Addis Ababa, December 3, 2020 -Demeke Mekonnen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia yesterday held a phone conversation with Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister.

Demeke commended the long-standing and friendly relationship that exists between the two countries and underlined the need to further strengthen it, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Regarding Tigray, Demeke said the law enforcement operation has successfully been completed, carefully avoiding civilian casualties, with Mekelle now fully under the control of the national defense forces.

The government will apprehend the leaders and cliques of the TPLF junta, he said, adding that some have begun to surrender to the government.

Demeke said the government is now engaged with reconstruction and rehabilitation, and law and order restoration activities in the region.

The government is working in close consultations and collaboration with the interim government of Tigray that has been active in holding public discussions and organizing regional executive organs.

Sergei Lavrov, on his part, thanked Demeke for the briefing and affirmed that Russia respects the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ethiopia.

Appreciating what the Ethiopian government is doing to protect the rights of civilians and provide humanitarian assistance to affected people, he said Russia believes that ensuring peace in Ethiopia is indispensable to let peace reign in the Horn of Africa.

He said the government of Ethiopia has got the right to enforce law and order in the country without the interference of external parties since the matter is the internal affair of the country.

He further added that Ethiopia and Russia should strive more to scale up their bilateral relations and cooperation in multilateral fora.

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