Editors Note: AddisFortune’s Fine Line gossips that Girma Biru,former Minister of Trade and Industry is going to be EPRDF’s ambasador to the United States of America while Seyoum Mesfin is heading to China.Read the rest here:
Girma Birru, former minister of Trade and Industry (MoTI), called a meeting of all his staff at the ministry a few weeks after the announcement of cabinet members. To the disbelief of many, perhaps including himself, he was not on that list, gossip claimed.
Nonetheless, he called the meeting to introduce Abdurhaman Sheik Ahmed, the new minister, to the staff and to bid them farewell himself. Girma tried to comfort his colleagues of at least 10 years; he informed them that he would not be away from them as he would remain in the industry, according to gossip.
He might have thought that he would remain as a special advisor to the Prime Minister (PM) on trade and industry related matters and be based at Arat Kilo. In fact, that was exactly what many others had considered, even after he was named a special envoy to the PM; many were of the view that he would be given the portfolio of multilateral trade affairs.
Gossip has now established that not only will he be far from the ministry and the sector, he will be dispatched to a city 11,537.5km away from Addis Abeba. Girma will be Ethiopia’s ambassador to the United States (US), following in the footsteps of his predecessor at MoTI a decade ago.
Kassahun Ayele, now serving as Ethiopia’s ambassador to Germany, was a trade minister before he moved to Washington DC, replacing Brehane G. Kiristos, the all too influential diplomat who is now state minister of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).
The US is in the know about Girma’s appointment, gossip disclosed. To his luck, though, politicians on Capitol Hill like him, for they believe he is a little more liberal than many of his comrades, and, most importantly, he is perceived by Washington as the most private sector friendly Ethiopian senior minister during his years at Marshal Tito Street, gossip claimed.
Kassahun could probably retire, gossip anticipates. In Berlin, he will be replaced by Fisseha Asgedom, Ethiopia’s ambassador to Israel for several years.
Another surprising appointment of the past few weeks, which has been the subject of intense interest in the gossip corridors – with the exception of Arkebe Oqubay and Abay Tsehaye – was the ambassadorship of Seyoum Mesfin, the most experienced diplomat the country has right now. He will be dispatched to Beijing, for China is one of the four countries on which the administration of Meles Zenawi has placed a huge emphasis, alongside India, Turkey, and Brazil. However, whether he will report to the PM directly or to the ministers at the foreign office is not clear, according to gossip.
Another stormy front for Ethiopia’s diplomats is Sudan, with the referendum on the fate of the Southern region coming closer and the consequences of the results being very unpredictable. Despite dissatisfaction from the administration, Ali Abdo has been there for close to a decade now, gossip claimed. It appears to be time for a change in Khartoum; Hailekiros Gessese, currently ambassador to Beijing, will hand his position over to Seyoum and move to Sudan as Ethiopia’s ambassador, gossip disclosed.
Replacing Brehane in Brussels will be Kassu Illala (PhD), the longest serving minister in Meles’s cabinet, gossip claimed. Kassu is known to be one of the two men for whom the PM has soft spots; the other is Dawit Yohannes, until very recently Ethiopia’s representative at the United Nations (UN), claimed gossip. Dawit’s place will be filled by Tekeda Alemu (PhD), the longest serving state minister of MoFA. Mohammed Dirir, former Minister of Culture and Tourism will be placed in Cairo while Teshome Toga, former Speaker of the House is set to head to Paris, according to Gossip.