Tag Archives: Eritrea

Ethiopia announces Tigray defeat

Brussels 05.12.2020 Ethiopia government announced it had captured or killed most commanders of a Tigray region militia, while Tigray’s local leader countered on Friday, December 5, that civilians in Mekelle, the region’s capital, were protesting against looting by occupying troops. (Image: Tigray region, source: social media).

In the context of the ban to press to enter the area, it is impossible to verify the information, while neither of the warring parties presented any evidence for their assertions about the month-long military operation in the mountainous region bordering Eritrea and Sudan. The local power station was bombed, and there has been electricity shortage since; while the internet shutdown is still in place, preventing Tigray to communicate with the rest of word.

In spite of the ongoing calls of the European Union, the UN and NGOs, the access of journalists, and humanitarian workers to Tigray region has not been granted.
“…The international humanitarian law must be upheld under all circumstances and any violations be accounted for in line with the international standards and instruments”, the European External Actions Service spokesperson said, while responding to unfolding crisis in Tigray region.

“… We are following the situation in Ethiopia with great attention and coordinating very closely with the regional and international actors, our message is clear and focused on the secession of hostilities, and of the ethnic-targeted violence, protection of the civilians, in particular IDPs and refugees” the EU diplomacy spokesperson reiterated, however in vain.

An assault of federal troops upon Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s orders against Tigray militia loyal to the region’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), started on November 4. Thousands of people are believed to perish while more 50,000 refugees have crossed to neighbouring Sudan.

TPLF leaders, who relay on strong popular support in Tigray, appear to have retreated to surrounding mountains and declared they have begun a guerrilla-style resistance.

Debretsion Gebremichael, who is leading the Tigray militia, reportedly sent a text message about mass protests in Mekelle, where 500,000 inhabitants stood up against the looting by Eritrean soldiers.

“Eritrean soldiers are everywhere,” he said, Reuters reports, repeating an accusation that President Isaias Afwerki has sent soldiers over the border to back Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed against their mutual foe.

EU officials visit to Horn of Africa

Brussels 10.10.2020 Senior European officials have concluded their two-day visit to Ethiopa visit aimed at uplifting the cooperation between the European Union (EU) and the African Union (AU) in the situation of COVID-19 pandemic.

EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and European commissioner for crisis management, Janez Lenarcic, inspected 1.5 tons of coronavirus testing kits which were donated to Ethiopia by Germany.

This is an important expression of the European Union role in the fight against pandemic and how we do that with our partners from the African Union,” Borrell said at an airport cargo hall in Addis Ababa, surrounded by thousands of boxes containing the test kits.

Lenarcic stressed that the European Commission wants any future COVID-19 vaccine to be treated as “a global public good” which should be available to all countries irrespective of their purchasing power.

Later on Octobrr 8, Borrell met Moussa Faki, the chairperson of the AU Commission.

“… The European Union, as Africa’s close neighbour and main partner, strongly supports the African Union efforts in silencing the guns on the continent” the head of the EU diplomacy said addressing the webinar on the role of the media in promoting silencing the guns of Africa.

 

“And here, Commissioner [of the African Union for Peace and Security, Smaïl] Chergui, our cooperation aiming at sustainable peace and conflict prevention is at the top of our common agenda. It also fosters inclusive and accountable governance and recognises the role of civil society, the media, and democratic institutions”  Borrell has underlined.

“Allow me to commend the work of journalists, specifically here, in Africa, and all over the world, for their commitment to ensure that all voices calling for peace are being heard. Voices that will eventually silence the guns because they are more powerful. Your work is crucial in providing reliable and credible analysis and acting as a bridge between local communities and policy makers. I can assure you that the European Union will continue to be a strong and reliable partner in the implementation of the African Union master roadmap for silencing the guns”  the EU top diplomat Borrell said during the webinar.

In May this year the EU has provided an additional €105.5 million to countries in the Horn of Africa as the coronavirus pandemic risks worsening the humanitarian situation across the region where many continue to suffer from armed conflict, displacement, and recurrent droughts and floods. Furthermore, a large-scale infestation of locusts threatens food security and livelihoods of many vulnerable people in the region.

Funding from this aid package to humanitarian projects in Djibouti (€500,000), Ethiopia (€42 million), Kenya (€15 million) and Somalia (€48 million).

Abiy Ahmed receives Nobel Peace Prize

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to resolve the protracted conflict with Eritrea. Announced earlier in October, the Prize also honoured his mediation efforts in eastern Africa and the democratic reforms he has undertaken in his country, long ruled by authoritarian leaders.

Ethiopia witnessed a tangible progress in the months after he took power in April 2018, but the winds have since shifted: in addition to the stalled peace process with Eritrea, his reforms aimed at opening up Ethiopia have paradoxically given rise to a flare-up of ethnic tensions.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has received the Nobel Peace Prize and has been phrased by his role played  resolving the long-running conflict between the Ethiopians and Eritreans.

“I accept this award on behalf of Ethiopians and Eritreans, especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of peace, Abiy said after he received the prestigious award in a formal ceremony at Oslo’s City Hall.

Meanwhile, the Nobel festivities have been tarnished by Abiy’s refusal to traditional questions from the media, as the ex-intelligence chief has considerably shortened the usual Nobel programme and cut out all news conferences.

The head of the Nobel Institute, Olav Njolstad, called the decision “highly problematic”,
underlining that a “free press and freedom of expression are essential conditions for a lasting peace in a democracy.”

Abiy’s team responded that it was “quite challenging for an incumbent leader to spend several days at such an event, especially when “domestic issues are pressing and warrant attention”.

Eritrea Embassy inauguration in Addis Ababa

The inauguration of the Eritrean Embassy was the culmination of President Isaias Afwerki three-day visit to Ethiopia, his first to the country in 22 years.

“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,” President Isaias said at a concert celebrating the peace process at the Millenium Hall in Ethiopia’s capital, Addis Ababa.

Ethiopia returns to sea ports in Eritrea

Former foes Ethiopia and Eritrea declared intention to cooperate on developing ports on Eritrean Red Sea coast, Ethiopia’s state broadcaster said, the day after the leaders met and agreed to normalize relations after a 20-year military confrontation.

“In their meeting, the leaders agreed to restore ties and resume flights by the carriers of both countries. In addition, they agreed to participate in the development of ports,” the state-owned Ethiopian Broadcasting Corporation said.

Ethiopian government spokesperson Ahmed Shide said that the re-opening 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 website.

At present Massawa port at Red Sea has been receiving a substantial Chinese investment to enlarge and develop infrastructure. A contract of $400 million covering  a construction period of 40 months since 2014 the Phase I Massawa New Port Project  included design and erection of 70,000t bulk cargo terminals and a 50,000t multi-purpose terminal; construction of the corresponding port area and incoming road.

Ethiopian rapprochement with Eritrea opening an access to Red Sea ports is becoming a part of larger strategy of African governments assisted by China planning future trans-African transportation corridors, and opening a competition between Djibouti as an paramount African trading gateway, and two Eritrean ports Massawa and Assab.

 

Eritrea and Ethiopia to re-establish diplomatic ties

Eritrea and Ethiopia intend to re-establish diplomatic and trade ties after decades of a protracted conflict.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki made the announcement during historic meeting hosted in Eritrean capital Asmara.

It is the first time the leaders from the two East African neighbours have met in almost two decades of a protracted territorial conflict.

Cut off sea Ethiopia, the second most populated country in Africa, slided into a protracted conflict with its former province Eritrea, which declared independence and established its control over the sea coast, impacting Ethiopia’ geopolitical and economic situation.

A peace deal was signed in December 2000. However, Ethiopia refused to accept the final ruling of a border commission two years later, which awarded disputed territory to Eritrea, including the town of Badme.

The countries have been on a war footing ever since.

Ethiopia and Eritrea engaged in peace talks

Leaders of Ethiopia and Eritrea have met for the first time in more than 20 years amid a recent problems in relations between the two long-time East African rivals.

In a break-through visit, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed landed in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, on Sunday,  July 8 for a bilateral summit, aimed at repairing relations between the two countries. Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki warmly greeted Abiy at the airport, Eritrea state television showed.

The visit comes a month after Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal that ended a protracted conflict between the two countries. From now onwards Eritrea and Ethiopia should agree on durable adjustments that would need comprehensive cooperation, good faith and diplomacy to establish, and respect borders.

Additionally, the countries may opt to swap lands to avoid potential border disputes, Daily Sabah reports. All these demand thoughtful coordination between the two parties. Fourthly, parties would have to agree on areas to establish border and customs posts. This, too, requires the two countries to work together closely. Finally, as a sign of goodwill, the two countries would have to shun and renounce the use of opposition groups and proxies against each other.

EU ready to assist Ethiopia-Eritrea negotiations

“The recent announcement by Ethiopia that it is ready to fully implement the Algiers Agreement and the decision of the boundary commission, as well as the decision by the President of Eritrea to send a delegation to Addis Ababa to that end, are decisive steps towards the resolution of the longstanding differences between the two countries” – the statement of the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini says.

“The settlement on the border issue would benefit Ethiopia and Eritrea as well as stability in the Horn of Africa region”.

“In line with the Chairperson of the African Union Commission’s statement, the EU also stands ready – as a witness to the Algiers Peace Agreement – to assist Ethiopia and Eritrea on their path towards reconciliation”.