Diplomatic and consular missions in Addis Ababa are now required to inform the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) in advance about gatherings they organize either in their premises or elsewhere.
The Ministry rationalized the current situation in Ethiopia for coming up with additional cautionary procedures. Effective as of 07 September, 2022, the missions are mandated to communicate with the Ministry about their gathering plans in written forms.
As per a letter the Ministry wrote to all diplomatic missions last Tuesday, 06 September, 2022, officials at the embassies or consulates found in the capital are now demanded to inform directorate general offices at the Ministry.
“This measure concerns the discharge of its [Foreign Ministry] protection responsibilities to guarantee the safety and security of diplomatic and consular staff and premises in the country,” the letter reads.
Spokesperson of the Foreign Ministry, Meles Alem (Amb.) confirmed that his office wrote the letter to the missions but downplayed the issue claiming that it is a customary activity in diplomatic operations.
“Either in Geneva or Juba, embassies everywhere in the world inform their receiving states whenever they move out of capital or host an event in their premises,” Meles told The Reporter, saying that Ethiopia alone did not create a new trend.
What the missions will write to the respective section of the Ministry will include information about the number of participants, what the occasion is about, and schedule of the occasion including the beginning and ending.
The Ministry also informed missions that they can as well request security assistance from the government should they need any.
Two diplomats from countries in Europe and Asia that The Reporter talked to on condition of anonymity confirmed receiving the letter.
However, one of the diplomats said that his embassy will be complying even though it isn’t the host country’s mandate to require information about happenings in his embassy premise. “It is a complicated issue and questionable, but we can follow the procedures as it isn’t a difficult one,” the diplomat said.
Stating the responsibilities of host countries to safeguard the missions, article 22 of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961 states that premises of the missions must be protected by host governments from any intrusion or damage and prevent disturbance of peace.