- ''በአዲስ አበባ የሚገኘው የግሪክ ኮሚኒቲ ከመንግስት ጋር የገባውን ችግር በተመለከተ ጉዳዩ በፖለቲካና ዲፕሎማሲያዎ ደረጃ የሚፈታ ነው '' ክብርት አምባሳደር ዴሚቱ ሃሚሳ
በውይይቱ ላይ አምባሳደር ዴሚቱ በሰጡት ምላሽ :
MEETING OF THE ASSOCIATION OF GREEKS OF ETHIOPIA (A.G.E.) WITH THE ETHIOPIAN AMBASSADOR
On Thursday, August 24th, at the MELIA Hotel in Athens, a delegation of the Board of Directors of A.G.E., consisting of the 2nd Vice President Mr. Georgios Michaelides, the Treasurer Mr. Theodoros Panas and the member of the Board of Directors Mr. Dimitrios Stragalis, together with the President of the Greek Community Association of Addis Ababa Mr. Odysseas Parris, had a meeting with the Ambassador of Ethiopia to Italy who is accredited in Greece Mrs. Demitu Hambisa Bonsa, who was accompanied by the Second Secretary of the Embassy Mr. Addisu Melkamu Kebede.
The 2nd Vice President, referred to the intervention of the A.G.E. to the Municipality of Athens when rumors circulated about renaming of the historic Abyssinia Square in Monastiraki and the assurance of the Mayor of Athens Mr. Kostas Bakoyannis that there is no such intention. The Mayor supported the proposal of A.G.E. for the placement of a memorial monument and signage.
The 2nd Vice President noted the positive response of the Ethiopian Community living in Greece to the initiative to create this monument that will mark the long-standing relations between the two peoples. He said that the cost will be covered by sponsorships and actions of members and friends of S.E.A and Ethiopian Communities living in Greece and other countries abroad. He stressed that if the amount raised exceeds the cost of the monument, the remaining amount will be allocated to the BORENA area for the creation of a drinking water well, according to the wish of the Ethiopian Community in Greece.
The September 30, 2023 event at Abyssinia Square will mark the beginning of the celebrations for a century of the renaming of the Square by decision of the Municipality of Athens in 1924 to Abyssinia Square after the significant donation given by Ethiopia to the Greek refugees of the Asia Minor Catastrophe, and the over a century establishment of diplomatic relations.
The President of the Greek Community Association of Addis Ababa, reported on actions and claims of the Ethiopian Ministry of Education, which attempted to convert the English section of the Greek Community Schools owned by the Greek Community Association of AA, into a Charitable Endowment. A form that means the transfer of ownership of the school buildings through the Endowment to the Ethiopian State and dispossession of the Community's property. For the operation of the English section, the Greek Community Association of AA has established a new organization provided by the legislation for establishing an INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL from the 2023-24 school year and requested permission, which was not granted. He stressed that we are not a Community that wants to run to court but a Community that operates respecting Ethiopian laws.
He referred to the fact of the appointment of an Interim Administration by designs of the Ministry of Education, without any discussions or consultations, for the management of the English section of the school. The Interim Administration has exceeded its mandate by prohibiting the Board members of the Community to have access to the premises of the Community, issuing orders for the removal of residents from the houses that the community had provided them, etc. Still in excess of its authority, it is involved in purely community matters such as its social policy on indigent people, the management of the Greek St. Frumentius Church, the Cemetery, etc. Lastly they interfere in the Greek Section of the Schools that operate under the Greek Ministry of Education.
He pointed out that in May, the country's auditing mechanisms have taken the accounting documents of the Community for audit. No findings have been announced and the Bank accounts of both the Community and the personal accounts of the members of the Board of Directors of the Community have been frozen, despite the fact that the current Board, it is only one year in office, and since the beginning it met with this situation of interference.
He informed the Ambassador that the ownership of the Community Schools is not the same as the other schools where land was allocated for building. The Greek Community Schools were built on land which was purchased by the Greek community from the donations and sponsorships of its members.
The 2nd Vice President pointed that the Greek Community Association of AA has the full support of A.G.E., since A.G.E. represents the vast majority of the Community members living in Ethiopia at the time of the great exodus, who created and sustained the Community property, and that were forced to leave by the Derg Regime in 1975-76.
The Treasurer, Mr. Panas Theodoros, informed about the Marathon Road Museum and the request of the Municipality of Marathon to enrich the museum with exhibits from Ethiopian marathon runners. He also mentioned the cooperation of the A.G.E. with the "Pelargos" Association, which are families who have adopted children from Ethiopia, to teach Ethiopian culture to these children. From the bilingual books of "Pelargos” a part goes to support the literacy of young people in Ethiopia.
The Ambassador's statement was:
The long-standing relations between the two peoples have been strong and we must continue to deepen them. Relations that go back for hundreds of years.
The issue of the School will be resolved at the political and diplomatic level and she stressed that it is not the intention of the Ethiopian Government to take over the Community property. She regretted the turn the matter had taken.
On the issue of the monument in Abyssinia Square, she said that it is a very important initiative because that will show to future generations the relations between the two peoples. The initiative should be raised to a higher level, with the participation of the Ethiopian Ministry of Tourism and Culture, and when the unveiling ceremony is held, the two Prime Ministers should be invited to be present. She said that they have a wish that the monument should be jointly designed and reflect the long-standing relationship between the two peoples and asked to see the proposal of A.G.E.
She pointed out that they are planning some event for Abebe Bikila in Athens in October, of which they will inform A.G.E. in due time.
Regarding the marathon road museum, the Embassy's Second Secretary said that he would support the effort and took the initiative to find exhibits.
On the part of A.G.E. thanks were expressed for the time the Ambassador took to inform the Association and invited her on her next visit to be received at the A.G.E. offices for a briefing and then to have a dinner.
The whole discussion took place in an extremely friendly and family-like environment and all agreed to continue the constructive channel of communication that has started.
On August 25, a meeting took place between the President of A.G.E. Dr. Alexandros Grous, who came urgently and met with the Ambassador of Ethiopia.