Ethiopia ‘is not no-man’s land’ for UN workers

Ethiopia has a fully functional government with history of thousands of years of statehood and is ‘not a no-man’s land’, government official said.

Commenting on the complaints of UN humanitarian workers who were shot at and detained for breaking checkpoints in Tigray, Ambassador Redwan Hussein, spokesperson of the Command post, which is charge of the state of emergency in Tigray Region, stressed the need for all aid workers, including those in the UN to fully respect the rules and regulations of the government of Ethiopia that has thousands of years of statehood history.

He made the comment this afternoon responding the question raised by a foreign media journalist based in Addis Ababa. “This country is not no-man’s land. It has a government. It only has difficulty in the north. So they were told in some of the areas they were not supposed to move. But they indulged themselves into a kind of adventurous expedition. They broke two checkpoints to drive hastily. Whereas they were told not to go. So they were left alone when they broke two checkpoints and when they were about to break the third one they were shot at and detained. Now off course they are free,” he said.

“So this must be clear that this is Ethiopia, a country which has thousands of years of statehood. So no one can have a free ride. If anybody is told not to go, then they have to abide by…There is no such a thing as unfettered access in every corner of Ethiopia. It is led by the government and then you should listen to the government where to go and where not to go,” Ambassador Redwan said.

“You can only have unfettered access when you reach to nomads land. And this is not nomads land. It is a country of sovereign nation. It is a county of a government to function. It is a country whose government is used to all sorts of difficulties,” he said, indicating that the government needs to escort humanitarian workers to protect them from sporadic shootings of some leftover elements of the TPLF.

He stated that when the Government of Ethiopia has signed an agreement to allow UN humanitarian access about a week ago, it was meant that the whole operation will be led and coordinated by Ethiopian government.

“This country of Ethiopia has a functional government. Government always makes sure that its people would not suffer. Whenever government has difficulties, we only seek for assistance. So no entity whether multilateral or unilateral is supposed to supplant the government,” Ambassador Redwan said.

“… Government is very experienced in such activities. So any partner – one, it doesn’t cover the whole assistance; from our experience 60 percent of the assistance comes from Ethiopian coffer. So we are the ones feeding our people though we need some assistance. So what the agreement was the government would coordinate; the government would lead,” he said.

“So whenever the government creates access to operate humanitarian action, then UN agencies would be aboard. Whenever we say, ‘it is not safe to be accessed’, then UN agencies and other entities and our partners have to comply to that,” Ambassador Redwan said.

Ethiopia is not former or current colony
Commenting on when Ethiopia will open its doors for independent external investigators about its military operations in Tigray region and outcomes, Ambassador Redwan also stated that the Government of Ethiopia as any sovereign nation is accountable to its people and – “…It is not former colony or current colony,” he said.

“Ethiopia is being run by strong functional government, which knows how to govern a nation. It doesn’t need a babysitter. So any entity should wait until we invite for an independent investigation. No one would be concerned more than that we are concerned about ourselves. What happened in Tigray, what happened in Maykadra happened on us; happened to us; happened by us,” Ambassador Redwan said.


“So we know how to investigate and we bring the evidence. The first entity Ethiopian Government is accountable for is Ethiopian people…If anybody that might have some suspicion, then they can go through the document and evidences and they can ask. But to aside the government and begin investigation of a certain alien, it is not allowed. Because it is not a colony – a former colony or a current colony. This is an ancient country who runs its affairs for thousands of years,” he said.