Seven Days Update, Vol. 20 No. 31

von Administrator

Members and supporters of Semayawi (Blue) Party held a demonstration on 22 Sep. 2013 at Janmeda in Addis Ababa. The slogans demanded the release of prisoners who remain under government custody after being charged or sentenced on terrorist acts. The demonstrators also demanded justice and the respect of their freedom (ERTA, Sep. 22).

Foreign Minister Nabil Fahmy held talks with his Ethiopian counterpart Tedros Adhanom and Sudanese minister Ali Karti, as well as UN human rights chief Navi Pillay, on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. During talks  the, both ministers discussed ways of developing bilateral relations between Cairo and Addis Ababa. Fahmy said Egypt is keen on developing relations with Ethiopia. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Badr Abdel Aaty said during talks Fahmy focused on the importance of water security on the River Nile. The minister also discussed Ethiopia's right to take advantage of natural resources in a way that did not hamper Egypt's share of Nile water, Abdel Aaty claimed (Al-Masry Al-Youm, Sep. 27).

One of the longest-running conflicts in Africa in the Somali-inhabited region of Ethiopia could be moving toward a resolution. Peace talks broken off last year between the Ethiopian government and the rebel Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) may reopen in October, according to Kenyan negotiators. Last year’s talks, hosted in Nairobi by Kenyan government officials, were overshadowed by the death of Ethiopia’s longtime Prime Minister, Meles Zenawi. They ended early without addressing substantive issues of a half century of conflict. The Ogaden talks could bring an end to a decades long conflict that has left a large region of Ethiopia, desperately in need of development, devastated and marginalized. But Barnes’ report warns that success requires unprecedented concessions from bothsides (VOA, Sep. 24).

It is close to half a century ago that Coca Cola’s set up shop in eastern Ethiopia. Today, after 50 years of operations, the Dire Dawa plant is still functional. Including the one in the capital, both plants currently belong to the East Africa Bottling Share Company the sole bottler Coca Cola and other soft drinks in Ethiopia. On Tuesday the Dire Dawa plant commenced a larger production after a USD 20m upgrading project was completed. The company also plans to build its third plant (The Reporter, Sep. 23).

The Ethiopian government, in its quest to end poverty and bring fast economic growth, is drawing lessons from South Korea, the Ethiopian Embassy in South Korea said. Mesfin Dideksa, deputy chief of mission in Seoul, South Korea, said that Ethiopia is keen to emulate the remarkable economic transformation witnessed in South Korea. The two countries, signed a $4.5m agreement to set up the East African Saemaul Undong Training Center in Addis Ababa. Saemaul Undong, also known as the New Village (Community) Movement, was a political initiative launched in April 1970 by South Korean President Park Chung Hee to modernize the rural South Korean economy. The South Korean model is now being implemented in five villages in Oromia and Tigray regions (WIC, Sep. 28).

The Ministry of Federal Affairs said prime attention will be given to ensure the socio-economic benefits of citizens voluntarily moved to new villages through the villagization program. Federal Affairs Minister Dr. Shiferaw Teklemariam said that citizens voluntarily resettled in the villages, in particular in regional states, which need special support, will benefit from social services. Dr. Shiferaw said 72% of the voluntary villagization program carried out during the 2005 E.C. budget year was successful, and that measures would be taken to fill the gaps identified during the period. The Minister said integrated activities are underway in collaboration with neighboring states and different offices to ensure the benefits of regional states, which need special assistance, from extension service (ENA, Sep. 21).

The Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority (EWCA) has begun relocating illegal settlers in the Semien Mountains National Park. The authority says a total of 238 households have illegally settled within the 42,200 ha park area which is located in the Semien Gondar Zone of Amhara Region (Sep.28).

A bioequivalence clinical center constructed in the premises of ALERT Hospital was inaugurated on Sep. 21. Assistant Researcher with Armauer Hansen Research Institute (AHRI), Dr. Mekonnen Teferi, told that the center helps make sure the efficacy of medicinal drugs through tests on voluntary persons. Dr. Mekonnen said the center, which is the first of its kind in East Africa, is constructed with some one million Birr secured from Norway and Sweden. He said the center will help to check the quality of medicinal drugs manufactured by domestic industries (ENA, Sep. 21).

The Ministry of Water and Energy said it has carried out a project aimed at supplying safe drinking water for over 1.4 million people who are at risk of fluorisis, which affects the teeth and bones. Public relation and communication director with the Ministry, Bizuneh Tolcha told that the project which is being carried out at a cost of over 1.5m Birr in the Rift Valley area. He said over 10,000 people in Afar, Oromia and South Ethiopia Peoples' States have benefited from safe water provision in 2005E.C. budget year alone. Ingestion of excess fluoride, most commonly in drinking-water, can cause fluorosis which affects the teeth and bones. Moderate amounts lead to dental effects, but long-term ingestion of large amounts canlead to potentially severe skeletal problems (ENA, Sep. 27).