ADDIS ABABA – Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen met with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, in Moscow where they agreed to bolster the ties between the two countries.
During the meeting, Demeke, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister of Ethiopia, briefed the Russian side his current situation including the humanitarian response in Tigray, trilateral negotiations over Renaissance Dam and the 2021 general elections.
Regarding Tigray, Demeke said “efforts are underway to rehabilitate law enforcement in the region, provide unlimited humanitarian assistance, facilitate access to humanitarians, and investigate allegations of human rights abuses and bring perpetrators before justice,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
The deputy Prime Minister headed to Moscow via UAE a day after his country held its 6th General elections.
He said the election was conducted in a peaceful manner. The results of the counting will be made public as per the country’s Electoral Board schedule, he added.
Speaking about the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD), Foreign Minister Demeke said Ethiopia would continue to adhere to the African Union (AU) led negotiating process.
The two sides also talked about the border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan.
Deputy Prime Minister said Sudan’s use of the situation in the Tigray region as an opportunity to encroach into Ethiopian territory was not only illegal but also an immoral act that failed to reflect the longstanding relationship between the two countries, according to the Foreign Ministry’s statement.
Demeke also reaffirmed that Ethiopia’s efforts to resolve the border dispute with Sudan peacefully would continue, it added.
According to Demeke, the Ethiopian people and government appreciate Russia’s continued support and commitment to Ethiopia’s sovereignty adding that Ethiopia is confident that this support would continue.
The Deputy Prime Minister also announced that Ethiopia is ready to host the Africa-Russia Forum in Addis Ababa next year.
‘Russia doesn’t support intervention’
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, on his part, said the steps taken by the federal government of Ethiopia in handling the situation in the Tigray regional state, including its commendable humanitarian assistance efforts are testaments to the moral and political competence of the government, the statement reads.
Lavrov also noted that Russia’s participation in the Sixth National Elections as an observer was reflective of the long and historical relationship between the two countries adding that, his country is satisfied with the peaceful conclusion of the election.
The foreign minister said Russia believes that the ongoing negotiations under the auspices of the African Union (AU) regarding the Renaissance Dam should be strengthened and Russia is interested in providing the necessary technical support.
He also lauded Ethiopia’s approach to peacefully resolving the border dispute with Sudan and resolving problems through diplomacy.
Russia does not support any intervention in Ethiopia’s internal affairs, he said affirming that the areas of cooperation between the two countries will continue to be strengthened, according to the statement,
Foreign Minister Lavrov also appreciated Ethiopia’s stance for being ready to host the Africa-Russia Forum in Addis Ababa next year.
The two sides vowed to strengthen the bilateral relations, especially in education, capacity building, science and technology
“They stressed the need to expedite the implementation of agreements that have been reached so far and called for the speedy signing of agreements in other areas that the two countries have agreed to expand engagements,” Ethiopia’s Foreign Ministry said.
It also said the discussion between the two sides was fruitful and ended with their affirmation of commitment to continue the historic relationship between Ethiopia and Russia in various fields.