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Diplomatic Crisis in Ethiopia: African Development Bank Withdraws Staff as Security Woes Deepen

Published Dec. 20, 2023, 8:54 p.m. by FNN

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In a dramatic response to a grave breach of diplomatic norms, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has withdrawn all its international staff from Ethiopia, a move that reflects heightened concerns over the safety of its international personnel. The incident, marked by the assault and arrest of two AfDB internatioonal employees, has thrown a spotlight on Ethiopia's deteriorating security situation and strained diplomatic relations.

AfDB President Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina revealed that the disturbing events unfolded on October 31, 2023, when two international staff members were subjected to unlawful arrest, assault, and a harrowing two-hour detention without official explanation. Adesina emphasized that these actions constituted a gross violation of personal diplomatic immunities, rights, and privileges granted under the bank's Host Country Agreement with Ethiopia.

Following the incident, Adesina promptly contacted Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and President Sahle-work Zewde, leading to the release of the AfDB employees within two hours. Despite this, the bank's subsequent formal request on November 6, 2023 for a full and transparent investigation from the Ethiopian government, has not received any official response or action.

A high-level delegation, spearheaded by AfDB Vice President, visited Ethiopia and met with Ethiopian government officials on November 22, 2023. The vice president concluded that the matter remains unresolved, casting doubts on the safety and security of AfDB staff in Ethiopia. An internal letter dated December 19, 2023, expressed a lack of confidence in the current environment, making it challenging for AfDB staff to feel secure and move around without fear of harassment.

Compounding these diplomatic tensions are Ethiopia's default on its international debt and a precarious security landscape. The nation is grappling with an alarming increase in insecurity, illustrated by the recent detention of Peace Minister Taye Dandea and random killings in the capital. Additionally, peace talks between the government and the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) - Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) have stalled, exacerbating the internal challenges facing the Ethiopian empire.

As Dr. Akinwumi A. Adesina takes decisive action to safeguard the well-being of AfDB personnel, the withdrawal of international staff raises broader questions about the bank's relationship with Ethiopia and the repercussions for diplomatic ties. Against the backdrop of economic and security crises, urgent international intervention and pressure is required to pressure the Ethiopian government respect the rights of its nationals and international communities residing in Ethiopia and to address the complex challenges Ethiopia is grappling with.


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