The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement on Tuesday in response to an inquiry by the Middle East News Agency (MENA), in which the latter demanded to know the ministry’s stance on the statements, attributed to the spokesperson of the Ethiopian government Getachew Reda, blaming Egypt for unrest in Ethiopia.
Citing Reda, the BBC said that he told reporters on Monday that some groups in Egypt and Eritrea were behind the unrest in Ethiopia that led the Ethiopian government to announce a state of emergency on Sunday.
Reda told reporters that foreign elements are providing the opposition with arms and financially supporting them, but he added that these elements are not necessarily backed by their governments.
In the statement, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid stressed Egypt’s respect for the sovereignty of other countries and reaffirmed that it was not intervening in internal affairs. He added that Egypt is in contact with the Ethiopian side to preserve good relations, which have thrived during the recent period.
Earlier this month, an estimated 55 Oromo people, an ethnic group in Ethiopia, died as a result of a stampede. Ethiopian activists claimed that security forces opened fire on them. The Oromo people’s protests began in November 2015, when the Ethiopian government planned to expand the boundaries of its capital Addis Ababa. The Oromo people claimed that this would lead to their enforced evictions and the demolition of their culture and language.
Egyptian ambassador to Ethiopia Abou Bakr Hefny met last week with Ethiopia’s state minister of the ministry of foreign affairs after Ethiopian media showed videos of Oromo people sharing a stage with people they claimed to be Egyptians. Hefny demonstrated Egypt’s stance and said that Egypt does not intervene in other countries internal affairs.
Egyptian-Ethiopian relations have strained over the past few years since Ethiopia began construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD).