Friday, January 27, 2006

ION update: 01/27/06

The EPRDF's new diplomatic team
Indian Ocean Newsletter N°1166 28/01/2006

The Ethiopian government, which is having a hard time getting its post-election policies accepted by the international community, is to constitute a new team of ambassadors to defend this regime in a diplomatic atmosphere not always favourable to it. A rotation of diplomatic posts is under way, with the appointment of some twenty new ambassadors, many of who were unsuccessful pro-government candidates in the May 2005 legislative election and others are loyal top civil servants. At the same time, a handful of ambassadors are to be recalled to Addis Ababa to take up functions under close scrutiny within the ministry of foreign affairs or in regional governments. We investigate the likely appointments in the pipeline.

Europe. The head of expatriate Ethiopian affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA), Wubishet Demissie T/Mariam, of the Gurage ethnic group and a veterant diplomat, will probably become the next Ambassador to Paris, replacing Sahle-Work Zewde. The latter, after having spent many long years abroad (Djibouti and later Paris) may be called to take up the head of the Africa department of the MFA in Addis Ababa. She will hence replace another woman, Konjit Sinegiorgis, who will probably be posted as Ambassador to Vienna (Austria). The head of the Europe and America department of the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Girum Abbay, for his part should become Ambassador to Italy. Meanwhile Zerihun Retta, a former representative to the United Nations, could be posted to Ireland. For her part, the former Minister of Education, defeated in the election, Genet Zewde, should be sent as Ambassador to London. Finally, Siraj Rashid is about to become number two in the Ethiopian Embassy to Germany.

Americas. The former Speaker of the Ethiopian Parliament, also defeated in the recent elections, Dawit Yohannes, should become the new Ethiopian Ambassador to the United Nations in New York, while Taye Izkesilassie already on post as chief of the Ethiopian Consulate in Los Angeles, will be given the rank of Ambassador. Getachew Hamussa, former chief of the finance and economic development bureau of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region (SNNPR), who was defeated in the May 2005 Parliamentary election at Arba Minch, will be sent as Ambassador to Canada. For his part, the Vice President of Addis-Abeba University (AAU), Samuel Assefa, who did not succeed in obtaining the post he coveted of President of this university (ION 1165), should be offered the post of Ambassador to Washington.

Africa. The former Ethiopian special envoy to the peace negotiations on Somalia, Abdulaziz Ahmed Adem, would naturally become Ambassador to this country and would be based in Jowhar. Meanwhile, the former chairman of the Addis Ababa city council, Ali Abdo, who was then recycled into the administration of the Oromia Regional State, could be sent as Ambassador to Sudan. Suleiman Dedefo, the current chief of staff of the Ethiopian minister of foreign affairs, Seyoum Mesfin, will become Ambassador to Nigeria. For his part, the former deputy chairman of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People's Region, Melese Marimo, should get the same functions in Pretoria (South Africa). Disasa Derbissa, Terfa Mengesha and Hassen Abdilkadir (the present head of the State Justice Bureau) will become respectively Ambassadors to Kenya, Uganda and Senegal.

Middle East. A Tigrayan career diplomat, Fisseha Asgedom, who in the past has been in the post of number two in Ethiopia's delegation to the United Nations in New York, is expected to become the new Ethiopian Ambassador to Israel. A law expert, the current director of legal affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ibrahim Idris, will become the ambassador to Egypt. Finally, Tekleab Kebede, the spokesman for the Relief Society of Tigray (Rest) and who has been Consul in Jeddah (Saudi Arabia) since 1996, will keep his post with the rank of Ambassador while Tewfik Abdulahi will be posted as Ethiopian Ambassador to Yemen.