Africa Conflict Ethiopia Human Rights Politics & Diplomacy

Event Recap

January 28, 2021

Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister provides humanitarian update

By Africa Center

On Thursday, January 28, the Africa Center hosted a private virtual roundtable featuring H.E. Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, the deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, for a wide-ranging update on the security and humanitarian situation in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. Africa Center Senior Fellow Gabriel Negatu opened with introductions of the speakers, before ceding the floor to H.E. Demeke for an opening statement.

In his remarks, H.E. Demeke focused on the government’s humanitarian response and the status of regional refugees, while providing an update on the government’s law enforcement operation. He was joined for comments by H.E. Redwan Hussein, state minister for foreign affairs and state of emergency spokesperson, and H.E. Tesfahun Gobezay, director general of Ethiopia’s Agency for Refugee and Returnee Affairs. Among other contributions, H.E. Tesfahun reported on the status of four key refugee camps near the border with Eritrea and the latest efforts to restore full access and services.

In the ensuing discussion, participants across government, the diplomatic corps, and relevant non-profit organizations engaged the Deputy Prime Minister on a variety of topics. These included issues related to humanitarian and journalistic access, the alleged role of Eritrean forces, the potential for border conflict with Sudan, and the timetable on restoring telecommunications to affected areas. Africa Center Director of Programs and Studies Bronwyn Bruton closed the session, thanking all speakers and participants for convening under the auspices of the Atlantic Council.  

Related Experts: Gabriel Negatu and Bronwyn Bruton