The border crisis in Ethiopia’s east dominated a meeting between the Foreign Minister and diplomats based in the capital Addis Ababa, state-owned FBC reports.
Workneh Gebeyehu met with diplomats early this week to brief them on key ongoings in the country. His address, however, had a heavy dose of the internal security crisis that has bedevilled the eastern Ethiopia for the last few months.
With respect to the source of the renewed conflict between the Ethiopian Somali and Oromia regional states, he blamed it on rent-seeking groups that sought to exploit what he said was a ‘minor conflict.’
The same position had been advanced by Premier Hailemariam Desalegn in a recent address to lawmakers. The Minister, however, stressed that the government had worked with the two regional administrations to contain the situation and that normalcy had returned to the area.
He addressed how the government was working to bring perpetrators to justice, work aimed at rehabilitating the thousands that were displaced in the crisis and that the state Human Rights outfit was also engaged in getting to the bottom of the issue.
He lauded the cooperation and collaboration of interested parties such as traditional and religious leaders in the return to peace. Meetings had been held in mid September and early October on how best to resolve the crisis through dialogue, he added.
The rising tensions in Oromia state which led to deaths was also an area he touched on. On that score he said the regional government had arrested offenders who targeted civilians and members of the security forces deemed to have acted irresponsibly.
Away from issues of security, he said the government was working to open up the political space with talks far advanced. He also touched on the currency devaluation announced by the central bank in October 2017. A move he said was meant to ‘prop up exports,’ in East Africa’s economic giant.