Friends to foe

Ethiopia: Abiy and Tedros’ growing tensions

By Romain Gras

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Posted on February 2, 2022 11:08

Firefox_Screenshot_2022-02-01T14-12-01.319Z Abiy Ahmed and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. © Montage JA; REA; Fred Merz/Monday13 for JA
Abiy Ahmed and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. © Montage JA; REA; Fred Merz/Monday13 for JA

Ethiopia’s prime minister Abiy Ahmed is being openly hostile towards his fellow countryman and the WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who is running for a second term. This rivalry is being exacerbated by the war in Tigray.

Arm in arm, Abiy Ahmed and Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus looked like two friends enjoying their reunion. On 8 April 2018, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Ahmed, who had been sworn in six days earlier, was all smiles with his compatriot, the WHO’s director-general Ghebreyesus, in Addis Ababa. On the agenda of this first meeting were discussions aimed at “strengthening cooperation between the WHO and Ethiopia.” Over the following months, whenever they met, the two men warmly greeted each other.

Tedros and the ‘hell’ of Tigray

Almost four years later, their interactions have changed. Warm congratulations and other kind messages have been replaced by accusations and all kinds of abuse.

The latest episode involved a malicious communiqué, which was published on 13 January and asked the WHO to open an investigation into its director, from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Addis Ababa accused

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