New Ethiopian consulate in St. Paul seeks to build trust

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, April 24, 2019

ST. PAUL — From third-floor offices at the Court International Building along University Avenue in St. Paul, Ewnetu Bilata Debela helps serve “Ethiopians in diaspora” — families displaced by decades of border wars and government crack-downs on political dissidents, including many young people.

Debela assumed the position of consul general of the Federal and Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Minnesota and the Midwest last month.

Ethiopia is now the only African nation represented in Minnesota by a fully-functioning career consulate with full diplomatic powers, as opposed to an honorary consulate. The only other Ethiopian consulates and embassies in the U.S. are located in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and New York City.

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Debela, who was once chief of staff to former Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, spent nearly two years under his country’s old and new governments representing Ethiopia in Brussels.