Addis Ababa March 16/2022/ENA/ The Government of Ethiopia is committed to forging its excellent relationship with neighboring countries, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti told ENA that it is natural to focus on neighboring countries because they are close entities to your place, there is people-to-people relationship which you should accommodate, and there is also flow of goods and people across the border.
“Whatever happens in your neighborhood will affect you faster than what happens elsewhere. Therefore, focusing on neighborhood is critical. That is why Ethiopia has been focusing on its neighbors. So far the relationship with the neighboring countries is more or less excellent,” Dina added.
According to him, there are of course hiccups like what we have with Sudan, but hopefully will be overcome if we work diligently at a peaceful level.
“A border issue could be overcome through the mechanisms we have already set early on. Those mechanisms could help to overcome the border dispute between Ethiopia and Sudan,” he noted.
Otherwise, the spokesperson stated that “we have overcome the difficulties we had with Eritrea for years. Ethiopia had an unfortunate war with Eritrea and that ended.”
Now, Ethiopia has excellent relationship with Eritrea, Dina said, adding that the same is true with all other countries, except Sudan, in which this unfortunate circumstance will hopefully stay for the time being.
Mechanisms and organizations like IGAD, which focus on the neighboring countries, will help to integrate the countries with economic, trade, infrastructure, among others.
“Focusing on neighbors is ideal and proper,” the spokesperson stressed.
Speaking about the concern of Ethiopia on the Red Sea, Dina said “we can consider ourselves as a country close to the Red Sea and the peace, security and development of the Red Sea region would affect us.”
Ethiopia is normally the country that considers whatever happens at the Red Sea from its interest perspectives, the spokesperson noted.
“Whatever good happens in the Red Sea will affect us positively; whatever happens negatively in the Red Sea region would affect us negatively.”
Therefore, it is normal for Ethiopia to have concern about what is happening in the Red Sea region because it is very close, he underscored.
Furthermore, there are lots of players at the Red Sea and there is gravity and tendencies of some regional powerful states to have military bases in the region.
Dina pointed out that “as a country Ethiopia would like to forge good relationships with all of them. We don’t need to be partisan. Ethiopia can forge friendly relationships with everyone in the region as long as it serves the interest of the country.”