Category Archives: Crisis

EU expects negotiated solution for Ethiopia Grand Dam

Brussels 26.10.2020 The European diplomacy fully supports the efforts of South Africa, the African Union chair, to conclude talks between Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan on Renaissance Dam on Blue Nile with a successful agreement to advantage of all inhabitants of the Blue Nile basin.

“Over 250 million of citizens of the Blue Nile basin stand to benefit from the predictable agreement based on the negotiated arrangement for the filling of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, they are expecting the investment in water security, aggregation, agricultural production, and electricity generation” the EU spokesperson said, reacting upon the resumption of the talks from October 27 after two months pause, caused by the departure of Egypt delegation.

“The agreement of the filling of the gerd is within the reach of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt, now is the time for action, and not for increasing tensions. The efforts of South Africa, the current chair of the African Union to bring the parties to the negotiated solutions have the full support of the European Union which looks for to the imminent resumption and successful conclusion of the talks” the spokesperson added.

Negotiations between Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan over a giant multi-billion dollar dam on the Blue Nile will resume on Tuesday,October 27, nearly two months after Egypt delegation left the talks, African Union chairman Cyril Ramaphosa said on October 26, Monday.

A dispute between the three countries over the filling and operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) remains unresolved even after the reservoir behind the dam began filling in July.

“The resumption of the trilateral negotiations on the GERD … is a reaffirmation of the confidence that the parties have in an African-led negotiations process,” Ramaphosa, who is South Africa’s president, said in a statement.

EU increases support to Sahel

Brussels 20.10.2020 Today, the European Union, Denmark and Germany and the United Nations co-host a virtual Ministerial Roundtable on Africa’s Central Sahel region, with the participation of donors and international organisations, as well as the countries concerned: Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. The event will discuss longer-term perspectives for countries in the region to overcome the spiral of violence and humanitarian crises they are currently facing. It also aims at mobilising support for the region, especially as coronavirus pandemic increases humanitarian needs.

Representing the EU at the event, Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management, will pledge a total of €43.6 million on behalf of the EU to the three countries in the Central Sahel region for the rest of 2020.

“Throughout recent years, the EU has been particularly committed to the Sahel and international support provided has been significant. Yet, the security, social and humanitarian situation in Central Sahel is only deteriorating. In face of this dramatically worsening situation, together – the international community and the governments concerned – we must do better, more and act fast. Only by addressing the deep-rooted causes can we succeed in providing a better life to the people caught in the crises afflicting the region” Lenarčič said.

“Today’s conference is a very clear sign of our solidarity towards the Sahel region and its people. Our €20 million support to the World Food Programme will help the most vulnerable in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, and especially pregnant and breastfeeding women and young children. We hope to assist 65,000 people next year with this project. If we all join forces along the peace-development-humanitarian nexus and our partner countries take responsibility for improving governance and reforms, I am convinced that we can make a difference for the people in the Sahel. Team Europe will keep on supporting the people of Sahel” Jutta Urpilainen, Commissioner for International Partnerships said.

The EU’s pledge consists of: €23.6 million in funding for humanitarian actions in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.
€20 million in development funding to address the food crisis afflicting the Central Sahel region, in cooperation with the World Food Programme.
Overall, EU and the EU Member States have mobilised around €8 billion since 2014 to help stabilise the Sahel region.

Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger are at the core of one of the world’s fastest growing humanitarian crises created by a combination of conflict, climatic changes and poverty. It is estimated that a staggering 13.4 million people across the Central Sahel are in need of humanitarian assistance.

In 2020, the EU has mobilised a total €84.6 million in humanitarian assistance for Central Sahel countries, including the amount that will be pledged today. In June 2020, the EU also organised two EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flights to Burkina Faso, carrying 26 tonnes of humanitarian supplies and equipment needed for the coronavirus response in the country.

Since 2014, the EU has invested more than €3.4 billion in development cooperation for the three Central Sahel countries Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, with the objective to strengthen the capacities of the state in the long term, while providing a short and medium-term response to the needs of the most vulnerable population. The investments covered a broad range of areas: from security; good governance; transparency; public finance; the respect of human rights to basic social services (education, food security and health).

Ethiopia Grand Dam dispute

In his speech to the United Nations the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said that Ethiopia has “no intention” of harming Sudan and Egypt with a giant hydropower dam on the Blue Nile that has caused a bitter water dispute between the three African countries.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan failed to strike a deal on the operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam before Ethiopia began filling the reservoir behind the dam in July, the move which has risen concerns of damages to the farmers along the Nile, deprived of water supply. However the three states have returned to African Union (AU) -led mediation.

“I want to make it abundantly clear that we have no intention to harm these countries,” he told the 193-member U.N. General Assembly in a video statement, pre-recorded due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are steadfast in our commitment to addressing the concerns of downstream countries and reaching a mutually beneficial outcome in the context of the ongoing AU-led process,” Nobel Peace Laureate Abiy said.

Tensions between neighbours escalated this year, as the U.S.-brokered negotiations between Ethiopia and Egypt untangled and new talks mediated by the African Union began. Two issues are at the core: what will happen during a drought and what will happen in case of dispute. In terms of the former, Egypt wants the pace of the reservoir filling to be dependent on rains, to ensure a minimum flow if there’s a drought; Ethiopia says such a guarantee is unacceptable. And in terms of disputes, Egypt and Sudan want a resolution mechanism with binding results, but Ethiopia doesn’t.

MALI: Assimi GOITA VICE-PRESIDENT

Brussels 22.09.2020 The National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP), led by Coloenl Assimi Goita, announced on September 21 that it was appointing former Defence Minister Ba N’Daou,70, as president of the new transitional government.

The announcement came a week after the 15-member Economic Community of West African States took the decision, insisting on transition of power to civilians.

ECOWAS leaders who attended an Extraordinary Summit in Accra, Ghana, on September 17 issued a communique on several decisions aimed at speedy return to civilian rule, as the major condition of lifting up blockade of the Sahel country.

In addition to being a former defence chief, he was aide-de-camp to former President Moussa Traore who died September 15 in the Malian capital.

Ba N’Daou also served as deputy chief of the aviation. During his military career he received the highest distinctions, including the Medal of Military Merit, the Medal of National Merit and the National Order of Mali. The CNSP said Colonel Assimi Goita, the coud d’état leader, will serve alongside Ndiaw’s as vice president of the transition.
The announcement comes several weeks after an August 18 coup d’état ousting unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita.

Mali’s new head of state was born on August 23, 1950 in San in the Ségou region of Mali, ten years before Mali’s independence. After obtaining the baccalaureate, he was conscripted into the army on June 1, 1973 at the age of 23. As an excellent solider he was appointed by the Malian military authorities to take a helicopter pilot course in the USSR the following year.

The new leader of the transition is not a new public figure to Malians, known since he was l’aide-de-camp to the former president of Mali, the late General Moussa Traoré who died on September 15, 2020, Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Deputy Chief of Staff of the national guard, director of military engineering, chief of defence cabinet at the prime minister’s office, director general of equipment for the armed forces, official in charge of the MDAC. A remarkable career crowned with designation and appointment.

Thus, in 2008, he was promoted to director of the national office for retired military veterans and victims of war (ONAC). An officer of the national order, he was decorated with the medal of military merit and that of national merit.

The young soldier nicknamed “The Great” he joined the all new air force. holds a higher military study certificate in France. He was also patented from the School of War (CID) in 1994. He was in the 7th promotion (1973 in the Combined Arms School (EMIA) of Koulikoro.

Tripoli: Al-Sarraj intends to resign

Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan said he was upset that his ally and Libya’s internationally recognised partner Fayez al-Sarraj, intends to quit next month and Ankara may hold talks with his government on the issue in the coming week.

Al-Sarraj announced on September 16 his intention to resign by the end of October. The decision will impact the situation in Tripoli amid new efforts of different international players to find a political solution to the country’s conflict.

“A development like this, hearing such news, has been upsetting for us,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding that Turkish delegations may hold talks with Al-Sarraj’s government in the coming week.

“With these meetings, Allah willing we will turn this issue towards the direction it needs to go,” he said.
Sarraj is head of the Government of National Accord (GNA), based in Tripoli, while eastern Libya and much of the south is controlled by Khalifa Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA). His departure could lead to infighting among senior GNA figures.

The civil war has drawn in regional and international powers and Turkey supports the Government of National Accord, while the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Russia back the Marshall Khalifa Haftar, supported Tobruk Parliament and Libyan National Army (LNA). Ankara assisted the GNA in defence its position in the captial during a 14-month LNA assault on Tripoli.

A Turkish official told Reuters news agency that Sarraj’s resignation announcement was the second recent surprise for Ankara in Libya after a ceasefire announcement last month.

Al-Sarraj’s administration declared a ceasefire on August 21 and the leader of the Tobruk Parliament in eastern Libya also appealed for a halt to hostilities separately, offering hope for a de-escalation of the conflict, lasting almost a decade.

“We would prefer for Sarraj to remain in his post because under his leadership a united Libya that has resolved its issues could emerge,” the official said.

“If Sarraj does not remain in office, there are some names who are involved in the processes and can take the GNA forward. These are, of course, Libya’s own issues, but Turkey may provide some support,” he added.

The European dream to transform Libya into a democratic state turned into a catastrophe: the state structures had collapsed, and Libyans became hostages of militant groups of rival warlords, mafia slave-traders, and Islamists, armed for free by pillaging giant arms stocks left unattended after Colonel Gaddafi regime collapse. In shot, referring to expression of one of the French secret service experts, Libya became an “Afghanistan in proximity”.

The Government of National Accord (GNA) is an interim government for Libya that was formed under the terms of the Libyan Political Agreement, a United Nations–led initiative, signed on 17 December 2015 in Shkirat, Morocco.
This agreement has been unanimously endorsed by the United Nations Security Council which has recognised that the Government of National Accord (GNA) is the sole legitimate government of Libya. Shkirat agreement mandates executive authority to the GNA, while leaving legislative authority to the House of Representatives as it was following the June 2014 elections. It also establishes the High Council of State, a consultative body independent of the GNA. The fact about the length of mandate for one year only, has been intentionally omitted by all political players, supporting GNA administration for various reasons. Shkirat agreement has been never prolonged ever since, throwing legal status of al-Sarraj administration into void.

Mali opposition demands power immediately

Mali’s military coup leaders must hand over power to a civilian transitional government immediately, the chairman of the West African regional bloc said on September 15, as a deadline expired for the ruling junta to appoint interim leaders. (Image above: social media).

The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) imposed economic sanctions after the August 18 coup d’état overthrowing the unpopular President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, and said a new president should be appointed by August 15.

However the officers have concluded the charter that says the interim President of Mali can be a military or a civilian and has not yet indicated when the new government would be named, which should work towards organising free and fair elections in the period of 18 months.

“That country can no longer afford any delay in putting a responsible government in place,” the ECOWAS chairman said.

The leaders, representing 15 West African states did not inform about the consequences of failing to meet the deadline. The existing sanctions include border closures and the suspension of financial transations.

The Charter approved at multi-party talks in Mali also calls for an 18-month transition, but at present extraordinary reunion in Ghana ECOWAS leaders said that new elections should be held within a year.

The same day Malian media announced news of death of former President Gal Moussa Traoré, 84, who led Mali beween 1968-1991. Late Mr.Traoré was an army general.

ECOWAS-Mali reunion in Ghana

President Nana Akufo-Addo, Chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will hold an urgent meeting on deepening Mali political crisis, involving key stakeholders on September 15, Tuesday.

The extraordinary meeting is expected to re-establsih dialogue on ways of an effective returning Mali to constitutional rule

The meeting is an integral part of the mediation efforts to prevent further deterioration of the Malian political crisis
The meeting will bring together delegation from nine African countries including, representatives of Mali military rules, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and relevant public figures who encouraged the demonstrations prior to the coup d’etat on August 18, 2020, that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s government.

The opposition coalition M5-RFP which led mass protests in Mali ahead of last month’s coup has rejected the transition Charter agreed with ECOWAS to establish an 18-month interim government until the free and fair elections could take place.

The announcement followed three days of the intense talks with opposition and civil society groups.

The M5-RFP group, lacking confidence in officers intentions, said the Charter was an attempt by military leaders to “grab and confiscate power.”

“It concerns in particular the profile of the president of the transition who must be a civilian and non-military personality, since this would subject us to the sanctions of the international community, hence ECOWAS, and the terms and conditions for the appointment of this president. And we have heard that it would be by a panel whereas this aspect was never debated in the plenary.” Ibrahim Ikassa Maïga, one of the leaders of the June 5 Movement explained.

Concerning the meeting is planned on in Accra between ECOWAS and Mali, it is not clear at this point in time if the leader of the military coup d’etat Assimi Goita will take risks to leave Bamako.

Regional powers worried that political instability will undermine a years-long fight against Islamists groups in Sahel, have pushed for a swift transition back to civilian rule.

ECOWAS has warned the military government must designate a civilian leader to head a one-year transition period by September 15 or else the country could face further sanctions, however the initial demands have changed, and there was an understanding that the interim President could be a military as well.

Mali: adoption of transition Charter

Mali’s ruling officers have focused on political Charter which they have adopted today. The document could serve as a roadmap for transition to the civilian rule in the next one and a half year. The key element has been an appointment of an army representative as interim head of state to ensure the transition period in cooperation with the coalition that led anti-government protests before last month’s coup.

The charter ratified by participants in the talks with the ECOWAS states confirmed that the interim President can be a civilian or a soldier and will preside over a transitional period of 18 months before elections are held, said Moussa Camara, the spokesman for the talks.

The interim president will be selected among the army officers, Camara said in remarks at the end of three days of negotiations.

The M5-RFP coalition that led protests against unpopular President Ibrahim Boubcar Keita before the August 18 is eager to lead the transition, subsequently they have rejected the Charter, leaving the power in hand of the army.

Initially, the ECOWAS representing Mali’s West African neighbours, has failed to re-introduce President Keita, but they continued to insist on a transition of no more than one year led by the civilians.

However the new of the rejection of the Charter by the opposition, drags the country in further instability, and turmoil.

Mali Imam supports ECOWAS demands

On September 9 the influential Mali cleric Imam Mahmoud Dicko urged the military commanders led by Colonel Assimi Goita to comply with demands from West African leaders (ECOWAS) to name a civilian interim transition President and Prime minister by September 15 to ease sanctions imposed after last month’s coup.

“If the international community, including ECOWAS, now thinks that the presidency of this transition should be given to civilians, let’s give it to civilians,” Dicko said, ruling himself out of the running.

“Mali is full of executives, men of integrity, let’s find this rare bird.”

President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita resigned and dissolved Parliament last month after imperative demands of the officers. The military coup d’état was welcomed by Malians, accusing the the government of endemic corruption, mounting to 40% of state funds.

Opposition groups also voiced enthusiastic support for the coup, but the sympathy has faded away last week when the opposition coalition, of which Dicko is a senior figure, sharply criticised the officers led by the Colonel Assimi Goita after they discovered that he was not invited to preliminary consultations about the transition.

International powers say that they fear the political uncertainty in Bamako could undermine the fight across West Africa’s Sahel region against Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State.

On September 5 the officers led by Assimi Goita began talks with Mali’s political parties and civil society groups over a transition to civilian rule. The move was welcomed by the 15-nation Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), but they did not lift the sanctions.

Dicko, a Salafist preacher who earlier this year electrified protesters during anti-government demonstrations, told the state broadcaster late on September 9 that Mali needed assistance and that it had nothing to gain by going behind the back of the international community.

New consultations are scheduled for Thursday, September 10 in the country. Discussions will focus on the distribution of posts between civilians and military, the duration of the transition and many other topics covering the transition period. Civil society, armed groups, political parties, unions and others are invited to the consultation. Probably the last round because Colonel Goita must make its decision before September 15, the date of the ECOWAS ultimatum.

This consultation will take place in Bamako, and is open to a broad spectrum of players. The documents provided by the committee of experts will help develop the debates. The military could withdraw from power, if there is a good guarantee, according to sources. Absent during the first consultations, the head of the officers in coma to Colonel Goita could take part in the work from September 10, claiming openness with regard to the transition.

EU calls Ethiopians for inclusive dialogue

«The EU calls all sides to restrain from violent reactions, and appease tensions» said the European External Action Service spokesperson, while commenting on the situation in Tigray region of Ethiopia, where the elections to the regional 190 seats parliament were declared unilaterally, refusing to postpone them due to pandemic sanitary restrictions.
The Tigray electorate intends to drop ballots on September 9, provoking political tensions between regional and federal delegates, interpreting the Constitution.

«The EU encourages and supports the inclusive, and comprehensive dialogue between all political parties at federal and regional levels in order to organise next general elections in coordinated way» she continued. «The EU intends to deploy an electoral observation mission for the general elections, and will pay special attention to the conditions of its organisation through the electoral process. The EU follow closely the situation in Ethiopia, including through out EU delegation».

The EU spokesperson also quoted the declaration of the House of Federation of Ethiopia, qualifying the decision of the regional parliament of Tigray region as «unconstitutional».

Ethiopia is the key EU partner in the region, while development cooperation is one of the largest in Africa and in the world, amounting to more than €800 million for the period 2014-2020. The significance of the partnership with Ethiopia has been underlined with the symbolism of the first working foreign visit of the new European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen to Addis Ababa.

However in spite of the calls for coordinated  action from Addis Ababa and abroad, the Office of Electoral Commission of the National Regional State of Tigray said 2672 polling stations were ready for tomorrow’s regional election. Some 2.7 million people are expected to cast their votes from 6:00 AM – 6:00 PM, the Commission said.
The information about the upcoming vote is limited because the independent observers, and members of the press were not allowed to enter the region.

The elections are just the latest example of how Tigrayan officials are increasingly acting like leaders of an independent state, creating a political standoff, which evokes a great deal of interest and concern abroad. Back in June the Federal election officials said the elections had “no legal basis”, and the upper house of parliament ruled they were “null and void”. On September 5 Ethiopia upper house of parliament, the House of Federation, called the formation of an electoral board in the region illegal and said any actions taken by it would be unenforceable, state-controlled Broadcasting Corporation reported from Addis Ababa.

In recent days, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed office has instructed the Ethiopian Broadcasting Authority to call journalists working for foreign media outlets to pressure them not to cover the vote. On September 7, intelligence agents barred several journalists from boarding a flight from Addis Ababa to Mekele.

The International Crisis Group (ICG) think-tank revealed that some federal officials have raised the possibility of retaliating by taking economic “punitive” action against the Tigray government – for instance, by withholding financial grants, which amount to half the region’s budget.

Approximately 3 million people are expected to vote in the September 9 regional election, according to the Tigray Regional Electoral Commission, and results are expected to be announced by September 13. Five parties are participating, including the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and other smaller regional parties such as the Tigray Independence Party, which is focused on for the secession of the region from Ethiopia. However not all the parties in the region entered the standoff with Addis Ababa – the Prosperity Party and the Tigray Democratic Party are both boycotting the elections.

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