Tag Archives: Addis Ababa

EU: Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

Pekka Haavisto, Foreign Minister of Finland, mandated by the EU High Representative Josep Borrell, is undertaking a second mission to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The Foreign Minister will discuss the situation in Ethiopia, notably the crisis in Tigray and its regional implications. Haavisto second mission to Ethiopia

During his visit, Haavisto will meet with Ethiopian authorities, and convey The EU’s continued concern regarding the humanitarian situation in Tigray, calling all parties to end hostilities and for the respect of International Humanitarian Law and International Refugee Law, as well as to allow independent investigations on alleged human rights abuse. He will also recall that Eritrean forces shall withdraw from Tigray. Finally, he will consult with the African Union to exchange views on the situation in Ethiopia as well as on regional issues.

On his way to Ethiopia, Haavisto is travelling to Saudi Arabia and to the United Arab Emirates for discussions on regional issues as well as the situation in Tigray.

He will report about his visit to European Ministers of Foreign Affairs during the next Foreign Affairs Council in April.

Tigray crisis swells

Brussels 03.12.2020 Humanitarian agencies and NGOs in Ethiopia prepared convoys on Thursday, December 3, to transport aid into Tigray region, where during an assault of governmental forces thousands of people are feared to be killed, and tens of thousands have been forced to flee to neighbouring Sudan .

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory over the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) after federal forces entered the northern region’s capital Mekelle.

On contrary the TPLF leaders said they have ton surrendered, but retreated into surrounding mountains in an emerging guerrilla strategy. “The war is a people’s war and will not end easily,” its spokesman Gebre Gebretsadkan said on Tigray TV, adding that fighting had continued round Mekelle, a city of half-a-million inhabitants.

According to the refugees there are ongoing clashes to the north, south and west of the Tigray region capital. In the context of the ban for press to enter the region there is a growing concern about the degradation of the situation for the civilians there, but also an urgent need to have an access of the journalists there to provide the first-hand information.

Diplomats in Addis Ababa say thousands of combatants and civilians have died since Abiy’s offensive began on November 4, after he referred to an alleged TPLF attack on a military base was the last straw in their argument. At present around 50 000 refugees have crossed into neighbouring Sudan, while many more have been displaced within Tigray region.

The refugees share harrowing stories about corpses which are left to decay along the roads, presumable the refugees, who failed to reach Sudan.

Ehtiopia: Tigray region conflict escalates

Brussels, 14.11.2020 The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which controls Tigray, said it had targeted the two sites in Amhara state and warned of further strikes. Tension between Ethiopia’s government in Addis Ababa and the TPLF in Mekelle has escalated into military clashes in the past month. Reportedly hundreds have died, with reports of a civilian massacre emerging this week. However the information is limited due to shutdown of the internet, and ban of press access to the region. (Image above: UN source).

However the Amnesty International NGO said it had confirmed that “scores, and likely hundreds of people were “stabbed or hacked to death” in the town of Mai-Kadra (or May Cadera) on 9 November. The experts confirmed the gruesome images of the massacre were authentic.

Prime Minister Abiy ordered a military operation against the TPLF earlier this month after he accused them of attacking a military camp hosting federal troops – claims the TPLF vividly denied.
There have since been a number of clashes and air strikes in the region.

The ongoing military operation of the Ethiopian army has forced at least 17,000 civilians to cross the border into Sudan, according to the UN sources, which has also published a video on their site.

Addis Ababa dismisses Tigray government

According to a statement issued by the Ethiopia House of Federation, the transitional government to be established in Tigray region will coordinate with other legitimate government bodies on ways of discarding “unconstitutional practices” in the region; it will also have the duties and powers endowed to the executive of the regional state.

The transitional government mission is to lead and coordinate the executive body; assign individuals to lead the executive; ensure the rule of law is respected; facilitate the conducting of election in the region; approve regional budget and prepare plans; conduct other duties assigned by the federal government. The transitional government will also oversee all the resolutions adopted by the House of Federation, including the approval of the intervention by the federal government in Tigray regional state.

Ethiopia House of Federation approved resolution to establish a transitional government in Tigray regional state. The decision means the regional state’s legislative and executive bodies, elected in the region on September 09, will be suspended.

Image above: Axum archaeological site in Tigray region listed to UNESCO World Heritage due to their historic value.

Ethiopia: Oromo arrests

3.10.2020 Ethiopia’s Oromiya region police have arrested 503 people on accusations of planning to incite violence during an annual Thanksgiving festival – Irreecha – this weekend and seized guns and hand grenades, the state affiliated Fana news agency reported.

Fana Broadcasting also reported on Octobere 2 that police and intelligence services had foiled what they said were plans to incite violence in Addis Ababa and other parts of Ethiopia ahead of the Irreecha festival of the Oromo, the country’s largest ethnic group.

The latest arrests happened a week after Ethiopia’s attorney general said about 2,000 people had been charged over deadly violence after the killing of popular Oromo musician and activist Haacaaluu Hundeessaa in June.

Fana News Agency, quoting Oromiya region police commissioner Ararsa Merdasa, said on October 1 officers seized guns and hand grenades during the arrests, ahead of a celebration in the capital Addis Ababa on Saturday, October 3, and in Bishoftu in the Oromiya region of Ethiopia on Sunday, October 4.

In the violence following Haacaaluu Hundeessaa assassination in June, at least 166 people were killed. More than 9,000 people were arrested, including some politicians from Oromiya, Ethiopia’s most populous province.

Long-suppressed frustrations frequently explode into ethnic violence.

Last year’s Irreecha festival in Addis Ababa was held peacefully amid tight security. But in 2016, a stampede, triggered by a clash between police and protesters during celebrations in Bishoftu, south of the capital, left more than 50 dead.

Ethiopia, Africa’s second most populous nation, is one of the continent’s fastest growing economies and is due to hold elections next year.

Decades of frustration over government repression and democratic reforms by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who took office in April 2018, have emboldened regional power-brokers keen to challenge the ruling party.

Tigray region counts ballots

Tigray region held regional elections on September 9, in spite of protests of the federal government and increasing political tensions in Ethiopia.

While Prime Minister Abiy has ruled out military intervention, there are fears that any punitive measures by the federal government could further escalate tensions.

The Tigray defiance of the federal government is the latest challenge to the administration of Nobel Peace Price winner Abiy, who is struggling to hold together a federation that assembles Ethiopia’s more than 80 ethnic groups.

The regional officials, holding polls for the 190-seat Tigray parliament, warned that any intervention by the federal government would amount to a “declaration of war”.

They objected to the postponement of the national and regional elections, originally scheduled for August, explained by the coronavirus pandemic and the extension of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s time in office.

The local sources said results will be announced by September 13.

On, Ethiopia’s upper house of parliament, which mediates constitutional disputes, ruled that the polls for regional parliaments and other positions were unconstitutional, announcing the assessment on September 5, which did not stop Tigray region to continue with election timetable.

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.

Sudan: separation of religion from state

Sudan’s transitional government agreed to separate religion from the state, ending three decades of Islamic rule. (Image: Khartoum)

Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and Abdel-Aziz al-Hilu, a leader of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North rebel group, signed a declaration in Addis Ababa, the capital city, adopting the principle.

For Sudan to become a democratic country where the rights of all citizens are enshrined, the constitution should be based on the principle of ‘separation of religion and state,’ in the absence of which the right to self-determination must be respected,” the document states.

The accord comes less than a week after the government initialed a peace deal with rebel forces aiming at end of fighting that ravaged Darfur and other parts of Sudan under ousted dictator Omar al-Bashir.

The larger of two factions in the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, which has fought Sudanese troops in the nation’s border states, has refused to sign any agreement that doesn’t ensure a secular system.

Sudan is recovering from international isolation that began soon after Bashir seized power in 1989 and implemented a hard-line interpretation of Islamic law that intended to shape the country as the “vanguard of the Islamic world.” Al-Qaeda settled théorie and the U.S. designated Sudan a terror sponsor in 1993, later imposing sanctions until 2017.

COVID19: EU delivers test kits to Addis Ababa

The EU continues to work with Member States to tackle the coronavirus pandemic on all fronts. Today, 500.000 additional coronavirus testing kits have been provided to the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The test kits were delivered by an EU Humanitarian Air Bridge flight and are part of a €10 million immediate support package to the African Union (AU) by the German Government in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. In total, almost 1.4 million tests for the extraction and the detection of the virus will be made available to African Union countries.

“Through the EU Humanitarian Air Bridge, the European Commission continues to work hand in hand with Member States to support vulnerable countries amidst the coronavirus pandemic. It is in our common interest to tackle the pandemic worldwide. We are committed to ensuring effective delivery of essential medical equipment to the countries that need it the most. This specific consignment will be able to reach a large number of countries as it will support the African Union continental response,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

The kits delivery is part of the larger Team Europe support to the African continental response to the coronavirus.

Mr Gerd Müller, Minister for Development Cooperation of the Federal Republic of Germany, said on the occasion: “We will either beat the coronavirus together worldwide – or not at all. This is why we support the African Union through the German Epidemic Preparedness Team in cooperation with the EU. The Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention coordinate the procurement of life-saving testing equipment for AU member states. They also play an important role in educating African health workers. With our support to the partnership to accelerate coronavirus testing, we make sure that testing is made widely available. We stand by our friends in Africa in the fight against the coronavirus.”

Ethiopia: EU joins AU calling for violence halt

… Previously I was mentioning how important Africa is for us, the European Union, as a partner, this fully applies to Ethiopia, that is why we are following closely the situation in this country, we are following the rising tensions, and this is something that is worrying us, of course, and we are calling to all sides to refrain from violence. The violence can never be an alternative to a peaceful dialogue when you are trying to reach a sustainable solution in a situation of a political conflict” the European External Action Service (EEAS) spokesperson said, while commenting on the recent dramatic events in Ethiopia.

On the unfortunate events that led to the unrest that cost lives to 80 people, first of all I would like to express our condolences to the families of the victims, and speedy recovery of all those injured, and it is very important that the violence stops. It has to stop immediately, and all sides have to refrain from violent actions in order to appease the tensions” spokesperson continued.

Under current circumstances there is limited internet and phone connection, but we are trying to follow what is going on via our delegation in Ethiopia, we follow in particular the clashes that occurred between the protestors and the police in the capital, and also in the other cities since the death of the singer Hachalu Hundessa, this week, and we also follow the arrests of the journalists, and opposition political party members”.

We allied with the statement issued by our partner the African Union, we are calling those responsible to be brought to justice, conducting transparent and independent investigation” the EU Diplomatic added.

Six people were injured on July 2 in slashes between Ethiopian security forces and mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Oromo singer and activist Hachalu Hundessa, whose assassination earlier this week provoked protests, causing violent death of at least 80 people.

The Chairperson of African Union Commission Moussa Faki calls on the Government of Ethiopia to bring the perpetrators of such heinous act to face justice and encourages all sides to resolve differences through dialogue and peaceful means in order to allow adequate efforts towards preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic.

The popular Oromo singer Hachalu Hundessa, 36, was shot dead in the capital Addis Ababa on June 29 by unknown gunmen and was laid to rest later at a church in Ambo, his home town about 100 km west of the capital. He leaves behind three daughters, the youngest a month old. The slain singer’s wife, Santu Demisew Diro, gave a short speech after mourners laid wreaths.

Late Haacaaluu’s songs were popluar among a generation of Oromo protesters whose three years of anti-government demonstrations finally forced the unprecedented resignation of the Prime minister, 2018, and the appointment of the Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed.

The Oromo have long complained of exclusion from political process. In recent months, some Oromo activists who initially supported Abiy have become more critical, accusing ignoring he legitimate interests of the Oromo people.

The singer’s killing sparked protests in Addis and surrounding Oromiya region, leading to violent clashes, which left behind more than 80 people killed.

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