopia," El-Sisi said at the time.

Ethiopia's information minister Getachew Reda was quoted saying that such elements were "not necessarily directly linked with the Egyptian government."

Tensions have arisen in recent years between Cairo and Addis Ababa over each country's access to the Nile River as a water source.

On the detainees' release, Egypt's foreign ministry said it "reflects that both sides are keen to preserve the gains that have been achieved on bilateral relations…and bolster and develop such ties."

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