LONDON, United Kingdom, February 20, 2018–Minister for Africa Harriett Baldwin said:
“The UK has been following closely the past week’s events in Ethiopia. We share outgoing Prime Minister Hailemariam’s view that this is a concerning time for a country that is our friend and our partner. We welcome the commitment to an orderly process of political change in line with the constitution, as well as his repeated support for a continued reform process.
Against that backdrop we are, however, concerned and disappointed by the decision to impose a new State of Emergency. It sends a discouraging signal to the international community and foreign investors. We strongly hope that the announcement does not signal a reversal in Ethiopia’s recent moves towards reform, and that it will be in place for as short a time as possible. In implementing the State of Emergency, we urge the Government of Ethiopia to ensure that human rights and the constitution are respected. Widespread use of detention powers and internet blockages should be avoided.
We call on the Government to ensure a rapid, peaceful, transparent and constitutional transition to a new leadership that continues and accelerates the reform process. The UK is a long-term friend of Ethiopia and we continue to stand ready to support a purposeful and progressive reform agenda.”