Ethiopia expels Irish diplomats, as UK and France tell their citizens to leave

Imminent dangers as fighting closes in on capital Addis Ababa

Ethiopia expelled four Irish diplomats, as a number of European countries advised their citizens living in the war-torn country to leave urgently.

Ireland condemned the expulsion, which leaves two staff in the country, as the UK, France and Switzerland ordered its citizens in Ethiopia to leave and other nations were expected to follow.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, which is fighting Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s forces, is advancing on the capital, Addis Ababa.

The US, UN and Germany have made similar evacuation orders as the conflict in Ethiopia intensifies.

“I deeply regret this decision by the government of Ethiopia,” Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

“Our engagement internationally on Ethiopia, including at the [UN] Security Council, has been consistent with the positions and statements made by the European Union.”

On Wednesday, Britain advised its citizens to leave Ethiopia immediately.

“In the coming days we may see the fighting move closer to Addis Ababa, which could severely limit options for British nationals to leave Ethiopia,” Vicky Ford, Minister for Africa,
said.

“Those who choose not to leave now should make preparations to shelter in a place of safety over the coming weeks. We cannot guarantee there will be options to leave Ethiopia in the future.”

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch reported how fighters from both sides used rape and sexual violence as weapons of war.

France and Switzerland joined the flurry of nations on Wednesday recommending their citizens should leave.

“All French nationals are formally urged to leave the country without delay,” the French embassy in Addis Ababa said in an email.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said the decision was made because of the deteriorating security situation.

“The Federal Department of Foreign Affairs advises against travelling to Ethiopia for any reason,” it said. “It also recommends that Swiss nationals in Ethiopia leave the country by their own means.”

The ministry advised people to leave Ethiopia using available commercial flights.

There are 230 Swiss citizens in Ethiopia registered with the country's embassy in Addis Ababa, the vast majority of whom live in the country. About 20 have left since the beginning of November.

Updated: November 24th 2021, 5:54 PM
EDITOR'S PICKS
NEWSLETTERS