Ethiopia termed reports that she is planning to close embassy in Nairobi among others as “false and wild guess”.
In a statement, the Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi said that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was being hypothetical, and that the embassy will not be closed.
“The Nairobi mission will not be closed. Ethiopia’s neighbouring countries such as Kenya remains a priority to the Ethiopian foreign policy,” said Ethiopia’s mission in Nairobi.
Speaking to MPs on Monday, Abiy said that the country would close several consulates, quoting the case of Kenya where the ambassador approximately met the Minister for Foreign Affairs once a year.
“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. The Ethiopian ambassador in Kenya, for example, probably meets the Kenyan foreign minister once a year or once in two years,” said Abiy.
The government of Ethiopia recently admitted that its resources were overstretched, and that the move was aimed at cutting costs.
“With the current situation Ethiopia is in, the country doesn’t need to have as many as 60 or so embassies and consulates. What we want is a person who gets wet in the mud and runs while reforming the country,” he said.
Abiy has also been advocating Horn of Africa countries to share embassies in foreign countries to cut on costs and also allocate the resources to other use.
“There is no need to have a foreign Embassy in Switzerland for each of East African countries. We can share because we are poor. We have to allocate that resources to change the lives of our society. We are working towards integration of the region,” he said in January.
Ethiopia’s embassy in Kenya is the oldest in Africa for the country. The country was also the third country to establish diplomatic ties with independent Kenya.