MELDUNGEN VOM JULI 2018
Politics, Justice, Human Rights
28.07.2018 PM Abiy, IMF Managing Director Discuss Issues of Common Interest. ENA
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed discussed with IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde in Washington on issues of common interest. In her statement at the conclusion of the meeting, the Managing Director expressed delight to meet with the Prime Minister. “I was very pleased to welcome Prime Minister Abiy to the IMF today. We had an engaging and productive meeting,” she said. The Managing Director congratulated PM Abiy for the reform he brought in various areas including the rapprochement with Eritrea and other issues. “I congratulated the Prime Minister on the Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship recently signed with Eritrea, which will have a positive impact on the stability of the region. I also commended him for his recent policy announcements and his ambitious economic reform agenda”. The Managing Director has also reiterated IMF’s commitment to support Ethiopia. “I reiterated the IMF’s commitment to work with the Ethiopian authorities to ensure that the economy achieves high rates of sustainable and inclusive growth to reduce poverty.”
Prime Minister Abiy is in the U.S. with the aim of discussing with the Ethiopians in the Diaspora on issues of national importance in order to enhance their contribution to the development of the country.
28.07.2018 Mike Pence Lauds “Historic Reform Efforts” Undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy. ENA
United States Vice President Mike Pence applauded today “the historic reform efforts” undertaken by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed since he assumed power in April. Mike Pence posted on his twitter page that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has brought notable reforms, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea. The two leaders met and discuss bilateral and regional issues of mutual interest yesterday. Following the discussion, Pence wrote: “Honored to meet with Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia at the White House. I applaud his historic reform efforts, including improving respect for human rights, reforming the business environment, and making peace with Eritrea.”
The White House said in a statement issued today that “the two leaders underscored their countries’ shared values and their commitment to building an even stronger partnership in the days ahead.” Under Abiy’s leadership, Ethiopia has instituted reforms including releasing political prisoners, diluting state control of the economy and making peace with northern neighbor Eritrea after two decades of hostility.
Prime Minister Abiy was also scheduled to meet with members of Ethiopia’s large Diaspora community in the United States, whose remittances have helped prop up the economy.
27.07.2018 EU Committed to Support the Reform in Ethiopia: EU Delegation Head. ENA
The European Union (EU) is committed to support the “bold initiatives” of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to reform the country. In an exclusive interview with ENA, European Union Delegation Head to Ethiopia, Ambassador Johan Borgstam said Prime Minister Abiy has been taking many people by surprise in the speed of change and also in the number of initiatives he has taken since assuming office. Ambassador Borgstam added, “I see it is important role for me and for my colleagues and EU members to engage actively with the Ethiopian government to see how we can support these initiatives.” The support the union is stronger “than ever”, according to the head.
EU state members are working together to support Ethiopia in areas of democratization and human rights for long time, he noted. “Now the prime minister shows very clear commitment on these issues,” Borgstam said, adding “this is also very important for EU to see how we can best support these initiatives because a very bold step has been taken by the Prime Minister.”
Furthermore, the Ambassador stated that EU looks forward to working with Ethiopian partners, hear from them directly whether they are in government and outside the government, what they think about the initiatives of the government, and how best to transform the bold initiatives into reality. According to him, what Prime Minister Abiy has done is incredibly bold and it is very important example for not just the region and Africa, but also to the entire world.
Speaking about the ongoing peace process between Ethiopia and Eritrea, he said if such a long time conflict as one between Ethiopia and Eritrea can be resolved in such a short period, it inspires people all over the world. “I think the outside world should support this agreement,” the head said, “EU always looks, and I know that Prime Minister Abiy also feels in the same way, it’s extremely positive there are possibilities in deepening regional and economic integration.”
On the issue of opening political space in the country, Ambassador Borgstam stated that it is a tremendously important signal that the premier takes very bold steps; and it is a very clear break from the past Ethiopia. “… I think it is an important step for reconciliation in Ethiopia between different groups and different parties,” he added.
EU is the key partner of Ethiopia in areas as diverse as development cooperation, trade and economic development, consolidation of democratic institutions, regional peace and security and migration.
26.07.2018 Ethiopian Nile dam manager found shot dead, crowds call for justice. Aaron Maasho, Reuters
The project manager of a $4 billion (3.05 billion pounds) Ethiopian dam was found shot dead in his vehicle in Addis Ababa on Thursday, police said, prompting scores of people to take to the streets in the capital and his home city calling for justice. People in the crowds said they believed Simegnew Bekele had been murdered, though there was no immediate confirmation from the authorities, or details of any motive.
“We have confirmed that engineer Simegnew Bekele was shot dead ... He had a bullet wound behind his right ear,” the head of Ethiopia’s Federal Police Commission, Zeinu Jemal, told reporters. Zeinu said a Colt pistol was found in the vehicle in the city’s Meskel Square - a massive road junction and open space usually packed with vehicles and pedestrians during daylight hours. Ethiopia’s new Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed was “saddened and utterly shocked” by the death, his chief of staff said in tweet.
Simegnew was the public face of the Grand Renaissance Dam project on the River Nile - the centrepiece of Ethiopia’s bid to become Africa’s biggest power exporter. Ethiopia has been pushing on with the project in the face of opposition from Egypt which fears it will affect the flow of the Nile, its main source of water. In June, the leaders of Ethiopia and Egypt vowed to iron out their differences peacefully.
Crowds in Addis Ababa marched to the state television station’s headquarters chanting “No to killings” and “Justice for Simegnew”. Hundreds also packed the streets of his birthplace, the northern city of Gondar. “Amongst our requests is the repatriation of his body back to his own city,” said one protester, who only gave his name as Geremew. A Reuters photographer saw blood stains along an arm rest inside his vehicle - a gold Toyota Land Cruiser - before an ambulance took away the body.
The dam is currently only half complete, but the government says it is designed to churn out 6,000 megawatts (MW) of power on completion.
24.07.2018 Ethiopian Prime Minister to Push for Multiparty Democracy. Ezega.com
Ethiopian Prime Minister's office disclosed that the Prime Minister will encourage and pursue a multi-party system. According to Fitsum Arega, the Prime Minister's chief of staff, Ethiopia must pursue multiparty democracy, according to Reuters.
Ethiopia has been ruled by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), a coalition made up of four regional parties, for more than a quarter of a century. The country allows for mult-party system, but in name only, as all parliamentary seats are currently held by the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front, which has maintained tight control in the country of 100 million people since it came to power in 1991. Abiy Ahmed became prime minister in April and is currently the leader of one of the four regional parties, the OPDO.
Abiy was meeting national and regional parties on Sunday and his chief of staff, Fitsum Arega, said in a tweet: “PM Abiy concluded: Given our current politics, there is no option except pursuing a multiparty democracy supported by strong institutions that respect human rights and rule of law.” He said the parties appreciated Abiy’s political reforms and also wanted changes to electoral laws.
24.07.2018 Million Mathewos sworn in to lead Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR). borkena.com
The 7th regular congress of Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s Region (SNNPR) appointed Million Mathewos head of the regional state, reported today Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. He is replacing Dessie Dalke, who was removed as deputy chairman of the party several weeks ago. Apparently, he was implicated in the violence involving ethnic Sidamas and ethnic Wolayta’s in the region which left dozens of civilians dead and hundreds wounded. Thousands of people were also displaced as a result of the violence. The ethnic-violence believed to be orchestrated by emblems who are discontented with the ongoing change has served as, it seems, as a catalyst for a major shakeup in the leadership.
Several weeks ago Million was elected as deputy chairman of Southern Ethiopian People’s Democratic Movement (SEPDM) when Siraj Fergessa was ‘resigned’ from the position. Last month, the party elected Muferiat Kemil, who has been serving as speaker of house of representative since April of this year following removal of Abadula from the post, as chairman of the party replacing Shiferaw Shigute who admitted that he has some responsibility for the violence that happened in the region. The 7th regular congress also approved other appointments to fill in vacant positions, added a report by EBC. Consequently, Elias Shikur is appointed as deputy head of the region and public service and human resources head while Wondimu Gebre is appointed as head of security and administration head.
The region has also approved 37. 9 billion birr budget (capital and operating) for 2011 Ethiopian fiscal year. It is to be financed by revenue collected from the region and federal government subsidy.
20.07.2018 Ethiopian Legislative, Executive Bodies Sign Agreement to Ensure Transparency. Ezega.com
Ethiopia’s legislative and executive bodies on Friday signed an agreement which will require them to perform tasks in accordance with agreed plans and finances allotted to them in a given fiscal year. The contracts were made in the presence of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in a bid to ensure transparency over the performances of public enterprises and government offices vis a vis set targets for each year. Dr. Abiy Ahmed said the move serves as “check and balance” and those parliamentarians and heads of government offices with poor performances will not be tolerated.
In a live interview with the state run EBC, Shitaye Minale, Deputy Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives said the historic agreement would be made between the standing committees of the parliament and their corresponding government offices to which they are accountable to. “The agreement would enable the legislative to follow up accomplishments of the government offices in attaining yearly plans and the Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP) of the country.” she said. The deputy speaker added all segments of the society will get access to the plans and evaluate their level of corresponding achievements of the offices through various social media platforms. Unlike the past, MPs would gather first hand information from the public including from farmers in remote areas through a new mobile application to be launched shortly, she said
Meanwhile, the Ethiopian parliament the same day approved an amnesty law that would grant official pardon for individuals and groups either under investigation or convicted on treason, crime against the constitutional order and armed struggle.
20.07.2018 Stern accountability regime in the rise in Ethiopia. borkena.com
The public service might no more be a place for red tapes and corruption as accountability regime seeks revolutionizing service delivery.
Prime minister Abiy Ahmed could not emphasize enough about accountability and a system where a corrupt way of doing things is despised and hated, as he has expressed it on numerous occasions. And he seems to be walking the talks. He initiated an “agreement” between all the ministries – and parliamentary standing committees- the House of people’s representative in what seems to be an effort to promote accountability and transparency which is signed today, indicates a report by state media – Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation. Before the “agreement” between the executives and lawmaking arms of the government, the prime minister had a “discussion” – which rather tend to be an orientation class in how to do things – with all ministers on the same theme.
As per what state media referred to as “agreement”, government ministries and standing committees are to carry out their respective program and service deliveries on the basis of an annual work plan and the House of People’s Representative is to evaluate the performance to ensure accountability. The prime minister also wants government ministries to carry out their function in utmost transparency.
The intention of what rather looks like public service reform seems to have multiples of goals to achieve. Promoting work ethic, fighting corruption, efficient service delivery and completion of projects within the planned timeframe and under budget. If the accountability regime that the prime minister turns out to be a success, the public service that used to be a mess in terms of corruption and efficiency could transform to one that would rather be a remarkable example in the entire continent of Africa.
In fact, Oromo region of Ethiopia – a region governed by OPDO whose chairman is Prime minister Abiy Ahmed – is reportedly reconfiguring public service delivery from local to regional level
20.7.2018 United States and Ethiopia Agree to Advance Human Rights, Democracy, and Governance in 8th Bilateral Dialogue. U.S. Embassy Ethiopia, ECADForum
The United States and Ethiopia held their 8th Bilateral Dialogue on Human Rights, Democracy, and Governance at the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs on July 19, 2018 to discuss ways that the countries can partner to advance the democratic reform process in Ethiopia.
During the discussion, both sides highlighted the importance of supporting the democratic reform efforts initiated by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and his administration. The two countries agreed to pursue strengthened bilateral cooperation in support of those goals in the following ways:
- Support and strengthen the electoral system
- Promote the professional capacity of law enforcement including respect for human rights;
- Further develop and strengthen the judiciary and legal system;
- Strengthen the role and capacity of civil society;
- Widen the space to encourage independent, professional media;
- Improve Ethiopia’s capacity to fight corruption;
- Enhance a system of accountability for human rights abuses.
Representing the Ethiopian government, State Minister Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael said “Ethiopia appreciates U.S. government support in encouraging platforms such as capacity building programs in the areas of justice, human rights, conflict prevention to support good governance and the strengthening of democratic institutions, which are core pillars for inclusive and sustainable development”.
In his opening comments, U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor said “this dialogue comes at an extraordinary and historic moment in Ethiopia, where we see the possibility for one of our most important partners to chart a new course toward a bright future.” He added, “I want to extend to you the firm and sincere commitment of the United States government to support your work to make the ambitious goals we have heard over the last several months a reality. Progress in these areas will not only be good for the people of Ethiopia, and will not only be good for the long-term stability, prosperity, and governance of the country, but will also create new opportunities to deepen and strengthen the U.S.-Ethiopia partnership across the board.”
The United States was also represented by senior officials from the State Department Bureau of Democracy, Rights, and Labor, including Deputy Assistant Secretary Scott Busby, who reinforced the U.S. commitment at the highest levels to supporting Ethiopia’s democratic development: “U.S. officials in Washington are also very excited about the opportunities presented by recent developments in Ethiopia, and will be exploring various ways in which we can help.”
17.07.2018 National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA)to purge employees with political affiliation. borkena.com
National Intelligence and Security Agency (NISA) new director, Adem Mohammed who used to be head of the Ethiopian Air Force, announced today that employees of the agency who happen to have political affiliation to any political parties in the country are either to end their political affiliation or quit as employees of Ethiopia’s intelligence agency.
The decision seems to be informed by experiences that made the entity suffer from public trust in the past on grounds of political affiliation and the need to make it a neutral entity committed to the cause of National security, according to Adem Mohammed who is cited by pro-government media in the country.
The director admitted that capacity building is among the focus areas of the reform to enhance the capability of intelligence officers to effectively deter internal and external danger to Ethiopia. Restructuring the agency is also considered as a means to accomplish the mission in line with the goals of the agency.
Impending changes in the agency are part of prime minister Abiy Ahmed’s reform measure. NISA is also expected to see changes in terms of ethnic diversity as it was believed, in the past, that the agency was dominated by ethnic Tigreans who constitute only about 6 percent of the Ethiopian population.
On June 7,this year, Abiy removed Getachew Assefa, faceless most unpopular figure, who headed the agency for well over two decades. in terms of political affiliation, he was one of the nine executive committee members of Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominated federal government departments including NISA and the ruling coalition for nearly three decades, and is believed to have committed numerous extra-judicial killings and tortures.
17.07.2018 Berhane Gebrekirstos,late Meles Zenawi confidant,to be removed as ambassador to China. borkena.com
Berhane Gebrekirstos, Ethiopian Ambassador to China, is called to Ethiopia. According to Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation, a new ambassador is to be appointed to the post in the near future. However, the source did not spell out why the Ambassador is removed from the post in China where he stayed for more than a year now. The next Ambassador China does not seem to be named so far.
In addition to China, Berhane Gebrekirstos has served as Ethiopia’s Ambassador to the United States and he was known to be the late Meles Zenawi’s confidant.
For many years now, Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) reserved the ambassadorship position in China for TPLF members. Before Berhane Gebrekirstos, Seyom Mesfin, long time foreign Affairs minister and also one of the close confidants of the late Meles Zenawi, held the position for many years. All Ethiopian Ambassadors to China in the last 27 seven years, that is since TPLF came to power, were exclusively from TPLF. China has been the major source of loans to fund infrastructure projects in Ethiopia and many of the projects were contracted out to Chinese companies. China has also billions of dollars of investment in Ethiopia mainly in the manufacturing sector. Ethiopians seem to believe that a huge sum of money amassed through corrupt means is deposited in Chinese banks.
16.07.2018 Warum Eritreas Präsident den Frieden braucht. Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF), Anna Lemmenmeier
Eritrea und Äthiopien beschliessen den Frieden. Dabei war die äussere Bedrohung für Eritreas Präsident Isaias Afewerki ein wirksames innenpolitisches Druckmittel. Jetzt sucht er den Schulterschluss mit dem vormals verhassten Nachbarland. Ein Sicherheitsexperte glaubt, die Gründe dafür zu kennen.
Eritrea gilt als einer der repressivsten Staaten der Welt. Es gibt keine Verfassung, keine freien Medien oder Zivilgesellschaft, Wahlen haben noch nie stattgefunden. Seit der Unabhängigkeit von Äthiopien vor 25 Jahren regiert ein und derselbe Mann: Isaias Afewerki. Und über all die Jahre hatte er ein Feindbild: Nachbar Äthiopien.
Die Kriegsbedrohung durch Äthiopien hat den eritreischen Machthaber dazu veranlasst, alle Eritreerinnen und Eritreer ins Militär einzuziehen und auf unbestimmte Zeit Nationaldienst leisten zu lassen. Bei den Eritreern in der Diaspora werden Steuern eingetrieben, um das kriegsgeplagte Land aufzubauen.
Durch einen möglichen Frieden mit Äthiopien bricht dieses Konstrukt zusammen. Warum also lässt sich der eritreische Machthaber dennoch auf Friedensgespräche ein? Für den äthiopischen Friedens- und Sicherheitsexperten Abebe Aynete versucht Isaias Afewerki so sein politisches Überleben zu sichern: «Dadurch versucht Isaias sich seinem Volk gegenüber zu legitimieren. Wenn er sich als Verteidiger der Nation und als Friedensstifter darstellen kann, dann rettet ihn das vielleicht ein paar Jahre – Isaias ist über 70 Jahre alt. Nur so kann er politisch überleben.»
Denn Afewerki hat ein Problem. Mehr als zehn Prozent der Bevölkerung haben mittlerweile wegen seinem diktatorischen Regierungsstil das Land verlassen. Auch weil die eritreische Wirtschaft praktisch inexistent ist. Unter diesen Umständen weiterhin die teuren Truppen an der Grenze zu finanzieren, sei für den eritreischen Präsidenten zunehmend zum Problem geworden, so Aynete.
«Die Militärausgaben sind hoch. Abgesehen von ein paar Rohstofffirmen, gibt es kein Investment, keine wirtschaftliche Aktivität. Unter diesen Umständen sind die Militärausgaben eine hohe Bürde.»
Veränderungen in Äthiopien spürt auch Eritrea
Und dann kamen die Entwicklungen in Äthiopien. Vor drei Monaten kam dort mit Abiy Ahmed ein neuer Premierminister an die Macht. Das machte einen Dialog für Eritrea erst denkbar, weil Ahmed die alte, vom eritreischen Präsidenten so verhasste, äthiopische Reigerungselite entmachtete. Der Konflikt zwischen Äthiopien und Eritrea fusste auf der Rivalität zwischen dem äthiopischen Ex-Präsidenten Meles Zenawi und Eritreas Isayas Afewerki.
Doch der rasante Reformkurs unter dem neuen Premier Abiy Ahmed in Äthiopien stellte Eritrea vor eine grosse Herausforderung, so Friedensforscher Aynete: «Oppositionsgruppen, welche bis vor kurzem noch als Terroristen bezeichnet wurden in Äthiopien, fanden jahrelang Unterschlupf in Eritrea. Nun gehen sie zurück nach Äthiopien, um Teil der Reformen zu sein, um in Äthiopien die Demokratie voranzutreiben. Aber diese Gruppen wissen alles über das eritreische Regime. Das könnte zum Sicherheitsrisiko werden für Isaias Afewerki.»
Ausserdem befürchte der eritreische Präsident wohl auch, dass seine Bürgerinnen und Bürger von Äthiopien inspiriert werden könnten und ebenfalls auf die Strasse gehen. In Äthiopien scheinen die Volksproteste der letzten drei Jahre nun ja zu einer politischen Öffnung zu führen – das wünschen sich die Eritreer auch.
Und so ist Friedensexperte Abebe Aynete auch der Meinung, dass der Friede mit Äthiopien Isaias Afewerki zu Reformen drängen werde: «Er muss. Sonst wird er politisch nicht überleben. Die eritreische Diaspora wird kein Geld mehr überweisen, wenn kein Krieg mehr herrscht mit Äthiopien. Und diese Leute wollten zurückkehren nach Eritrea.» Wie der eritreische Machthaber Isaias Afewerki den Konflikt mit Äthiopien handhabt, wird also darüber entscheiden wie es mit ihm und Eritrea weitergeht.
16.07.2018 President Isaias concludes official visit to Ethiopia. Eritrean Ministry of Information, Shabait.com
President Isaias Afwerki returned back home concluding three day official visit to Ethiopia at an invitation of Dr. Abiy Ahmed, Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. Upon arrival at the Asmara International Air Port, President Iasaia was accorded warm welcome by Ministers.
During his stay in Ethiopia, President Isaias held extensive discussion with President Dr. Mulatu Toshome and Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed and with other Ethiopian officials on strengthening the prevailing peace and mutual cooperation between the two countries. President Isaias and the Eritrean delegation visited the Hawassa Industrial Park and in the afternoon hours of July 15, various infrastructure facilities in the city of Addis Ababa. It is to be recalled that, upon arrival at the Bole International Airport on 14 July, hundreds of thousands Addis Ababa residents and its environs turned to the streets of the city to greet President Isaias and his delegation.
President Isaias also delivered a speech at the special occasion organized in honor of the peace and friendship agreement reached between the two countries at the Millennium Hall in which more than 25 thousand Ethiopian Government officials, religious leaders, members of the diplomatic corps and Addis Ababa residents took part.
The Eritrean senior delegation included, Mr. Osman Saleh, Foreign Minister, Mr. Yemane Gebreab, Presidential Advisor, Ms. Fozia Hashim, Minister of Justice, Ms. Askalu Menkorios, Minister of Tourism, Maj. Gen. Humed Karikare, Commander of Eritrean Navy, Maj. Gen. Romodan Aweliai, Governor of Central region, Brig. Gen. Abraha Kassa, head of National Security Agency, Dr. Gergis Teklemicael, Minister of National Development, Mr. Tesfaselasie Berhane, Minister of Transportation and Communication, and other officials.
16.07.2018 Speech delivered by President Isaias Afwerki at Millennium hall, in Addis Abeba. Eritrean Ministry of Information, Shabait.com
Distinguished People of Ethiopia, Your Excellency, Dr. Abiy Ahmed Ali
I feel boundless joy as I convey to you the message of peace, love and good wishes of the people of Eritrea. And, I congratulate you warmly for the successful and historic changes that you have brought about. We have triumphed over the toxic schemes of the past years aimed at sowing the seeds of hate, resentment and destruction. These malignant acts are indeed anathema to our cultures as well as to our historical and cohesive interests. We are now jointly embarking - with determination - on the path of development, prosperity and stability in all fields and fronts.
We shall not tolerate any act that is aimed at disrupting and disturbing our love and harmony; assailing and terrorizing our peace and stability; and, impeding and destroying our development and growth. We are fully confident that through our joint endeavours, we will recuperate the losses inculcated in the past to achieve robust feats in the period ahead.
Let me pay tribute again for the victory you have won through vigorous resistance and that has exacted heavy sacrifices. I also wish to express my wholehearted support to Dr. Abiy; and, to his visionary and courageous leadership. I wish him further success.
I thank you
16.07.2018 Neue Freundschaft zwischen Äthiopien und Eritrea: Euphorie reicht nicht. DW
Ausgelassen feiern Äthiopien und Eritrea den Friedensschluss. Diese Woche soll der erste Flug von Äthiopien nach Eritrea starten. Doch für nachhaltigen Frieden sei mehr nötig als Feierstimmung, sagen Experten.
"Nun sind wir, die Äthiopier und die Eritreer, eins. Wir sind nicht mehr zwei verschiedene Völker und wir werden daran arbeiten, das zu nachzuholen, was wir in den letzten Jahren verpasst haben", verkündete Eritreas Präsident Isaias Afwerki am Wochenende vor rund 25.000 Menschen in der äthiopischen Hauptstadt Addis Abeba. Zuvor war der eritreische Staatschef mit wehenden Flaggen am Flughafen in Addis Abeba empfangen worden - zum ersten Mal seit 22 Jahren. Auch Äthiopiens Premierminister Abiy Ahmed zeigte sich emotional: "Äthiopien freut sich sehr darüber, dass wir unsere verschollene Schwester wieder gefunden haben."
Tausende Menschen feierten am Wochenende ausgelassen auf den Straßen der Hauptstadt, äthiopische Popstars sangen über den neu geschlossenen Frieden. "Ich freue mich sehr, dass ich nun endlich wieder Kontakt zu meinen Brüdern und alten Freunden in Eritrea aufnehmen kann", sagte ein sichtlich begeisterter junger Mann der DW. "Nun gibt es kein endlos langes Warten mehr auf Facebook-Nachrichten. Ich werde einfach ins Auto steigen können und meine Freunde persönlich treffen."
Aus Erzfeinden werden Freunde
Dabei wäre noch vor wenigen Monaten an Frieden zwischen den beiden Nachbarländern nicht zu denken gewesen. Eritrea hatte sich 1993 nach einem drei Jahrzehnte langen Bürgerkrieg von Äthiopien abgespalten und für unabhängig erklärt. Von 1998 bis 2000 führten die Staaten einen erbitterten Grenzkrieg, bei dem mehr als 80.000 Menschen getötet wurden. Telefonleitungen wurde gekappt, Grenzübergänge geschlossen und Familien voneinander getrennt. Seitdem herrschte politischer Stillstand zwischen Äthiopien und Eritrea.
Doch dann passierte, was Experten kaum für möglich gehalten hatten: Nach einem wochenlangen Austausch freundschaftlicher Gesten reiste Äthiopiens Ministerpräsident Abiy Ahmed vor knapp einer Woche nach Eritrea. Dort unterzeichneten er und Amtskollege Afwerki einen Friedens- und Freundschaftsvertrag und verkündeten die Wiederaufnahme diplomatischer Beziehungen.
Frischer Wind in Äthiopiens Politik
Für den Äthiopien-Experten Solomon Dersso ist klar, wer für den Wandel am Horn von Afrika verantwortlich ist. "Diesen Friedensprozess müssen wir ganz klar dem Mut und der Hingabe des äthiopischen Premierminister Abiy Ahmed zuschreiben", sagt der Sicherheitsberater. Seit langem gebe es den starken Wunsch nach Frieden und dem Ende der Spaltung der zwei Nationen. "Ohne den Willen beider politischer Parteien, aber auch der Bevölkerung wäre es nicht möglich gewesen", so der Experte.
Seit April ist Premierminister Abiy Ahmed nun im Amt und krempelt Äthiopien in atemberaubendem Tempo um. Seine Vorgänger hatten das Land durch ihren autokratischen Führungsstil zunehmend in eine politische Krise manövriert. Schwere Unruhen, bei denen mehrere tausend Menschen ums Leben kamen, waren die Folge.
Doch während ein Teil des Landes nun den Frieden mit Nachbar Eritrea euphorisch feiert, halten die inneren Konflikte an. Besonders betroffen war zuletzt der Süden Äthiopiens. Angesichts steigender Flüchtlingszahlen warnen Internationale Hilfsorganisationen vor einer humanitären Krise. "Die Unruhen, die immer wieder gestiftet werden, sind nicht hilfreich für den Reformations- Friedensprozess in dem wir uns gerade befinden", so Premierminister Abiy Ahmed bei der Verabschiedung seines eritreischen Amtskollegen am Montagmorgen.
Neue Chancen auf beiden Seiten
Und auch auf bilateraler Ebene würden Feierstimmung und Freude nicht ausreichen, um langfristig Frieden zu gewähren, meint Sicherheitsexperte Solomon Dersso. Doch grade diesen Frieden bräuchten beide Staaten, um ihre wirtschaftliche Entwicklung voranzutreiben. "Wichtig ist nun, wie sie das in Asmara unterschriebene Abkommen umsetzen. Vor allem in Hinblick auf die Grenzfragen, aber auch die wirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen den Ländern", so Dersso weiter.
Denn durch die neuen freundschaftlichen Beziehungen könnten beide Seiten auch wirtschaftlich profitieren: Nicht nur werde Äthiopien besseren Zugang zum Roten Meer haben, auch Eritreas wirtschaftliche Chancen hätten sich verbessert, sagt Experte Dersso. So hat der UN-Vorsitzende Antonio Guterres bereits angekündigt, dass UN-Sanktionen gegen Eritrea möglicherweise aufgehoben werden könnten. Eritrea gilt als eines der repressivsten und isoliertesten Länder der Welt.
Das neue Friedensabkommen sei ein Stabilisator für die ganze Region, sagt auch Christoph Kannengießer, Geschäftsführer des Afrika-Vereins der deutschen Wirtschaft im DW-Interview. "Ich glaube, dass in Äthiopien jetzt schon die Weichen für eine stärkere Liberalisierung und eine stärkere Öffnung der Wirtschaft nach außen und somit auch für mehr Chancen für privates unternehmerisches Engagement gestellt sind." Ob dies auch bald in Eritrea möglich sei, müsse man prüfen, sagt Kannengießer. "Aber alles in allem ergeben sich natürlich schon Chancen: Für mehr Mobilität, für Verkehr und damit für Handel und Investition, auch unter Beteiligung internationale Wirtschaftsakteure." Dazu gehöre auch Deutschland.
Mitarbeit: Yohanes G. Egiziabher und Azeb Tadesse Hahn
16.07.2018 Oromia and Ethiopian Somali agree for deployment of federal military forces along border. Fana Broadcasting
Chief Administrators of the Oromia and Ethiopian Somali regional states have agreed for the immediate deployment of federal military forces along the border between the two states. In his press briefing today, Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed ordered federal defense force and federal police to discharge their responsibilities in mitigating the loss of lives at the border between the two regions. ollowing the Premier’s order, Chief Administrator of Oromia regional state, Lema Megerssa and Chief Administrator of Ethiopian Somali regional state held talks today. After the talks, they agreed for the deployment of federal defense and police forces to stabilize the area, said Ahmed Shide, Minister of Government Communication Affairs Office.
Chief Administrator of both regional states also pledged to team up efforts with the federal forces and do their parts for the success of the peace stabilization efforts, Ahmed said in a statement sent to FBC today. They also decided to organize series of public conferences to find lasting solution and strengthen people-to-people relations between residents of the two regional states.
15.07.2018 Ethiopian Army Awaiting Instructions to Withdraw Troops. Tesfanews
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said he would take action against those who may seek to block a peace declaration with Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki, as Ethiopia’s army awaits instructions on troop withdrawals from border areas.
Isaias said both nations would work together to safeguard the newfound peace that’s ended nearly two decades of frosty relations between the neighboring nations, state-run Ethiopian News Agency reported Sunday, citing speeches the night before. “For the sake of our culture and our historic benefit, we forsake the hatred and revenge of the past and we have decided to go forward for our mutual development and for mutual benefit,” Isaias said in a speech Sunday. “We will not allow anyone who tries to break our relationship, our development and our growth, and anyone who tries to create conflict between us.”
The Eritrean leader flew into the airport in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for a three-day visit on Saturday morning to a brass band and a red carpet welcome. He then joined a motorcade escorted by traditional horsemen and cruised to the national palace as thousands cheered waving Ethiopian and Eritrean flags. His visit mirrors Abiy’s groundbreaking trip to Eritrea last weekend. The two countries — at odds since a 1998-2000 border war that claimed as many as 100,000 lives — sealed a swathe of agreements, restoring diplomatic relations, flights and telecommunications, as well as allowing Ethiopia’s use of Red Sea ports.
The Ethiopian army pledged to move its troops stationed at areas bordering Eritrea, the Deputy Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Berhanu Jula said. Berhanu attended June 26 peace talks with an Eritrean delegation that flew into Addis Ababa for the first round of peace talks. “Moving military forces stationed in border areas in the Ethiopian regions of Afar and Tigray is not the decision of the military, but the government,” said Berhanu, who heads military operations. “If the government communicated with the Eritrean government and decided to remove the army from the border area, the army will remove them,” according to the state-owned newspaper Addis Zemen.
15.07.2018 At concert, Ethiopia, Eritrea leaders preach peace, love, unity. Aaron Maasho, Reuters
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki preached love and unity on Sunday at a concert attended by thousands of flag-waving guests, part of a rapprochement between the two nations after years of hostility. Isaias arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday for a three-day visit, a week after Abiy visited Eritrea. The Horn of Africa neighbors declared on Monday that their “state of war” over after two decades.
As they entered the entered the Millennium Hall on Sunday evening, Abiy and Isaias held hands and waved at the crowd, prompting loud cheers. Musicians performed under giant portraits of the two men.
“We have chosen to tread a path and work together for development, prosperity and peace, having overcome a conspiracy of hatred, revenge and destruction,” Isaias told the audience, which included Ethiopian celebrities.
Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence, but the two went to war in 1998 over a border dispute. Though a peace deal was signed two years later, Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks. Reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea could change the politics and security situation of the volatile Horn of Africa region, which hundreds of thousands of young people have fled seeking safety and opportunities in Europe.
Last week, government spokesman Ahmed Shide said landlocked Ethiopia wants to make the reopening of two critical roads leading to the Red Sea ports of Assab in Eritrea’s south and Massawa in the north a priority. Both countries are hoping for a lucrative peace dividend after years of hostility.
“Forgiveness frees the consciousness. When we say we have reconciled, we mean we have chosen a path of forgiveness and love,” Abiy told concertgoers. “When I spoke with Isaias, I told him that there may not be enough hotels as Ethiopians visit Massawa and Asmara. He said he would leave his house for them and stay in balconies.” Abiy and Isaias hugged. An emotional Isaias had both his hands rested on his heart as he waved the guests goodbye.
Earlier on Sunday in the southern town of Hawassa, Abiy hosted Isaias over a ‘cheko’ and ‘genfo’ breakfast — traditional cuisine of the Oromo ethnic group that Abiy hails from. He was also handed a horse and a camel as gifts — national symbols in the two countries. Isaias had toured an industry park in the town that exports clothing and bags on Saturday.
In concrete signs of rapprochement, the two countries have agreed to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights. Eritrea will reopen its embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time since 1998.
15.07.2018 Premier Abiy Issues Warning to Turmoil Instigators. ENA
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed issued a firm warning to elements whom they opted destruction over accepting the call for peace and togetherness. In a reception program for Eritrean President Issayas Afewerki in Hawassa yesterday, Abiy said “Our door is open for togetherness and the country is sufficient for all Ethiopians.” According to him, there is still some destruction and loss of lives in some parts of the country. “This is the last call from us to those parties to stop disrupting the ongoing changes in the country”, the Premier underlined. Prime Minister Abiy urged turmoil instigators to learn the value of peace and love before measures taken against their offense. Abiy stressed that “Since we are human beings and if things continue likewise, we are forced to take legitimate measures against those parties.”
The country has been witnessed various reforms and changes since Abiy assumed as the new Prime Minister of Ethiopia in April, following the resignation of Hailemariam Desalegn. Among other changes to be achieved in the country, Abiy was also pledged to end border stalemate between Ethiopia and neighboring Eritrea at his inaugural ceremony.
Now, President Issaias Afewerki is in Ethiopia for two-day official visit. The visit comes after Abiy made a historic visit to Eritrea last week, setting off the restoration of diplomatic ties. In Asmara, the two countries have agreed to end hostilities, re-establish diplomatic ties and reinforce economic ties. The visit is expected to add momentum to the process started to normalize the relationship between the two countries.
15.07.2018 Ethiopia, Eritrea Would Work in partnership for Mutual Benefits of their People: President Isaias. ENA
Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki said the governments and people of Ethiopia and Eritrea will work together in partnership for the development of the peoples of both countries. President Isaias, who visited Hawassa, capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples region as part of his official state visit, said that “Ethiopians and Eritreans are one people living in two countries.” Thus, Isaias called on peoples of both countries to work in collaboration to ensure peace and tranquility and realizing prosperity as well.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed emphasized on the cessation of war between the two countries and work hand in hand. President Isaias Afewerki has made his first visit to Ethiopia in more than two decades after the two countries agreed to end long-running border standoff flowing the visit of Premier Abiy Ahmed to Asmara last week. Upon his arrival in President Isaias has received a warm welcome by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy and hundreds of thousands residents of Addis Ababa.
President Isayas esteemed the warm welcome he was given by Ethiopians describing it as “happiness difficult to describe.” “The world has to notice that history is in the making between our two countries and peoples,” he added. President Isaias has arrived in Addis Ababa on Saturday for a two-day state visit.
14.07.2017 Auszüge aus einem Interview mit dem neuen Oberbefehlshaber: „Aufgabe des Militärs ist es, die Verfassung zu schützen“
General Berhanu Jula, frisch ernannter Kommandeur der Military Operations Division der äthiopischen nationalen Streitkräfte (ENDF), hob in einem Interview mit Addis Zemen die Bedeutung der äthiopischen ‘Verfassung hervor und kritisierte die mangelnde Verfassungstreue einiger Politiker als Ursache der aktuellen Krise der EPRDF.
"The constitution vows to protect Ethiopia, not a certain party... the army has no illusion in its belief on the necessity of the presence of multi party system & political transition through election. The question is if the political leadership was committed to that." Gen Berhanu said. In what could be a direct rebuttal to political parties that have been engaged in armed struggle, such as the OLF, Gen Berhanu said it was morally unacceptable to take advantage of the #Oromo people's struggle for freedom and to try to become the "owner of the struggle." . Defending PM #AbiyAhmed's shake up within the army leadership, Gen Berhanu also said the ethnic composition of the Army at the lower level shows no bias in its representation of #Ethiopia's multi-ethnic society but despite talks, the top leadership of the army lacked diversity. https://twitter.com/addisstandard/status/1017293412511383552
In dem Amharisch geführten Interview (http://www.ethpress.gov.et/addiszemen/index.php/technology/item/18434-2018-07-12-16-59-24), wurden dem General ca. 20 Fragen gestellt. Eines unserer äthiopischen Mitglieder hat einige Schlüsselstellen übersetzt bzw. zusammengefasst:
Frage: In politisch unruhigen Ländern nutzt oft das Militär die Gelegenheit zur Machtergreifung: Warum ist das in Äthiopien nicht passiert?
General Berhanu: Die äthiopische Verfassung kann nicht außer Kraft gesetzt werden, es sei denn auf dem verfassungsgemäßen Weg. Weder EPRDF noch eine andere Partei kann die Verfassung außer Kraft setzen. Wenn sie geändert werden muss, dann kann eine verfassungsgemäß gewählte Partei unter Mitwirken der Bevölkerung das tun. Aufgabe des Militärs ist es, die Verfassung zu schützen; deshalb kann ein adäquat organisiertes Militär die Macht an sich nicht reißen; das wäre doch unsittlich. Es gibt Grundsätze, die in der Verfassung verankert sind und die respektiert werden müssen. Das Militär ist da, um das Land und sein Volk zu schützen und wird sich nicht in politische Angelegenheiten einmischen. Das Militär hat keine Legitimation, die Macht zu übernehmen.
Eine Machtübernahme durch das Militär wäre sehr gefährlich. Ein Coup d'Etat ist nach den Prinzipien des Militärs undenkbar; dies ist sehr deutlich (in der Verfassung) verankert. Eine Macht, die das nicht beachtet, wird selbst ein Opfer werden. Nach dem, wofür das Militär aufgebaut wurde, ist ein Putsch undenkbar!
Die nächsten Fragen betrafen die Rolle des Militärs während des Volksaufstands und die unverhältnismäßig eingesetzte Militärgewalt gegen die Demonstranten.
Hier gab der General sehr diplomatische Antworten. Es seien einige Fehler gemacht worden, die man nur situationsbedingt vor Ort erklären könne. Die Details seien nur denjenigen bekannt, die vor Ort konfrontiert waren. In derartigen Situationen sei es schwierig, alle Akteure genau zu kontrollieren; das Militär aber zieht für sich daraus Prinzipien, "Rules of Engagement", für den Fall von Konfrontationen.
Wichtige Frage war auch, ob das Militär die Bevölkerung im Grenzgebiet zu Sudan in deren Konflikt mit den Sudanesen unterstützt hätte.
Der General sagte, das Militär versuche, diese Angelegenheit möglichst den politisch Verantwortlichen zu überlassen. Es habe Fälle gegeben, wo einige äthiopische Soldanten in eigener Initiative am Kampf äthiopischer Bauern teilgenommen hätten, aber weitestgehend würden politische Lösungen gesucht. Das sei Aufgabe der Politiker auf beiden Seiten.
14.07.2018 Synergy 101. The Reporter
It has been more than three months since Prime Minster Abiy Ahmed (PhD) was sworn into the highest public office in Ethiopia. Over the course of the last three months a lot has happened, which is shaping the political discourse of today’s Ethiopia; as the saying goes there are decades where nothing happens and there are weeks where decades happen, writes Dawit Endeshaw.
Unlike the usual political culture of the ruling party, Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), where individual leaders within the party have little chance of prevailing over the EPRDF itself, this time around, the iceberg of such a dogmatic culture has been broken. Nowadays, it is visible that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD), the chairman of EPRDF, has indeed prevailed over the statue of its own party. And that was what was going on this week – a rare practice for Ethiopian media houses (both state and private-owned) to talk about the first hundred days of Abiy’s premiership. The paradox here is that similar practices are in fact experienced in a presidential system of government where individuals are more important.
Abiy Ahmed’s election as a chairman of the EPRDF came against all odds. At least till the last minutes of the election no one was sure about it. All the estimations and the rational guess were also not in favor of him. The very secretive nature of election process has in fact helped people to give their own rational guesstimates. However, by the time – and off course given the political orientations – member political parties within EPRDF, till the 11th hour were favoring Demeke Mekonen, the current deputy chairman of EPRDF the fill the position that was left vacant after the resignation of Hailemariam Dessalegn. However, be it a last minute individual political decision or the alleged alliance among some of member parties or grouping within EPRDF, the election result finally gave rise to the young and charismatic Abiy Ahmed who became the third chairman of the EPRDF.
His election on March 27, 2018 has actually come following a three years political turbulence and conflict which shook the country to its core. The ruling party, for the first time in its history, saw the resignation of its second chairman Hailemariam Dessalegn. As of February 15, 2018 Hailemariam resigned from his post both as chairman of the front as well as the premiership.
On April 2, 2018, on a very ceremonial process, Abiy Ahmed, 42, was sworn in as the country’s Prime Minister in front of the Ethiopian parliament. On the same day, during his speech, Abiy announced that he has come up with a new narrative and approaches. His speech, which was in contradiction with the EPRDF’s culture, was said to be more liberal.
Following this, “the restless leader” as some on social media referred to him began his first weeks in office traveling across the country. He made a number of public address, lectures as well as speeches.
He first went to Jigjiga, the capital city of the Ethio-Somali Regional State. Accompanied by Lemma Megersa, president of Oromia Regional State and other federal officials he urged Lemma, Abdi Muhammed of Ethio- Somali region to resolve their differences. During his trip to Jigjiga, he stressed that the conflict between the Ethio-Somalis and Oromos should not have happened and it shall not happen again.
Abiy since then has toured across all major cities and towns across the country, except Dire Dawa and Harar. During those tours, he spoke about unity, and tried to calm the trending ethnocentric thoughts with nationalistic rhetoric. Moreover, in Addis Ababa, he spoke to different stakeholders’ including members of the business community. Particularly, during his two and a half hour meeting with the business community he focused on different issues concerning businesses in the country.
“We are a developmental state and what makes a developmental state different from other forms of government is the selection of its soldiers. It is impossible to bring about a sustainable victory with borrowed soldiers,” Abiy said, emphasizing on the role of domestic investors. “We know that we won’t go anywhere if we don’t train and use you for the goals we target; what you need to do is identify yourselves either as borrowed soldiers or our own soldiers.”
This greater emphasis on the role of local investors was followed by another milestone decision which somehow left the investors in awe and confusion. Just one month ago, the EPRDF Executive Committee decided to privatize some of the key state-owned enterprises (SoEs) in Ethiopia which some commentators argue contradicts the current ideological as well as policy practice of the ruling party. The ruling party is known for advocating strong state involvement in the economic spheres in line with the teachings of the developmental state theory. However, the decision which was said to be passed unanimously by the 36-member EPRDF Executive Committee addressed a range of bold economic reforms considered to be outside of the realm of the developmental state model.
In this respect, the party decided to transfers government-owned stakes at key SoEs including Ethio Telecom, Ethiopian Airlines, Ethiopian Shipping and Logistics Service Enterprise as well as some of the hydroelectric power plants. The government, however, will remain a majority shareholder in the aforementioned enterprises.
Later, the PM affirmed his party decision in front of members of parliament (MPs). However, there is still confusion whether the government is planning just to transfer shares of SoEs such as Ethio Telecom or to liberalize the whole sector. Some feel that this attempt might push local investors aside while prioritizing foreign investors. Later, the PM tried to ease the concerns by saying that local investors will also be allowed to buy stakes at SoEs, including Ethio Telecom.
Aside from domestic affairs, diplomacy has been one major area of focus for the PM. In fact, Abiy has traveled to almost all neighboring countries of in the Horn of Africa region and beyond. Particularly, during his tour to Egypt, Sudan, Kenya, and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the PM and his delegation convince the respective governments to release Ethiopian prisoners who have been behind bars for years.
Moreover, in his tour to Djibouti and Sudan, Abiy made a deal to acquire stakes at port facilities there and made commitments to invest. In his Kenya tour, the PM also made the same deal which will facilitate the acquisition of land at Lamu Port for Ethiopia to develop. Yet again, the PM won over the hearts of the Emiratis in getting three billion dollars support where two billion dollars will be invested by the United Arab Emirates and the rest was given to solve the recurrent foreign currency shortage in the country. In fact, the Emiratis are said to have played a major role in the new peace deal between old foes Ethiopia and Eritrea, though the later two have said there was no third party involvement.
Foreign Minister, Workneh Gebeyehu, in a press briefing told local media outlets that there was no third party involved. “It was all done by the two countries,” he said. This week, as of July 11, 2018 Khaleej Times, a daily English language newspaper published in United Arab Emirates said the UAE will play a major role in a rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Quoting Workneh, it was stated in the news that UAE, particularly Shaikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan has played a role. “The historic accord between his country and Eritrea was a result of the extensive efforts made by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan and thanked him for the seminal role he played in the diplomatic breakthrough.”
The two countries in the most historical turn of events have agreed to avoid their difference. This spectacular shift has ended a two-decade-old “no peace, no war” relationship between the two countries. Abiy made an official visits to Asmara where he was welcomed by a thousands of Eritreans. This step by the two governments came following the EPRDF’s Executive Committee decision to accept the Algiers Accord.
As far as domestic politics are concerned, PM Abiy and his party – over the past three months – have made a number of political decisions in the name of widening the political space. The government already released politicians, activists, and journalists who were convicted or charged in different crimes. He promised to build an inclusive system where all political ideas will be treated. Upon his invitation to political parties, and groups who were operating outside the country, parties such as Oromo Democratic Front was the first to accept and enter into the country. Moreover, close to 547 individuals including members of Patriotic Ginbot 7 were released. Yet, again the parliament delisted groups such as Oromo Liberation Front (OLF), the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and Ginbot 7 from groups who were labeled as a terrorist.
As part of consolidating his power, Prime Minister Abiy has made a reshuffles and shake ups in the former cabinet, security and intelligence apparatus. More than anything, he replaced Getachew Assefa, the erstwhile head of the National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) with Adem Mohammed (Gen.), who was the chief of the Ethiopian Air Force. Moreover, Samora Yenus (Gen.), retired as Chief of Staff of the Army, and was replaced by his deputy, Seare Mekonnen (Gen.).
Despite the positive reforms which for now got popular support, the past three months were also a time rising challenges across the country. The internal displacement which came after a communal violence between West Guji and Gedeo resulted in the displacement of close to 900,000 people from both sides out of which 100,000 are children.
Another conflict associated with ethnic tension between Wolaiyta and Sidama have resulted the death of ten civilians. More worrying is the tension is still there.
Moreover, a pocket of violence erupted here and there including the one in Benishangul Gumuz, Amhara, Southern and Oromia regional states. Just recently, Dawd Ibssa’s OLF was fighting with Ethiopian government where causalities were reported in Kellem, Wellega Zone, and near Dembi Dollo. Just, few days ago the group has temporary ceased fire.
The security challenges in the country reached its climax during a rally held in Addis Ababa in support of Abiy where a grenade explosion claims the lives of two civilians injuring more than 150. Following the incident, security officials including Girma Kassa, the former deputy commissioner of Addis Ababa City Police, were arrested.
For some Abiy made some controversial statements including the one where he called upon youths especially those who live in less developed regions to be vigilant and be wary of strangers. He said “strangers” are causing problems in those regions and youths have to make sure and work with security officers to apprehend those people who he labeled strangers. The PM didn’t specify who these strangers are. Moreover, the PM called on those who he alleged are against the current change in the country as “day time hyenas”. Such vague statements and naming by the PM have cause controversy where some argue will undermine the current positive reforms and will result in civil unrest, and disobedience.
Aside from this, it is not clear how the EPRDF and the member parties within the Front are planning to go ahead. Commentators are speculating that over the coming few months there might be new alliances, splits among political forces both within the EPRDF and other political parties. The EPRDF Council meeting, which is expected to be held in August, is expected to clear the fog and determine the fate of the ruling party.
During PM Abiy’s visit to Semera, Afar Regional State, one of the issues raised at the meeting with the public was a need to resolve differences among groupings within EPRDF. In the meeting, the PM was told to resolve the alleged differences with the veterans of the Tigryan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and others in the EPRDF.
Moreover, there were cases where TPLF, have shown some its reservations on some of the decisions made by EPRDF Executive Committee. For instance, when the EPRDF Executive Committee said it will accept the Algiers Accord, TPLF made it clear that there has to be public consensus and discussion first.
Despite the challenges, the opportunities ahead have left many to be optimistic. Ethiopia is now at a historic juncture where the political discourse of the country as well as the region is bound to change, according to commentators.
12.07.2018 Abdi Iley: “I Was a Tool for TPLF. Jigjiga Herald
In a bizarre speech that Abdi Mohamoud Omer, aka Abdi Iley, gave to the Somali Region House of Representatives today, he claimed that everything he did for the last ten years was direct orders from Getachew Assefa, the former chief of National Intelligence and Information Services, and other TPLF military Generals.
We summarized the excerpts from the long and free flow address that Abdi Iley made during a session by the region’s parliament.
“I was a tool for TPLF. They [TPLF] did have a gun on my head all this time. I was also giving every penny of the Region’s budget as a ransom payment to a few Tigres [meaning TPLF General and other key politicians].”
“I will tell you everything today. Every order to kill or cause a crisis was coming from them [TPLF]”, he continued.
“They [TPLF] are the ones who were ordering the killings, I was just doing it to save myself. Every massacre in the Region was also ordered by Getachew Assefa [he said that with a curse word]. He [Getachew Assefa] is also behind the Oromo-Somali conflict. Do you think that Oromos and Somalis would just go into war without someone being behind it, he asked?”
“All the mistakes I have made were because of Getachew Assefa. Getachew Assefa held a gun on our head and asked us to do what he wants us to do.
“He [Getachew Assefa] is the man who was holding on Hailemariam’s head for 6 years, referring to the former prime minister.” According to Abdi Iley, he even at times kidnaped the wife of the former prime minister Hailemariam.”
In this bizarre speech, even to Abdi Iley’s standard, he also said this: “The rumor of my resignation was spread by Getachew Assefa, who wants bags of money as he used to get.”
In the same speech, he also claimed that prime minister Abiy Ahmed is a God sent, a prophet and Lemma Meggerssa [Oromia Regional President] is like his disciple.” In what seemed to be someone who is disturbed and out of character while also lacking his usual bravado, he declared that “he is ready to work with them and be part of the changes that are taking place in the country.”
In this speech that was like no other, he also seemed conciliatory. He declared, though it lacked authenticity and seemed to be aimed to just buy time, that “our people need to forgive each other. Those who are dead will not come back. Let’s forget what they [TPLF] did to us. We also need to stop silencing dissidents with lethal force to the point of killing the person. We should be able to have a dinner together while having a different point of views”.
While continuing this speech that will be for the ages, He remarked sarcastically, “Let’s also pray for those who have been massacred. Haday joogaan way iska shidaalysan lahaayeen [meaning, if they were here today, they would have celebrated the commencement of crude oil production in the Somali Region].”
The other remark that also raised some eyebrows is this: “I am calling for the rest of Ethiopian people for neighborly coexisting, especially our foremost neighbor, our brothers the Oromos, since the devils who were instigating all this violence between us are finally caught.”
What is also interesting is the fact that he held what amounted to a press conference that he raised the same talking points covered in this piece, but in a rather constrained fashion.
The Regional parliament’s session is expected to continue for tomorrow!
11.07.2018 UNSC, Turkey, South Africa Laud Ethio-Eritrea Peace Accord. ENA
The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has described the Joint Declaration, signed by the leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, as “a historic and significant” move with “far-reaching consequences” for the whole Horn of Africa and beyond. The Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship signed by Premier Abiy Ahmed and President Isaias Afewerki opens a “new chapter of cooperation and partnership,” said the statement issued on behalf of the 15 Council members. The Council “recognized the call in the Joint Declaration for solidarity and support, and encouraged all actors to offer their support to the peace process”, said the statement, adding that members “stand ready to support Eritrea and Ethiopia in their implementation of the Joint Declaration.” The UN is ready to do whatever the two parties ask us to do, UN chief António Guterres said on Monday and Council members also took note of the Secretary-General’s offer to support the process. “The UN is ready to do whatever the two parties ask us to do…The UN will be entirely at their disposal to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the success of what needs to be done,” added the Secretary-General.
Similarly, Turkey welcomed the move taken by Ethiopia and Eritrea to normalize their relationship. The historical joint declaration inked between the two countries’ leaders in Asmara two days ago, would play an important role for the development and prosperity of both countries, Turkish Foreign Minister disclosed. Moreover, the peaceful relationship between the two countries would create a favorable environment for “peace, stability and comprehensive cooperation in the horn of Africa region”, the Foreign Minister added.
In related news, African National Congress (ANC) has commended and congratulated Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki on the successful conclusion of the Asmara Summit’s watershed “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship between Eritrea and Ethiopia.” In a statement late on Tuesday, the ANC said it concurs with the Asmara Joint Declaration that over the past 20 years some forces have denied the opportunity to build a bright future based on common heritage for their peoples of Eritrea and Ethiopia. “We stand ready to assist our sister countries in making up for lost opportunities and creating an even bigger golden opportunities, including,” said the statement issued by ANC national spokesperson, Pule Mabe. “We note the positive implications of this emerging regional Ethiopian-Eritrea partnership will have, in advancing the challenging road ahead to regional peace, development, and cooperation, most notably in South Sudan, Sudan and Somalia,” he adedd. South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa has also welcomed the resumption of diplomatic relations between Ethiopia and Eritrea. Ramaphosa lauded this as a positive outcome following developments in the relations between the two countries.
11.07.2018 Ethiopia Observes Better Performance in Bilateral, Multilateral Ties in 100 Days. ENA
Ethiopia has gained fruitful achievements in bilateral and multi-lateral spheres over the past 100 days since Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed took office, according to Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In his regular weekly briefing he gave to journalists today, Spokesperson of the Ministry, Meles Alem said Ethiopia has witnessed a paradigm shift in the political, economic and social sectors over the past 100 days. He added that the country has entered in to a ‘new marathon diplomacy’ which many countries were acknowledged and motivated to further cooperate with Ethiopia.
He added that the Asmera Declaration, a commitment to end hostility, is the biggest success obtained in the political diplomacy sector during the stated period. The two countries which share common interest in various areas have reached to this remarkable stage without any interference from a third party. According to Meles, the normalization process between the two countries would help to change the political alignment and geopolitics of the East African region.
The visit of the Prime Minister to a number of neighboring and Gulf countries is also among the activities that aimed to boost cooperation.
During his 100 days in office, the Prime Minister has exerted maximum effort to enhance bilateral cooperation and many countries have shown interest to engage in Ethiopia. Some 36 well known companies from China, India, and Arab Emirates among others are expected to invest in manufacturing, agro-industry and extraction of mines as they already conducted feasibility study. During 100 days Ethiopia has opened consular offices and embassy at The Hague, Netherlands and Tanzania to expand Ethiopia’s representation abroad.
11.07.2018 TPLF calls on people of Ethiopia, Eritrea to enhance relationship. Ethiopian Herald
The Tigrayan People's Liberation Front (TPLF) has called on the people of Ethiopia and Eritrea to establish a direct connection to enhance the two countries brotherly and cordial relationship. In a statement it issued yesterday, the Front affirmed the commitment of the people and State Government of Tigray to stand together with Eritrean people in the ongoing comprehensive efforts to address the two countries stalemate in a sustainable manner. Commending the two governments’ readiness and initiative to solve the two-decade long standoff, TPLF said that Eritrean people’s enthusiasm for friendship showcased the fact that the future is bright for the two countries peace. The statement also affirmed the Front’s commitment for the implementation of the decision the ruling Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) has made to change the 20 years 'no war, no peace' situation with Eritrea.
11.07.2018 Ethiopia’s Ahmed is driving change at speed. Now the hard work must begin. The Conversation
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed rose to office after an internal party struggle led by his reform partners within the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front who outmanoeuvred the old guard within the four-party coalition . He emerged as leader mainly thanks to collaboration between Oromo and Amhara political elites. His selection saved the ruling coalition from fracturing completely. In the absence of a viable opposition, the Ethiopian people placed all their hopes on the 41-year-old technocrat who was previously Ethiopia’s minister of science and technology before becoming chairperson of the Oromo Peoples’ Democratic Organisation, one of the constituent parties of the ruling coalition. So far he is rewarding people’s faith by taking big steps to redress past injustices.
Ahmed’s political capital has grown in the three months since he came to power. Thanks to his conciliatory stance to the country’s multiple and competing groups, Ethiopian unity is at the highest it has been in decades. The new premier has also gained regional recognition for his role in the South Sudan peace deal, as well as the part he has played in bringing peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea. (…)
The peace deal was struck in an extraordinarily short period of time. It took just under a hundred days from the time Ahmed became prime minister.
Time-line of events
April 4th, 2018: Ahmed is sworn in as the fourth Ethiopian prime minister in the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front’s era. In his inaugural speech he calls for peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
June 5th, 2018: The front’s executive council declares Ethiopia’s acceptance of the Algiers Peace Agreement. It’s non-implementation that prolonged the conflict.
June 20th, 2018: Eritrea accepts Ethiopia’s olive branch and Afewerki agrees to send a high-level delegation to Ethiopia.
June 26th, 2018: Eritrea’s delegation led by the county’s foreign minister and presidential advisors arrive in Addis Ababa. Plans are made for the prime minister and president to meet.
July 8th, 2018: Ahmed visits Eritrea and receives a grand welcome from Afewerki and the residents of Asmara.
July 8th, 2018: The Inter-Governmental Authority for Development, a regional organisation chaired by Ethiopia, invites Eritrea to rejoin and resume its membership activities.
July 9th, 2018: Ethiopia and Eritrea sign a historic peace agreement. The leaders also sign several other bilateral agreements.
July 9th, 2018: Prime Minister Ahmed submits a letter to the UN Secretary General seeking to end sanctions on Eritrea.
July 9th, 2018: Ethiopian Airlines, the largest and most profitable in Africa, announced plans to commence daily flights between Addis and Asmara, and to purchase a 20% stake in Eritrea’s national carrier.
The peace deal will also create new economic opportunities for people in both countries as well as the region. Up until now Eritrea’s Red Sea ports - Massawa and Assab - have been underutilized. But the new bilateral agreements signed by Ahmed and Afewerki will give Ethiopia access to these ports opening up the door to increased employment on both sides of the Ethiopia/Eritrea border and increased economic activities benefiting their mutual economic interests across each other’s borders. A lot remains to be seen. But the pastures look greener.
10.07.2018 Eritrea and Ethiopia have made peace. How it happened and what next. Martin Plaut, The Conversation
This week Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed visited neighbouring Eritrea, to be greeted by President Isaias Afwerki. The vast crowds that thronged the normally quiet streets of Eritrea’s capital, Asmara, were simply overjoyed. They sang and they danced as Abiy’s car drove past. Few believed they would ever see such an extraordinarily rapid end to two decades of vituperation and hostility between their countries.
After talks the president and prime minister signed a declaration, ending 20 years of hostility and restoring diplomatic relations and normal ties between the countries.
The first indication that these historic events might be possible came on June 4. Abiy declared that he would accept the outcome of an international commission’s finding over a disputed border between the two countries. It was the border conflict of 1998-2000, and Ethiopia’s refusal to accept the commission’s ruling, that was behind two decades of armed confrontation. With this out of the way, everything began to fall into place.
The two countries are now formally at peace. Airlines will connect their capitals once more, Ethiopia will use Eritrea’s ports again – its natural outlet to the sea – and diplomatic relations will be resumed.
Perhaps most important of all, the border will be demarcated. This won’t be an easy task. Populations who thought themselves citizens of one country could find themselves in another. This could provoke strong reactions, unless both sides show flexibility and compassion.
For Eritrea there are real benefits - not only the revenues from Ethiopian trade through its ports, but also the potential of very substantial potash developments on the Ethiopia-Eritrea border that could be very lucrative.
For Ethiopia, there would be the end to Eritrean subversion, with rebel movements deprived of a rear base from which to attack the government in Addis Ababa. In return, there is every chance that Ethiopia will now push for an end to the UN arms embargo against the Eritrean government.
This breakthrough didn’t just happen. It has been months in the making.
Some of the first moves came quietly from religious groups. In September last year the World Council of Churches sent a team to see what common ground there was on both sides. Donald Yamamoto, Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, and one of America’s most experienced Africa hands, played a major role.
Diplomatic sources suggest he held talks in Washington at which both sides were represented. The Eritrean minister of foreign affairs, Osman Saleh, is said to have been present, accompanied by Yemane Gebreab, President Isaias’s long-standing adviser. They are said to have met the former Ethiopian prime minister, Hailemariam Desalegn, laying the groundwork for the deal. Yamamoto visited both Eritrea and Ethiopia in April.
Although next to nothing was announced following the visits, they are said to have been important in firming up the dialogue.
But achieving reconciliation after so many years took more than American diplomatic muscle.
Eritrea’s Arab allies also played a key role. Shortly after the Yamamoto visit, President Isaias paid a visit to Saudi Arabia. Ethiopia – aware of the trip – encouraged the Saudi crown prince to get the Eritrean president to pick up the phone and talk to him. President Isaias declined, but – as Abiy Ahmed later explained – he was “hopeful with Saudi and US help the issue will be resolved soon.”
So it was, but one other actor played a part: the UAE. Earlier this month President Isaias visited the Emirates. There are suggestions that large sums of money were offered to help Eritrea develop its economy and infrastructure.
Finally, behind the scenes, the UN and the African Union have been encouraging both sides to resolve their differences. This culminated in the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, flying to Addis Ababa for a meeting on Monday – just hours after the joint declaration. Guterres told reporters that in his view the sanctions against Eritrea could soon be lifted since they would soon likely become “obsolete.”
It has been an impressive combined effort by the international community, who have for once acted in unison to try to resolve a regional issue that has festered for years.
Risks and dividends
For Isaias these developments also bring some element of risk. Peace would mean no longer having the excuse of a national security threat to postpone the implementation of basic freedoms. If the tens of thousands of conscripts, trapped in indefinite national service are allowed to go home, what jobs await them? When will the country have a working constitution, free elections, an independent media and judiciary? Many political prisoners have been jailed for years without trail. Will they now be released?
For Ethiopia, the dividends of peace would be a relaxation of tension along its northern border and an alternative route to the sea. Families on both sides of the border would be reunited and social life and religious ceremonies, many of which go back for centuries, could resume.
But the Tigrayan movement – the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) - that was dominant force in Ethiopian politics until the election of Prime Minister Aiby in February, has been side-lined. It was their quarrel with the Eritrean government that led to the 1998–2000 border war.
The Eritrean authorities have rejoiced in their demise. “From this day forward, TPLF as a political entity is dead,” declared a semi-official website, describing the movement as a ‘zombie’ whose “soul has been bound in hell”. Such crowing is hardly appropriate if differences are to be resolved. The front is still a significant force in Ethiopia and could attempt to frustrate the peace deal.
These are just some of the problems that lie ahead. There is no guarantee that the whole edifice won’t collapse, as the complex details of the relationship are worked out. There are many issues that have to be resolved before relations between the two countries can be returned to normal. But with goodwill these can be overcome, ushering in a new era of peace and prosperity from which the entire region would benefit.
02.07.2018 PM Calls on Emerging Regions to Safeguard Peace. ENA
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed called on the public to actively safeguard against elements that are working to foment conflicts in emerging regions. In a press briefing he held here today, the PM thanked the public for the mass rally they have been conducting in various parts of the country to support the reforms underway. Abiy urged the public to foil plots designed to create conflict among emerging states by being vigilant. Thanking the people for the huge rallies of support, he also asked the public to scale down the mass rallies and focus on the implementation of the development programs with their full energy.
He also thanked the various groups which played positive role in restoring peace at different parts of the country where conflicts arose. The Premier in particular thanked the youth in Gurage Zone of SNNPRS for the effective reconciliation measures they implemented within a short period. Abiy further acknowledged the effort of the Sidama elderly in bringing peace to the zone.
Millions have been converging at rallies of support for the reform measures taken by the Prime Minister in less than three months from the day of his appointment.
Development and Humanitarian Issues
24.07.2018 U.S. Announces 170 Mn USD in Humanitarian Assistance to Displaced People in Ethiopia. ENA
United States of America announced today an additional 170 million USD in humanitarian assistance to support people pushed from their homes by conflict or natural disaster and facing severe food insecurity.
Upon the announcement of this assistance, USAID Mission Director to Ethiopia Leslie Reed reiterated the United States’ longstanding commitment to support the needs of the Ethiopian people, but stressed that remaining in temporary shelters will not solve the underlying problems. “This assistance will meet the immediate needs of those displaced, keeping them healthy so that they can return home safely and voluntarily, resume productive lives, and participate in the process of addressing the root causes of the conflict,” she added.
U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia Michael Raynor urged the Ethiopian people to work in collaboration with the government at all levels to address current conflicts and prevent new ones. “The United States does not believe that incidents of ethnic violence are in keeping with the values that make Ethiopia strong such as inclusivity, tolerance, and respect for diversity. It will be up to all Ethiopians to ensure that the promise of recent reform efforts is realized. Violence and discrimination have no place in that process”, Ambassador Raynor stressed.
According to a press statement of the Embassy, the United States, with is providing the emergency food and nutrition assistance as well as life-saving medical care, safe drinking water and improved sanitation and hygiene programs to treat and stop the spread of preventable diseases for millions of Ethiopians and refugees seeking shelter in Ethiopia. It added that the humanitarian situation in recent months has been compounded by insecurity and large-scale displacement along the border of Oromia and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples regions with recent estimates identifying more than 800,000 displaced individuals along the West Guji and Gedeo zones alone. Many of these people are in need of immediate protection services and access to safe drinking water. The statement noted that these newly displaced people are in addition to the 1.6 million Ethiopians elsewhere in the country that have been pushed from their homes by conflict or drought since last year.
The additional funding brings the total U.S. humanitarian contribution in Ethiopia to more than 802 million USD since October 2016, it was learned.
21.07.2018 Kindernothilfe unterstützt heimatlose Familien. epo.de
Duisburg. - Bei aller Euphorie über den Friedensschluss zwischen Äthiopien und Eritrea: Die Besorgnis über die Auswirkungen der bewaffneten Konflikte in Südäthiopien wächst. Mehr als 800.000 Menschen wurden innerhalb ihres eigenen Landes bereits heimatlos und es ist nicht sicher, ob sie jemals in ihre Heimatregion zurückkehren können. Die Kindernothilfe unterstützt durch eine lokale Partnerorganisation geflüchtete Kinder und ihre Familien mit humanitären Hilfsmaßnahmen.
Die hohe Zahl an Binnenflüchtlingen ist eine enorme Belastung für die ohnehin arme Stadt Bishan Guracha in der Oromia Region, so die Kindernothilfe. Die Regionalregierung sorgt lediglich für die Unterbringung der Flüchtlinge. Über ihre lokale Partnerorganisation stellt die Kindernothilfe unter anderem Nahrung und die gesundheitliche Versorgung für 1.160 Kinder sicher. 750 Kinder erhalten außerdem Schulmaterial, Schuluniformen und Kleidung, 230 unterernährte Kinder unter fünf Jahren bekommen Zusatznahrung und ihre Mütter Ernährungsberatung. Außerdem werden ein Kinderschutzzentrum errichtet und Wasser und Sanitäranlagen bereitgestellt.
Große Hoffnungen auf ein neues Äthiopien ruhen in der Bevölkerung auf Ministerpräsident Abiy Ahmad. "Durch unseren neuen Premierminister erwarten wir viele Veränderungen", sagte Kindesschutz-Trainerin Sinafikish Legesse Tsegaye in Addis Abeba. "Er wurde gewählt, um weiteres Blutvergießen in Äthiopien zu verhindern. Ich bin sicher, dass die Zeit der Angst vorbei ist, denn wir sehen schon viele positive Veränderungen. Wir hoffen auch, dass Nichtregierungsorganisationen zukünftig weniger Einschränkungen in ihrer Arbeit haben."
Die Kindernothilfe ist seit 45 Jahren in Äthiopien aktiv und fördert dort über einheimische Partnerorganisationen 642.200 Kinder und ihre Familien.
02.07.2018 Ethiopia and the European Union are discussing in Addis Ababa on ways of further boosting economic cooperation. ENA
The two-say discussion that kicked off today is aimed at heightening the relationship between Ethiopia and EU in trade and investment.
It will also serve as a prerequisite for the business forum that will be held in Brussels in October, Business Diplomacy Acting Director, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Areya GebreEgziabher said. According to him, assistance expected from the EU to realize the country’s second five-year growth plan, development cooperation and climate change will be discussed in the meeting.
On how to improve the capacity of Ethiopia in properly utilizing the tariff-free opportunity given by Europe – Everything But Arms – is also expected to be discussed. Ethiopia is among the countries that benefit from the initiative that allows least developed countries to export to EU except armaments duty-free and quota-free. The two sides will also discussed on ways of boosting EU investment in Ethiopia. More than 300 EU investment projects are being operational in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia and EU have scaled up their relationship to a strategic level in 2016, focusing on six major areas. The strategic engagement includes cooperation in regional peace and security, countering terrorism and violent radicalization; migration; social and economic development; investment and trade; governance and human rights; and climate change.
27.07.2018 World Bank ready to provide robust support to Ethiopia: Jim Yong Kim. Fana Broadcasting
Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed held talks with World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, in Washington DC today. The two sides discussed on a range of issues including, future of disruptive technology, human capital, sustainable debt financing, and risk of debt distress.
Prime Minister Dr. Abiy said, “We’ve started big dreams; and we’ve the potential to realize our dreams”. The Premier further said Ethiopia’s highest potential is human capital, in which he said, the youth account for 70 percent of the country’s population. But he added, “Our dream remains to be a dream if we fail to tap this potential”. He further said the government is committed to fight against corruption and improve the livelihoods of its people.
Jim Yong Kim for his part said the World Bank Group is ready to provide a robust support to Ethiopia. “We’ve been closely following you ever since you took office, and we commend your efforts of establishing a transparent and accountable structure. We endorse the reforms being taken and we support your efforts”.
24.07.2018 Massawa Port Ready to Serve Ethiopia’s Import-Export Commodities. Tesfanews / ENA
Eritrea has made ready the port of Massawa to serve Ethiopia’s import and export commodities, the head of Massawa Port Administration Mr. Layne Asfahaley told ENA. Mr. Layne said the port has gone through major renovation process in order to enable it to provide service for Ethiopia. A delegation of Ethiopian business community has paid a visit on Friday to the Port of Massawa to assess the situation of the port that has been abandoned by Ethiopia for more than two decades.
Founded in the 19th century and initially developed by the Italian and British colonial powers, the Port of Massawa is the primary port for import-export of goods for Eritrean market. The port was also a major gate for Ethiopia’s import-export trade until the border war that broke out between the two countries in 1998. Since then, Ethiopia has been primarily using the port of Djibouti to access the international market. Almost 95 percent of Ethiopia’s imports and exports have been transacted through the port of Djibouti. However, the recent rapprochement between the two countries has led the way for the re-establishment of ties including port services, transportation, among others.
The port is equipped with the necessary facilities and skilled labor and is ready to restart its service for Ethiopia’s import-export commodities shortly, the Head said. “The Port Administration outfitted and refurbished the port facilities to the very interest of Ethiopia’s import-export commodities and we are considering further expansion of the port following the vast demand …we are ready to serve Ethiopia.”
Former President of the Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association (ECCSA), Solomon Afewerk said there is a huge opportunity that can make both countries economically inter-reliant. “The use of the Port of Massawa can pave the way for further cooperation and mutual benefit of the two neighboring countries, but subsequent to the demand from Ethiopia, there should be expansion and development of the port to accommodate the vast flow of import-export freights,” he said.
Habtom Gebreamlak, an industrialist, and importer-exporter said that he is ready to use the Ports of Assab and Massawa for his factory in Kombolchan, northern Ethiopia. “If it is equipped with the necessary logistics and facilities, the Port of Massawa is the nearest port for northern Ethiopia, so it has a paramount importance in terms of cost and time,” he said.
Another Ethiopian businessman, Yonnas Mekonin told ENA that the Port of Massawa, which is near to Tigrai and Amhara regions, would reduce the long journey to port. “However, the port needs huge investment and refurbishment. If so it can provide extensive port services for the northern part of Ethiopia, which in turn relieve the congestion in the port of Djibouti,” he said.
The ports of Massawa and Assab are a potential alternative for Ethiopia due to its nearness to the northern parts of the country.
16.07.2018 Investitionsfonds für infrastrukturelle Projekte mit dem GERD-Staudamm ins Leben gerufen. Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft
In diesen Wochen laufen die Bemühungen an, einen Investitionsfonds für den Ausbau der Infrastruktur zwischen den Ländern Ägypten, Sudan und Äthiopien zu gründen. Diese Projekte stehen im Zusammenhang mit dem Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) und sollen dazu beitragen, Gemeinsamkeiten unter den Bewohnern der drei Länder in der Region des Damms zu fördern. Zu diesem Thema wird vom 3. bis zum 4. Juli in Kairo eine Konferenz durchgeführt.
Inzwischen hat der äthiopische Premierminister dem Staatspräsidenten von Ägypten eine Zusicherung abgegeben, dass sein Land jede Handlung unterlassen würde, die einen Einfluss auf die Zufuhr von Nilwasser zu Ägypten in irgendeiner Weise negativ beeinflussen würde. (Quelle: english.ahram.org.eg)
11.07.2018 Ethiopia says re-opening roads to Eritrea's Red Sea ports a priority. Reuters
Landlocked Ethiopia wants to make the re-opening of two roads connecting it to two of Eritrea’s Red Sea ports a priority in the two nations’ reconciliation process, a government spokesman said on Wednesday. In a move that ended a 20-year military stand-off, the Horn of African neighbors agreed on Monday to open embassies, develop ports and resume flights. The historic reconciliation could transform politics and security in the volatile Horn region, which lies along one of the world’s busiest shipping routes.
Ethiopian government spokesman Ahmed Shide said on Wednesday that the reopening of two critical roads leading to the ports of Assab in Eritrea’s south and Massawa in the north would benefit the whole region. “The unfolding developments will not only benefit our peoples, but the entire Horn of Africa region will be a part of these developments,” Shide was quoted as saying in an interview published on the Eritrean information ministry’s website.
Also on Wednesday, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s chief of staff wrote on Twitter that Ethiopian and Eritrean passport holders would be able to travel to the other country and obtain visas on arrival. The changes are sweeping away years of hostility and raising hopes in both countries for a lucrative peace dividend. Access to the ports of Assab and Massawa could greatly help Ethiopia’s push to boost their exports and increase hard currency earnings, analysts say.
The country of 100 million is heavily dependent on ports in tiny neighbor Djibouti, but since Abiy took office, has also negotiated access to a port in Sudan.
06.07.2018 Ethiopia Won’t Embark on New Mega Projects. ENA
Ethiopia wouldn’t embark on new mega projects in the upcoming fiscal year, since completion of ongoing projects needs huge finance, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said. The country needs 7.5 billion USD to finalize those projects in which their construction have launched previously.
Prime Minister Abiy made the announcement while responding to questions from members of the House of Peoples’ Representatives that gathered to discuss on the federal budget proposed for the upcoming fiscal year. Abiy said that his government prefers to finalize projects, in which their construction is delayed in the coming fiscal year, rather than launching new projects. The Premier said that the government has been engaged in launching new projects, without providing due attention to their timely completion.
Abiy said lack of commitment to finalize the projects on time is a serious problem in the country. “Starting mega project does not mean ensuring equal benefit and fairness, we only ensure benefit at individual and country level when we finalize projects at the planned cost and time,” he said. Completing the construction of the ongoing projects and operationalizing them is the major work of the government in the coming fiscal year.
Environment, Agriculture and Natural Resources
26.07.2018 Absence of land use policy triggering biodiversity loss. Haftu Gebreegzabiher Research. Ethiopian Herald
Absence of specific land use policy in Ethiopia is triggering biodiversity loss and sound pollution in rural and urban areas, research indicated.
The research finding presented on Monday during Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change’s (MoEFCC’s) 2017/18 budget year performance evaluation in Adama town, Researcher Ayele Hegena (PhD) noted that residents of urban areas are suffering from sound pollution because of absence of land use policy that make a clear distinction between residential and commercial areas as well as industrial and farm lands.
While Ethiopia has a general land policy and land administration and land use proclamation, Dr. Ayele stated that the country needs to adopt a land use policy that would support the green development approach in order to prevent the current high rate of deforestation; land degradation, over grazing and the resultant loss of biodiversity. Humans’ livelihood activities and irresponsible utilization of natural resources are increasingly affecting the environment. Besides, the expansions of condos in major urban areas, industries and flower farms have become burdens to the ecology, according to him.
Furthermore, the researcher indicated that improper use of biodiversity along the Rift Valley region has posed threats on Great Rift Valley Lake including Abjata, Shalla and Zewaye. Thus, the Land Use Policy which would be effective as of 2020 as part of the third Growth and Transformation Plan would allow making interventions to save this area.
Oromia State Environment, Forest and Climate Change Authority Deputy Director Bona Yadesa told The Ethiopian Herald that the rift valley region has five major lakes with indigenous biodiversity both in land and water bodies. Currently, the lakes and the catchments areas and the larger biodiversity surrounding them are facing risks due to the extensive deforestation caused by charcoal production and consumption, irresponsible agricultural practices and expansion of flower farms. The absence of specific land use policy that ensures sustainable utilization of natural resources has also intensified the problem, Bona stated.
The zero draft land use policy is under development by a project established within the Prime Minister’s Office and MoEFCC is mandated to following up its development, as stated by Minister Dr. Gemedo Dale without giving the detail of when it will be launched.
15.07.2018 Ethiopia to Invest in Infrastructure to Fight Climate Change. Prensa Latina
Ethiopia reaffirmed today its commitment to invest in modern climate modeling tools to improve its ability to predict future rainfall patterns in the global warming era. The Ministry of Environment made such statements after the publication of a study which predicts an increase in the capacity of communities in the East African region to cope with torrential rains related to climate change if timely predictions are made.
The region, including this nation, often has to deal with the devastating impacts of floods on both the economy and the livelihoods of populations. Hence the need for governments and industry to be able to find improved adaptation mechanisms tailored to different settlements, the research pointed out.
In the coming decades, the models predict that uncontrolled emissions of greenhouse gases will lead to significant changes in the frequency, intensity and distribution of rainfall in East Africa,' the study said. It warned that poor infrastructure and over-reliance on agriculture will worsen vulnerability. In this regard, the entity said that evidence-based research will allow legislators and policymakers to prepare adequately for extreme events related to environmental disturbances.
Media, Culture, Religion, Education, Social and Health
26.07.2018 Ethiopian Church officially declared reunification in the presence of PM. borkena.com
It is now official ; Ethiopian Church (Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church) is reunified and there will no longer be two Synods
The negotiation process that has been going on for many years to end schism within the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church (otherwise known as Ethiopian church) came to an end. And members delegates from the patriarchate in Ethiopia and those based in the United States, in the last 26 years, officially declared reunification today from Water Gate Hotel in Washington DC in the presence of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is credited with hastening the process. Abune Abraham, who is a bishop for Bahir Dar and member of the delegation from Ethiopia, read key points of agreement out that brought divided Ethiopian church together again.
Abune Merkorios was the fourth Patriarch of Ethiopia but was compelled to leave behind his patriarchate in Addis Ababa due to political pressure from the ruling party, and the former prime minister Tamrat Layne gave his testimonial about it, and loyal members of the Holy Synod followed him to the United States to reorganize the patriarchate from exile which he has been leading for the last twenty-six years. According to the new agreement which ended the schism, Abune Merkorios is to return to Ethiopia as patriarch with all the spiritual honors and serve the Ethiopian church as a spiritual father emphasizing on leading prayers and blessing his laity. His residence is to be in the patriarch’s palace at Arat Kilo in the capital Addis Ababa.
The sixth patriarch of the Ethiopian church, Abune Mathias, who has been in the seat since 2013 following the death of the fifth patriarch, Abune Paulos, is also to remain as a patriarch of the church focusing on administrative matters as per cannons of the church. Clearly, the situation is in violation of canons of the Holy Synod which states patriarch cannot be appointed while a patriarch is alive. However, the delegates reached a common understanding that the spiritual laws governing the Holy Synod has been violated since the time of the second patriarch, Abune Tewoflos, who was removed forcefully and was later killed by the revolutionary government of Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam.
The names of the two patriarchs are to be cited during a mass in the Ethiopian church either in Ethiopia or abroad. A special welcome ceremony is to be organized to Abune Merkorios and a committee is formed in Ethiopia to carry out this function. The church is also to organize a unity conference in which it will celebrate the reunification and lift excommunications.
Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who was present at the ceremony expressed that he is elated with the result of the reconciliation effort. “We want the unity of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church because the church is a country” added Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. He also emphasized that the division within the church in the past 26 years has harmed Ethiopia. The reunification of the church, thinks Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, could lay a foundation for peace in Ethiopia as well.
At this point, it is known that there will be another event at the Millennium Hall in Addis Ababa to celebrate the achievement in terms of bringing peace within the Church. And there is unconfirmed information that Abune Merkorios might return to Ethiopia along with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sometime next week.
23.07.2018 Joy as two patriarchates of Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church unite. borkena.com
Sources close to the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church say the Holy Synods in Ethiopia and the United States reached agreement to unite which may mean that Abune Merkorios could return home soon after over two decades.
As the era of repression seems to come to an end paving way for reconciliation and unity, Ethiopians thank the leadership of Prime minister Abiy Ahmed for it, rightly, Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church patriarchates based in the United States and Ethiopia are uniting, according to sources close the church. The news brought about joy and celebration among the laity.
No official statement yet from the patriarchates and much is not known regarding administrative arrangement. Members of the delegation from the patriarchate in Ethiopia attended a mass together with bishops from the Holy Synod in the US at St. Gabriel Church in Washington DC yesterday. What is known certainly at this point is that an agreement has been reached which means that there will no longer be two patriarchates hereafter. The two holy synods will unite to form a single one which was the case for millennia before TPLF took control of power in Addis Ababa in 1991.
According to Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) report, the fourth patriarch Abune Merkorios who fled Ethiopia in 1992 due to pressure from the government is to be reinstated as the patriarch of a United Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahdo Church. Other sources say the current patriarch in Ethiopia, Abune Mathias, will oversee administrative matters. If the news is true, Abune Merkorios is expected to return to Ethiopia after 26 years and there is a speculation that he might actually return along with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who is visiting the United States next week.
The church was divided for the last twenty-seven years, not on grounds of theology but due to, essentially, the late Meles Zenawi’s government policy to reduce the church to a mere political servant of TPLF political programs. And it is not a coincidence that the church is uniting at a time when the power and influence of TPLF over Ethiopia is dying.
12.07.2018 Bevölkerungspolitik: Commission finalizes 15 year development plan. Girmachew Gashaw, Ethiopian Herald
National planning commission has announced that it has finalizing preparatory ground work for the formulation of a fifteen year perspective development plan spanning the period 2015/16 to 2029/30.
In his opening statements on the commemoration of the 2018 World Population Day, Deputy Commissioner with the rank of State Minister, Getachew Adem said that population dynamics being a key cross-cutting factor in determining the future development trajectory of the country. A background study entitled, “demographics dynamics and priority population issues” is being finalized by the national planning commission in collaboration with the Ethiopian Science Academy.
Indicating that Ethiopia is going through a demographic transition, he said adding that the young age dependency ration of the country has declined from 88.4 per 100 in 1994 to 67.6 per 100 in 2017leading to the demographic dividend. However, demographic window of opportunity by itself is not sufficient condition to become the demographic dividend. Neither is the demographic dividend automatic as the opportunity is a one-time phenomena which could be washed away if we failed to make use of it, he stated.
State Minister Health Seharla Abdulahi for his part said that accelerating universal access to quality, comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, including family planning, is imperative. Improving the health of mothers and children particularly through access to sexual and reproductive health services have consistently remained among the top priorities.
Accordingly, the use of modern family planning methods among currently married women aged 15-49 has phenomenally increased in Ethiopia from 8 percent in 2000 to 36 percent in 2016 bringing down the fertility rate from 5.9 to 4.6 births per woman during the same period. Much of the credit for this result goes to our Health Extension Programme which brought family planning services to doorsteps.
Despite all the achievements and progresses made, however, there are still challenges. Currently, a little more than one in five women in the country still have unmet need for family planning, the figure being much higher among some section of the population such as the unmarried adolescents and youth. Moreover, the method mix is still skewed towards short acting family planning methods although the share of long acting methods has shown a remarkable increase over the past five years thanks to the tremendous work that was done.
The Government is keenly working to address these challenges and accelerate progress towards increasing access to family planning as stipulated in the Growth and Transformation Plan and the Health Sector Transformation Plan.
UNFPA Country Representative Bettina Maas said that her organization supports family planning in developing countries by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening the national health system and promoting gender equality.
11.07.2018 Ministry signs agreement to protect rights of domestic workers. Ethiopian Herald
Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs and its Saudi Arabian counterpart signed agreement to secure the right of both workers and employers. According to the agreement, the ministries will work towards a mutually acceptable recruitment system for Ethiopian domestic workers for employment in Saudi Arabia, pursuant to the applicable laws, rules and regulations of both countries. The agreement allows to adopt standard employment contract for domestic workers, the text of which shall be accepted by the competent authorities of the two countries, and be binding among the contracting parties.
This agreement clearly demarcate the roles and responsibilities of the two countries. Accordingly, Saudi Arabia's labor ministry has the responsibility to ensure that the recruitment, hiring and placement of domestic workers under this agreement shall be in accordance with the relevant laws, rules and regulations. The agreement further obligates the Ministry to facilitate the opening of a bank account by the employer in the name of the domestic worker, and establish a mechanism which will provide a twenty four hour assistance to the domestic workers.
As per the contract, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of Ethiopia on its part has an obligation to ensure the recruitment of medically qualified workers that meet all the criteria needed, like ensuring that prospective domestic workers have no criminal record to be fit workers to go the Kingdom of the Saudi Arabia according to job specification requirement. The agreement forces the Ethiopian Ministry of Labor to orient prospective domestic workers to respect Saudi's laws, morals, ethics and customs while residing and working there.
Senior Communication Expert with FDRE Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs, Besazin Deribe on his part said that skill training will be given for prospective domestic workers on housework at specialized institutes, and will also receive orientation on Saudi's customs and traditions, as well as the terms and conditions of the employment contract. He further noted that in collaboration with its task force and different stakeholders, the Ministry is taking controlling measures to combat illegal traveling to Saudi Arabia. To this end, the Ministry bringing illegal agencies before the law.
Horn of Africa and Foreign Affairs
24.07.2018 UAE, Eritrea and Ethiopia Urge Int’l Community to Support Historic Peace, Dev’t. ENA
The United Arab Emirates hailed today the historic peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia that paves the way for improved bilateral relations and contributes to enhancing the security and stability of the two countries in particular, the Horn of Africa and the wider region. Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea held a tripartite summit today in Abu Dhabi.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the tripartite meeting, Sheikh Mohamed praised the wisdom of President Afwerki and Prime Minister Ahmed, and commended the bold historic step that led to the signing of a peace agreement between the two countries, which reflects their astute statesmanship and paves the way for years of stability, development and prosperity for the neighboring countries. The statement underscored the deep relationship the UAE enjoys with both Eritrea and Ethiopia, and their common interests, which will enhance the prospects for peace and development based on this agreement, which is a solid foundation for peace and stability in the region. The UAE affirmed its support for the peace agreement between the two countries in the interest of maintaining a proper relationship in a framework of good neighborliness and respect for international laws and charters, according to Emirates News Agency. In their statement, the parties called on the international community to support this historic and constructive agreement to promote peace, stability and development and to benefit the peoples of the two countries and the wider region.
The two leaders on their part appreciated the wisdom of King Salman bin Abdulaziz, the Saudi King and Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, and the contribution of Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince, Vice President of the Council of Ministers and Minister of Defence, in sponsoring and pushing forward the peace agreement to be a catalyst for positive relations that will benefit the neighboring countries and the Horn of Africa. President Afwerki and Prime Minister Abiy thanked the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE for their contribution to the efforts to end the dispute between the neighbors.
The the statement noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the UAE have spared no effort to help the two countries re-establish good relations for the sake of their people and the wider region.
18.07.2018 Ethiopia readying to use Eritrean port. ESAT News
Ethiopia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said today that preparations were underway to make use of the Eritrean port of Assab. The thawing of diplomatic relations in recent month has opened doors for economic cooperation between the two East African countries that were in a no war no peace situation for two decades. Leaders of the two countries last week signed a declaration to resume transport, trade and communications links between the two countries. A task force has been set up and is working to make the necessary preparations for Ethiopia to begin using the port of Assab, according to a daily press briefing by the Ministry.
Meanwhile, Ethiopian Airlines will make its first flight to Asmara tomorrow twenty years after the suspension of a route to its northern neighbor. Ethiopia is also finalizing preparations to reopen its Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea. Eritrea’s Embassy in Addis Ababa has been reopened yesterday in a ceremony attended by Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. The two leaders joined hands to raise the flag of Eritrea at the Embassy compound in Addis Ababa, undoing the two decades old frozen diplomacy.
Afwerki and Ahmed had also made a visit to the other country last week to the jubilation of residents of the two capitals who took to the streets in their tens of thousands to show their support for the two leaders.
11.07.2018 Egypt's Envoy Hails Warmth of Relations With Ethiopia. Allafrica.com
Egypt's Ambassador to Ethiopia Abu Bakr Hefny on Tuesday hailed the depth of relations between Egypt and Ethiopia, citing the unprecedented level of mutual understanding between the two countries' leaders. He made the remarks during a celebration organized by the Egyptian embassy in Addis Ababa to mark the 66th anniversary of the 23 July 1952 revolution. The ceremony was attended by a host of diplomats, members of the Egyptian community in Addis Ababa and a galaxy of public figures, artists and journalists.
Delivering a speech at the event, Abu Bakr highlighted a key decision, taken by the Egyptian, Ethiopian and Sudanese leaders at the AU summit held in Addis Ababa in January 2018, to resume joint consultations with the aim of reviving sustainable strategic relations among the three states. The consultations resulted in a number of key steps, including an agreement to establish a tripartite fund for development projects in the three countries, he said. With regard to the Grand Renaissance Ethiopian Dam, Abu Bakr said the three countries have a common view to settle the issue by maintaining communication and cooperation among the Nile-basin states.
Egypt, under President Abdel Fattah El Sisi, looks forward to taking the African Union's presidency in 2019, with a plan to enhance joint African action and foster economic integration among African states, he noted.
02.07.2018 Pope Francis has appreciated the efforts of the leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea to establish peaceful relationship. ENA
In his message to the congregation gathered at St. Peter’s Square on Sunday, Pope Francis said “in the midst of so many conflicts, it’s dutiful to point out an initiative that can be called historic.” Francis expressed hope that having the governments “speak together of peace” after 20 years would “turn on a light of hope for these two countries in the Horn of Africa and for the entire African continent.”
Speaking at a press conference last week, Foreign Minister Workneh Gebeyhu said the leaders of the two countries would meet soon and discuss peaceful relations. The Eritrean government high-level delegation had visited Ethiopia last week.