My first weeks in London

9 Oct 2020

Guest editorial by H.E. Ambassador Teferi Melesse Desta

 

Since arriving in London with my wife Mekdes and our two boys almost three weeks ago, it feels like I have hardly had a chance to catch my breath. It seems London’s dynamism, for which it is renowned, is well and truly alive even in the time of COVID-19.

Settling into life in London, meeting my staff, and introductions to our many partners and stakeholders here have left me little time to pause and reflect as I assume my duties as Ethiopia’s new Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Thankfully, I can attempt to briefly do that here, in my first appearance within the pages of the Embassy’s monthly newsletter – a pillar of our excellent public relations work over the years.

It has been a source of great personal pride for my first appointment as Ambassador to be in the UK, a country with which Ethiopia has shared over 400 years of history. Add to that the fact that I am now leading the oldest African diplomatic mission in London and that I will be representing the interests of a 100,000-member strong Ethiopian diaspora, and the reason for my pride and delight could not be clearer.

Though I arrive at an interesting time in Britain’s recent history – with the pandemic lingering and Brexit’s final chapter on the horizon – I remain extremely optimistic about the future of our relations with the United Kingdom. I am confident that Ethiopia and the UK will stand hand-in-hand in the face of the uncertainties brought on by the threats of COVID-19, climate change, and growing challenges to the multilateral system. As longstanding partners, our friendship with the UK has never been fair-weather and it is my intent to expand our ties and strengthen our coordination further during my tour of duty.

In my first few weeks in London, I have had the pleasure of engaging a variety of stakeholders and constituents from the UK’s Minister for Africa, James Duddridge MP, right here in the heart of Westminster, to members of the Ethiopian diaspora in cities and towns up and down the rest of the country. It is my ambition to forge new partnerships with our friends in the UK to encourage greater flows of investment, tourists, and knowledge to Ethiopia.

Now more than ever, Ethiopia is stretching out to the world, recapturing her confidence and ambition as part of the transformational reforms launched by the administration of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The UK, through its vision for a more global Britain, is uniquely positioned as one of Ethiopia’s oldest partners, to take advantage of these unmatched opportunities.

In the weeks, months, and years ahead, I look forward to working towards these ends, taking this great responsibility forward into a new era of partnership and collaboration between the UK and Ethiopia.

Ambassador Teferi’s bio is available on request. Please email press@ethioembassy.org.uk.

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