Ethiopian authorities have announced the formation of a taskforce to address concerns about the safety of Ethiopians and foreigners crossing the Ethiopia-Sudan border.
In his weekly media briefing, Meles Alem (Amb.), spokesperson to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), informed journalists about a taskforce comprised of experts from the Ministry as well as other ministries and regions bordering Sudan.
Although the exact number is unknown, the Ambassador stated that hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians reside in Sudan. The taskforce is merely assigned to facilitate visa processing, border crossing, medical services, and all other necessities that would maintain and guarantee the safety of Ethiopian citizens and aid foreign nationals who require Ethiopia’s assistance to flee the conflict through the country.
The taskforce will facilitate consular services and assist in figuring out how to provide accommodation for foreigners fleeing Sudan via Ethiopia, according to Meles, as nations look to Ethiopia as a key partner to take people out of the conflict zone.
Hundreds of foreigners from France, Israel, the United States (US), Turkey, Kenya, Uganda, and many other African and non-African nations have fled Sudan following the outbreak of armed conflict between two opposing generals on April 15, 2023.
It is the responsibility of the taskforce to manage humanitarian and security crises, as well as to ensure the safety of Ethiopians in Sudan and prevent any potential threats from reaching Ethiopia.
Meles revealed that the team has already been deployed in the border regions and is in communication with the Ethiopian Embassy in Khartoum to facilitate the situation. Due to security concerns and disruptions in basic services, a number of diplomats from Khartoum have relocated to the Ethiopian Consulate in Gedaref. Meles refrained from discussing the number of relocated diplomats.
“We need peace in Sudan since the people of Sudan were on the side of Ethiopia while we were in a horrible situation. In this sense, with our meager means, we are striving to be there for them,” Meles said.
Meles disclosed that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) spoke with the leaders of Sudan’s warring parties on Friday and emphasized the need to find a resolution to their conflict and prevent any involvement of external parties in the mediation process.