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Monday, 10 October 2016

Ethiopia summons Egyptian ambassador over Turkish reports of supporting unrest while Saudi speaks out against Egypt’s UNSC vote on Syria

IT’S BEEN A TOUGH WEEK FOR EGYPT on the diplomatic front — and it’s only Monday. Ethiopia declared a six-month state of emergency on Sunday, blocking internet access to most of the country following a week of unrest and violence in the Oromiya region leading to the torching of a number of foreign-owned companies and factories, according to the Associated Press. Over 55 people were killed on Sunday alone during a stampede following police firing tear gas into a crowd of protesters in Oromiya, Reuters reported. American scientist Sharon Gray who was visiting the country for a research project was killed last Tuesday while driving past a demonstration when her vehicle was hit by rock-wielding protesters

Where does Egypt fit in all of this? Turkey’s state-owned news agency Anadolu Agency published a video on Wednesday which purports to show Egyptians sharing a stage with the outlawed Oromo Liberation Front, a video which has since been aired by Ethiopia state broadcaster. Egypt’s foreign ministry strongly denied the Anadolu report on Wednesday, saying that, “Egypt firmly respects the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries… The Foreign Ministry Spokesman denounced attempts by some malicious parties to discord relations between both countries.”

Ethiopia summoned the Egyptian ambassador in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, ostensibly over “inaccurate” reports appearing in the domestic press here regarding the Ethiopia Renaissance Dam, according to state run Ethiopian News Agency. The Ethiopian report makes no mention of the video, although as stated, the state broadcaster has reportedly aired it.

The two anti-government groups who are at the center of the protests hail from the country’s two largest ethnic groups, the Oromo and Amhara, complain of political exclusion by the country’s ruling Tigrean elite, who are a minority in the country at 6.1% of the population.

Meanwhile, there’s daylight between Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Syria. The Saudi envoy to the United Nations, Abdullah al Muallami, “dubbed Egypt’s stance kowtowing to Russia on a UN resolution about Syria, and called it as [sic] ‘painful,’” according to Saudi mouthpiece Al Arabiya on Sunday. “Stances by Senegal and Malaysia were much closer to the agreed Arab decision,” said Muallami, calling it a “dark day for the Syrian people.” Egypt voted on two competing Security Council resolutions, one footed by the French and the other by the Russians, while characterizing the move as not being contradictory. The Russian resolution would not have clearly prohibited airstrikes.

Finally: An Egyptian was arrested in Kuwait for a failed terror attack targeting five American nationals, according to state news agency KUNA citing Kuwait’s interior ministry, Ahram Online reports. The detained individual had rammed his vehicle into theirs. None of the intended victims were injured, and the Egyptian foreign ministry did not have a comment at the time of the story’s publication.

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