ADDIS ABABA – The United Nations has appointed a new representative of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to Ethiopia almost a year after removing the former country director in a controversial manner.
The new IOM Representative, Abibatou Wane-fall presented her copy of credentials to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday.
Wane-fall replaced Maureen Achieng who was taken off of her job along with UN Population Fund country director, Dennia Gayle after audio recordings containing criticism of the U.N. officials were released online in October 2021.
In the recordings, the two women who say they work for the U.N. in Ethiopia but do not give their names tell a journalist that some top U.N. officials globally sympathize with forces from Tigray region that are fighting Ethiopia’s government.
Days later, the UN put both on “administrative leave” – a decision strongly criticized by the government of Ethiopia, saying it was “deeply disturbing” to remove them for speaking the “unvarnished truth on institutional bias within the UN system.”
‘New Rep aims for strong tie’
The relationship between the UN and Addis Ababa has since shown improvement with the latter accepting the deployment of the new IOM country director to Ethiopia.
On Tuesday, Demeke Atnafu, Director of Protocol Affairs at MoFA, welcomed IOM country representative Wane and briefed her about the current state of affairs in the country, according to a statement issued by MoFA.
The two sides also noted that existing cooperation between Ethiopia and the IOM in repatriating and integrating migrants should be further strengthened, the statement reads.
Wane also appreciated the government of Ethiopia for accepting her appointment and continued support.
“I also reiterated my engagement to maintain the very good collaboration & work to strengthen migration governance,” the new IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission said in a tweet.
The UN migration agency is among a few agencies that are providing support to Ethiopia’s ongoing effort to repatriate its citizens stranded in various countries in the Middle East and Africa.
Featured Image Caption: The new IOM Representative, Abibatou Wane-fall presented her copy of credentials to Demeke Atnafu, Director of Protocol Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign affairs on Tuesday [Photo MoFA]