BERLIN, Germany, February 21, 2018–A Federal Foreign Office Spokesperson issued the following statement today (20 February) on the situation in Ethiopia:
We are concerned about the latest domestic developments in Ethiopia. The declaration of a state of emergency allows a massive curtailment of civil rights. We hope that the Government will show great restraint in exercising its powers.
The Federal Foreign Office calls on the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, a country with which it enjoys friendly ties, to continue its recent endeavours to create greater scope for political dialogue. Since the start of the year, Ethiopia has released a large number of members of the opposition from prison, a step we very much welcomed. We believe that an inclusive and comprehensive dialogue with all relevant political stakeholders is the only way to achieve peaceful change and the necessary reforms that can bring lasting peace and stability to Ethiopia.
The Ethiopian Government declared a state of emergency on the evening of 16 February, citing as the reason the mass protests, particularly in the most populous region of the country, Oromia, which had led to the resignation of Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn on 15 February. At the start of the year, the Ethiopian Government announced an amnesty for a large number of members of the opposition who had been detained or charged with a crime. Since then, several thousand prisoners have been released, including the well‑known opposition leader Dr Merera Gudina. However, the protests have continued.