Cairo- Ethiopia’s government on Monday blamed Egypt for supporting outlawed rebels and forcing the declaration of the country’s first state of emergency in a quarter-century as widespread anti-government protests continue.
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said the state of emergency was declared because there has been “enormous” damage to property.
“The recent developments in Ethiopia have put the integrity of the nation at risk,” he said.
A video circulating online heightened fears of troubling Egyptian-Ethiopian relations. The video showed unidentified Egyptians hailing the separatist Oromo Liberation Front during a recent public gathering of alleged Oromo community in Cairo few months ago.
Egypt’s ambassador to Ethiopia Abu Bakr Hefny stated in the meeting that the video “does not reflect the reality at all,” describing it as an attempt by third parties to sow discord between Egypt and Ethiopia.
More than 50 people were killed on Oct. 2 in a stampede triggered when police fired teargas and bullets to disperse the protestors.
The Ethiopian government has declared a six-month state of emergency.
“There are countries that are directly involved in arming, financing and training these elements,” government spokesman Getachew Reda said during a news conference in Addis Ababa on Monday.
There is “ample evidence” that Egypt provided training and financing to the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), labeled a terrorist organization by Ethiopia.
“We have ample evidence that trainings have happened, financing has happened in Egypt, the jury is still out whether the Egyptian government is going to claim responsibility for that,” he added.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abu Zeid said that Egypt had “absolute respect for Ethiopia’s sovereignty. The two nations were holding “high-level communications,” to maintain positive outcomes achieved in recent relations, while urging “vigilance against any attempts to harm the brotherly relations between Egypt and Ethiopia on the government and popular levels.”
This is the second statement released by Egypt’s foreign ministry in less than 24 hours asserting that Egypt respects Ethiopian sovereignty.
Ethiopian PM confirmed that security and peace in the country are at danger which prompted the state of emergency announcement. He added that anti-peace forces supported by outsiders aims to create chaos and instigate hatred.
Ethiopian Federal Prosecutor announced a list of procedures that the country plans to take, adding that the government is not planning on imposing curfew just yet.