The diplomatic history of Ethiopia effectively coincides with the formation of modern Ethiopian polity and statehood in the 19th century. However, Ethiopia’s relation with foreign countries dates back to more than 3000 years.
The geo-strategic location of the country and geopolitical situation during the colonial era of the Scramble for Africa and the post war political developments forced the leaders of the country to focus on five principles which governed the foreign policy and diplomacy of the country. These principles included collective security, peaceful coexistence, strengthening the defense capability of the country, non-alignment and pan Africanism.
Ethiopia used the skills of her diplomats and the commitment of her leaders to help found the League on Nation and the UN and played an extraordinary role in the founding of the former OAU and later on the AU.
Ethiopia’s diplomatic relations and related efforts do not emanate from isolated quest for national interest. In fact, the principles of fulfilling the national interest of the country is closely linked with ascertaining mutual benefit with countries near and afar and promoting global issues like climate change, regional economic integration and the quest for global peace.
Ethiopia is conducting institutional foreign relations and diplomacy which is carefully planned and implemented. Career diplomats are being produced through intensive trainings which are tailored in the context of domestic and foreign policy objectives of the country. Ethiopia’s ever growing diplomatic activities are closely connected with global values and interests in the conduct of foreign policy and diplomacy
The foreign policy objectives of the Ethiopian Government rests on four main pillars including ascertaining sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country, promoting national interest, economic diplomacy and citizen centered diplomacy.
The socio-political and economic reforms underway in the country for the last four years had added impetus to the effective implementation of the above mentioned diplomatic objectives.
It stands to reason therefore that Prime Minister Abiy has conducted shuttle diplomatic maneuvers starting with ascertaining stable diplomatic relations with the neighboring countries based on the four objectives mentioned above.
The Premier effectively combined his efforts in diplomacy with institutional approach through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the implementation of the foreign policy and diplomacy of the country.
The diplomatic efforts and skillful negotiating capacity of the Ethiopian delegation along with AU facilitation role culminated in the signing of Agreement on the Permanent Cessation of Hostilities between the Federal Government and the TPLF. This not only indicates that the foreign policy and diplomacy of the country emanates from the nation’s domestic policies and priorities in national diplomatic efforts.
Ethiopian ambassadors and senior diplomats across the world exposed the unverified news and reports on the situation in Ethiopia and exposed the truth to African leaders and countries which recognized the concerns of his government, creating awareness on the importance of promoting economic integration among African countries to ease the pressure of foreign debt on the continent, promoting economic diplomacy to reduce the devastating effects of COVID-19 pandemic Ethiopian and continental economy.
The Ethiopian Permanent Mission at the UN was able to with stand UNSC hosted 12 rounds of sessions in violation of the Charter discussing on issues that are legally under the competence of the Ethiopian Government. Today, with the support of the entire population in the country, the nation has managed to complete the 4th and final round of filling GERD and expects to generate hydropower from five more turbines this year.
In his efforts to resolve the crisis in Sudan, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed helped in resolving the crisis in the country by presenting a proposal to end the stalemate on June 21, 2019. Sudan’s Transitional Military Council (TMC) and the Alliance for Freedom and Change (AFC) a received proposals from the Ethiopian mediation to solve the current political crisis in the country which ended in the formation of a transition government composed of the representatives of the military council and civilian political organizations.
On August 29, 2021, Prime Minister Abiy and his team paid a working visit to Uganda and Rwanda and discussed on bi-lateral and multi-lateral issues with Presidents Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda followed by his visit to Senegal on September 7, 2021 to discuss on bilateral and continental issues with President Macky Sall of Senegal. He proceeded to Ghana to take up issues of bilateral and regional importance with President Nana Akufo Addo.
Earlier on August 18,202I, Prime Minister Abiy headed to Turkey on official visit to the country upon the invitation of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey. Upon the end of his visit which the Premier expressed as “precious time” various types of agreements were signed between the two countries including military, trade and technical cooperation in various fields.
In 2016, Ethiopia and Turkey signed 5 important agreements related to trade, investment, and technical cooperation in building the capacity of small and medium enterprises
The relationship between Ethiopia and UAE has been being transformed to a higher level in all rounded aspects. The recent official visit paid to Ethiopia by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan President of the UAE has not only boosted the diplomatic relations between the two countries but was a big diplomatic success for Ethiopia managed to sign more than 12 multiple sets of agreements whose effective implementation will benefit the peoples of the two countries.
Ethiopia has managed to acquire friendly diplomatic reception from countries like Russia, China, Turkey, India, Israel, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Korea Republic and a number of countries in South East Asia.
Indeed Ethiopia is indebted to most African countries who understood Ethiopia’s position in repulsing interference into the internal affairs of the country.
The visits paid to Ethiopia by the Foreign Ministers of Germany and France, Annalena Baerbock and Catherine Colonna, to explore how Germany, France and the EU can support the country and its people on the path to lasting peace was one of the diplomatic achievements Ethiopia has registered after the war in the northern part of the country.
Editor’s Note: The views entertained in this article do not necessarily reflect the stance of The Ethiopian Herald
BY SOLOMON DIBABA
The Ethiopian Herald September 21/2023