Ethiopia shuts down embassy in Algeria

Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed speaks at the House of Peoples Representatives in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on November 30, 2020.

Photo credit: AFP

What you need to know:

  • The latest decision, according to the embassy, is part of the country's plan to introduce new reforms aimed at establishing effective diplomatic representation across the globe.

The Ethiopian government on Wednesday announced it had closed its embassy in Algiers as it began to cut costs on its foreign policy obligations.

It cited financial constraints in closing a mission to a country that had in the past hosted talks between Eritrea and Ethiopia, and which produced a document known as the Algiers Peace Agreement signed on December 12, 2000 to end the war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

In a statement, the Ethiopian embassy in Algeria cited the economic crisis exacerbated by the negative consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest decision, according to the embassy, is part of the country's plan to introduce new reforms aimed at establishing effective diplomatic representation across the globe.

Ethiopia’s interests in Algeria will now be covered by a non-resident ambassador based in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa.

“The decision can be reconsidered any time in the future if the economic situation in the country (Ethiopia) improves,” the embassy said in a statement.

“The embassy wishes to emphasise that this temporary measure will not in any way affect the strong and historic relationship between Ethiopia and Algeria based on mutual understanding.”

In early July, the Horn of Africa nation changed the accreditation arrangements for dozens of its diplomatic missions across the globe.

Ethiopia then announced plans to cut the number of embassies it has overseas by at least half in a bid to save costs.

In a July 5 briefing to Ethiopian lawmakers, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the country will shut down several embassies to manage costs, with most diplomats working as non-resident ambassadors.

“Ethiopia shouldn't have 60 or so embassies and consulates in the present moment. Instead of throwing US dollars everywhere ... at least 30 of the embassies should be closed. The ambassadors should instead be here,” Abiy said.

He then said that the Ethiopian ambassador to Kenya, for example, could be based in Addis Ababa and only make field trips to meet with officials, while following events in Nairobi through the media. The Ethiopian Mission in Nairobi later clarified that the Premier had only used Nairobi hypothetically, but will not close the embassy in the Kenyan capital.


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