Ethiopia expels Irish diplomats over Ireland's stance on war

AFP , AP , Wednesday 24 Nov 2021

Ethiopia has ordered four of six Irish diplomats working in Addis Ababa to leave the country because of Ireland's outspoken stance over the ongoing conflict in Ethiopia, Ireland's government said Wednesday.

Simon Coveney
File Photo: Ireland s Foreign Affairs Minister, Simon Coveney, speaks to the media, at Iveagh House in Dublin, August 16, 2017. AP

The Department of Foreign Affairs said Ethiopia's government informed the Irish Embassy in the Ethiopian capital that the four must leave within one week. The Irish ambassador and one other diplomat were allowed to stay.

In a statement, the department said that Ethiopian authorities indicated this was ``due to the positions Ireland has articulated internationally, including at the U.N. Security Council, on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.''

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney said he ``deeply regretted'' the decision, and noted that Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Ireland's aid funds in the past five years.

He added that in light of the deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia, the government recommended against all travel to the country and all Irish citizens there should leave immediately.

Ireland and African members of the U.N. Security Council led a statement on Nov. 5 calling for a cease-fire, and stressing the importance of full humanitarian access to Tigray and political dialogue between parties.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the yearlong war between Ethiopian and allied forces and fighters from the country's northern Tigray region, who long dominated the national government before Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office. Tigray forces are moving closer to the capital, and the United States and others have warned that Africa's second-most populous country could fracture and destabilize the Horn of Africa.

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