By Keffyalew Gebremedhin – The Ethiopia Observatory (TEO)On October 21, 2015, the TPLF media announced that the Man in the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office had meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud.
The purpose of the visit was explained in that usual innocuous diplomatic language: ‘to identify and establish areas of cooperation between the two countries’, although TPLF Ethiopia has taken the journey because it is bankrupt and is badly short of reserve, foreign exchange, to carry out any state and national activities.
Overall, the news coming out of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, is hinting something worrying; it was also diplomatically chaotic and disorganized; the image is disturbing with TPLF people hat in hand. It is the case of poverty and irresponsible national governance and corruption that have dishonored our nation.
Finance and foreign exchange-strapped TPLF-run Ethiopia has found itself at the auction block in Riyadh, irrespective of what Alriyadh says in its cryptic reporting on their discussions and the agreements the two nations have reached.
Traditionally, to move bilateral relations forward – especially economic relations/cooperation – normally bilateral commissions set up; if there are existing ones those mechanisms are activated for a week or two. Officials from line ministries in each country get together and draft their positions. Respective senior foreign service persons dealing with those issues discuss them and concretize positions to be taken up by the delegation leaders. Draft communiqué is submitted for the leaders of the two countries.
It is on the basis of that communiqué and the understanding between the two respective heads of delegations – in this case the Man in the Office of the Prime Minister and the Saudi king (or whoever he deputized) – final position on the overall relations, trade terms to be agreed upon, or aid provided, loans to be extended, security issues, etc., are formalized.
That is not what happened in Riyadh. It must be fire sale of Ethiopia, with important ministers’ offices from the Crown Prince down to individual key ministers in particular economic and defense!
The only silver lining is Saudi Arabia agrees now to set up new legal regime fully recognizing the human rights of Ethiopians workers in that country. It is reported that the king has promised his ministers would finalize the new laws and arrangements by December 2015.
It is not clear what it has taken from Ethiopia to get this understanding. I hope we would be in a position to explore in the months and years ahead what went into its making.
See what we have learned from Alriyadh in the course of the visit by the TPLF delegation in Saudi Arabia are the following:
* Prime Minister of Republic of Ethiopia Receives Minister of Agriculture
The story reads:“Prime Minister of Republic of Ethiopia Haile Mariam Desalegn received Eng. Abdurrahman bin Abdulmohsen Al-Fadhli, Minister of Agriculture.
During the meeting, they discussed issues pertaining to the agricultural field between the two countries.”
The story reads:“Prime Minister of Republic of Ethiopia Haile Mariam Desalegn received Dr. Ibrahim bin Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Minister of Finance.
During the meeting, they discussed issues pertaining to the economic field between the two countries. They also discussed ways of enhancing investment partnership between the two countries.”
The story reads:“Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, received here yesterday Ethiopian Defense Minister Siraj Fegessa.
During the meeting, they discussed opportunities of cooperation between the two countries in the field of defense.
The meeting was attended by a number of officials.”
The story reads:“Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Second Deputy Premier and Minister of Defense, received here yesterday Prime Minister of Republic of Ethiopia Haile Mariam Desalegn.
During the meeting, they reviewed aspects of cooperation between the two countries and exchanged viewpoints on a number of issues of common interest.
The meeting was attended by a number of officials.”
My sense is that what has taken the Man in the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office to Saudi king is TPLF’s financial problems, especially foreign exchange depletion.
So in Riyadh, he must have offered Ethiopian agricultural lands to Saudi king and his investors group. What this means is that so many Ethiopian farmers would once again be dislocated from their farmlands and family roots.
Before leaving to Saudi Arabia, the TPLF front has hinted that Saudi investment would be more useful productive in agriculture.
With a few million dollars as loan and investment, Ethiopia would be plundered and raped by the TPLF and Saudi Arabia. The good thing is that people would not allow themselves to be cheated any longer; nor passively intimidated as before!
As to the hunt for finance, I thought I heard the prime minister talk about GTP II being financed by domestic savings, which he predicted to rise from 22 percent to 30 percent. In that context, he promised the nation that it would not take any foreign finance.
Not surprisingly, CBank immediately reacted by stating that Ethiopia would receive $2 bill in the bond it is issuing within one to two months. Now also come some Saudi loans, the amount of which we do not know at this stage.
Saudi hands have been sufficiently greased for Ethiopia. I do not like this deal, but may the force be with Ethiopia!
Our remaining problem is the compulsive lying by the Man in the Ethiopian Prime Minister’s Office. Ethiopians may soon be reaching a stage, when they cannot trust him when he tells them his name is Hailemariam Desalegn!
Did the Saudis give him lie detector tests, before they signed on the agreement(s) on fresh investments in Ethiopia and whatever defence pact, or delivery of weapons, or etc?