Addis Abeba, February 19/2018 – The office of Federica Mogherini, head of the European Union external action service, released a statement expressing the block’s concern that “the resignation by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn opens a period of uncertainty in Ethiopia.”
On Thursday February 15, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said he was resigning from his role as both Prime Minister and Chairman of Ethiopia’s ruling party EPRDF, as well as his position as chairman of his own party, the Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM). The executive committee of both the EPRDF and SEPDM have accepted the resignation.
However, the Prime Minister’s resignation was followed quickly by a decision on Friday of the council of ministers to impose yet another six months nationwide state of emergency and establish a military command post to oversee the emergency decree.
Reacting to the resignation of the Prime Minister, the EU said, “it will be important for the new government to have the full capacity to pursue the positive reforms initiated by the Prime Minister to address the grievances of the population.” The statement further called for a dialogue among all stakeholders. “Only a constructive dialogue among all stakeholders – authorities, opposition, media, civil society – will allow for a peaceful and durable resolution of the crisis.” But, the statement said the re-reinstatement of the State of Emergency “risks undermining this very objective.”
However, unlike the strong condemnation by the US, which said the US “strongly disagrees” with Ethiopia on the decision to declare a state of emergency, EU’s statement called for a ‘limited’ time and ‘respectful” application of the decree. “It is therefore of the utmost importance that it should be as limited in time as possible and respectful of human rights and fundamental freedoms, notably those enshrined in the Ethiopian Constitution.” It also cautioned that “violence should also be avoided.”