Irish citizens advised to leave Ethiopia amid escalating war

Irish citizens advised to leave Ethiopia amid escalating war

IRISH CITIZENS in Ethiopia are being advised to leave the country by the Department of Foreign Affairs.

It comes as a result of concerns following the escalation of a war in the country, with Tigrayan rebels edging closer to the capital Addis Ababa

They have been fighting to try to cut a transport corridor linking landlocked Ethiopia with the region’s main port in Djibouti.

Earlier this week, the Ethiopian government informed Ireland’s Embassy in the city that four of the six Irish diplomats serving at the Embassy must leave the country within one week.

The Irish Ambassador to Ethiopia and one other diplomat have been permitted to stay.

The Ethiopian authorities indicated that the decision to scale-down the size of the Embassy was due to the positions Ireland has articulated internationally, including at the UN Security Council, on the ongoing conflict and humanitarian crisis in Ethiopia.

Minister for Foreign Affairs, Simon Coveney TD said he regrets the decision by the government of Ethiopia as Ireland has had a diplomatic presence in the country since 1994, and has worked to support the development of the country.

"That Ethiopia has been the largest recipient of Irish Aid funds in the last five years is a demonstration of Ireland’s deep commitment to the country.

"Our engagement internationally on Ethiopia, including at the Security Council, has been consistent with the positions and statements made by the European Union, including by the EU High Representative/Vice President Josep Borrell."

Coveney said the team in the Embassy are continuing to discharge responsibilities, and that Ireland fully supports the role of the African Union in seeking a peaceful solution to the conflict, including through the work of its Special Envoy, former Nigerian President Olesegun Obasanjo.

"We are committed to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia," he said.

“In the context of the deteriorating security situation in Ethiopia, the focus of the Embassy will be the provision of consular services, although the reduction of our diplomatic staff numbers by two thirds will inevitably affect our ability to fully provide such services.

"We recommend against all travel to Ethiopia and Irish citizens in Ethiopia should leave the country by commercial means immediately.

“I hope the decision of the government of Ethiopia will be temporary, so that our Embassy staff can return to carrying out their important duties in the country as soon as possible."

In the coming weeks, Irish Aid will also disburse €16 million to humanitarian partners operating in the country.

On Wednesday, Switzerland and Britain advised their citizens to leave Ethiopia, citing the worsening security situation. France and the US have already called on citizens to leave.