Tag Archives: Sudan

Michel recieves new Ambassadors

Brussels 06.12.2020 The presentation of letters of credentials to the President of the European Council Charles Michel took place on December 4.
The President of the European Council Charles Michel received the letters of credentials of the following Ambassadors:
H.E Mr Mamadou Mandjou BERTHE, Ambassador, Head of Mission of Mali

H.E. Mr Jean Omer BERIZIKY, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of Madagascar

H.E. Mr Sutiawan GUNESSEE, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of Mauritius

H.E. Mr Abdelrahim Ahmed Khalil ELTAYEB, Ambassador, Head of Mission of the Republic of the Sudan

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.

Tigray protests in Mekelle

Brussels 04.12.2020 The leader of Ethiopia’s Tigray region forces said that protests were breaking out in Mekelle, the capital, which fell according to central government to federal troops days ago, claiming to conclude the military operation which lasted for a month. The the context of the ongoing ban issued in Addis-Ababa prohibiting journalists to enter the region, and internet blackout, there are no press reports on the situation available at the moment to confirm the claims of the warring parties. (Image: barricades in Mekelle, source social media).

Debretsion Gebremichael, who is leading the TPLF, told Reuters news agency in a text message on December 4 that there were popular protests in Mekelle, which is home to 500,000 people, due to looting by Eritrean soldiers.
“Eritrean soldiers are everywhere,” he said, repeating an accusation that President Isaias Afwerki has sent soldiers over the border to back Abiy (Ahmed) against their mutual foe. Both Ethiopia and Eritrea have denied that.

On contrary to Tigray announcement, the Ethiopian state TV showed images of people shopping and sitting on stools in Mekelle, while the new government-appointed chief executive of Tigray said peace was returning to the area.

The combat between Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s federal army and regional forces loyal to ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), has erupted on November 4.

While there is an international media ban to enter Tigray region, claims from both sides have can not be verified, however according to the stories of the refugees who have crossed to neighbouring Sudan, there are thousands of killed civilians, whose corpses are exposed to decay.

TPLF leaders with the loyalists, who have enjoyed strong popular support for years in Tigray, were reported to retreat from Mekelle to the surrounding mountains and launched a guerrilla strategy response to the federal troops.

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.

Ethiopia: troops advance towards Mekelle

The Ethiopian government said on November 24 that Tigrayan soldiers were surrendering in the face of its advance towards the regional capital Mekelle (pictured), but the local forces reported they were resisting and had destroyed a significant army division.

Hundreds of civilians have died,, and there has been widespread destruction and uprooting of people from homes in the northern Tigray region, and more than 40,000 refugees have fled to Sudan.

However the information about events on the ground is impossible to verify, because there press is denied access to the Tigray region, which is deprived of electricity after power station bombing, and internet shutdown ordered by the federal government, as a part of their offensive against Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government has underlined that many Tigrayan combatants had responded to an ultimatum to lay down arms before a threatened offensive against Mekelle city, with half a million inhabitants. The deadline expires on November 25.

“Using the government’s 72-hour period, a large number of Tigray militia and special forces are surrendering,” the federal government taskforce said.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which dominates in the region of more than 5 million people, gave a different insights of events, saying their troops were keeping federal forces at bay and scoring some successful military counter-attacks.

Their spokesman Getachew Reda said an important army unit – which he termed the 21st mechanised division – was destroyed in an assault at Raya-Wajirat led by a former commander of that unit now fighting for the TPLF.

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.

Ethiopia: Borrell conveys concern

“Over the past days, I have been holding talks to support efforts to restore peace and political dialogue in Ethiopia” reads the statement of Josep Borrell (pictured) on the latest developments in Ethiopia.

“During my talks with Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of the Federal Republic of Ethiopia, I conveyed the EU’s concern for the risks to the integrity of the country and the stability of the wider region should the current situation endure. In this regard, I have offered the support of the EU for any action contributing to de-escalation of tensions, return to dialogue and securing rule of law throughout Ethiopia” the EU top diplomat continued.

“In talks with Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok, of Sudan, in his capacity as Chairperson of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), and with Chairperson of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, I renewed the EU’s support to any initiative of IGAD and the African Union to address the situation”.
“Additional consultations have occurred with other partners in the wider region and will continue”.
“Stability in the region remains a priority for the European Union”.

Sudan closes borders amid Ethiopia tensions

Sudan’s eastern al-Qadarif state closed its border on November 6 with Ethiopia amid military operation in the Tigray region, citing “security tensions.”
Ethiopia’s federal government has announced a six-month state of emergency in Tigray, which gives it broad security powers. Internet and communications lines have been blacked out in the region, according to local reporters.

Clashes are ongoing between the Ethiopian army and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the region’s ruling party.

Sudan’s army has deployed reinforcements at the border to bloc any potential infiltration of Tigray fighters into the other regions.

Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has ordered the army to the attack in a retaliation, while Addis Ababa has accused the TPLF of attacking a military camp in the region. Abiy has underlined that the federal military operations in the north have “clear, limited and achievable objectives”, while the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres said he was “deeply alarmed”.

“The stability of Ethiopia is important for the entire Horn of Africa region. I call for an immediate de-escalation of tensions and a peaceful resolution to the dispute,” UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said in a message on Twitter on November 6.

The International Crisis Group estimates the TPLF’s paramilitary force and local militia have some 250,000 troops.

Howevere the TPLF felt increasingly marginalised and withdrew last year from the governing coalition.
In September,refusing to postpone elections due to COVID-19 pandemic, the Tigray region voted in a local election that Ethiopia’s federal government called illegal. The federal government later moved to divert funding from the TPLF executive to local governments, angering the regional leadership.

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.

Sudan sea port blockade

The main sea ports of Sudan were blockaded by protesters opposed to part of a peace deal with the rebels, targeting branches of the ravaged economy’s main conduits for trade.

Demonstrations forced facilities to close at Port Sudan and Suakin, both on the Red Sea, according to the head of a local labor committee that supports the action, Abdou Alshirbini. Protesters plan October 5 to extend their blockade to Bashair, the port from which landlocked South Sudan’s oil is shipped to world markets, he said by phone.

Authorities weren’t immediately available to comment on the committee’s claims. Sudan Seaports Corp. spokesman Nabil Mahmoud said on October 4 that facilities at Port Sudan and Suakin had been partially closed, without giving details.

Any long-term pause would mean more problems for Sudan’s  troubled economy. Inflation has hit 167% and GDP is likely to contract some 7.2% this year as the North African country strives to overcome shortages of key commodities and attract foreign aid and investment in the aftermath of dictator Omar al-Bashir’s 2019 ouster.

Groups from other regions also signed, but some in the east said the two factions that participated in the “eastern track” of the peace process do not represent political forces on the ground, Reuters news agency reported.
The deal is aimed at ending decades of conflict in Sudan and uniting the country behind a political transition following the ouster of former leader Omar Bashir in April 2019.

However, the two most active  and powerful groups in the west and the south did not sign, and analysts said that during negotiations, local communities were not widely consulted by military and civilian authorities now sharing power.

The rebel groups – the Darfur-based Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM) faction led by Abdelwahid Mohamed al-Nour and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) led by Abdelaziz al-Hilu did not sign, reflecting the challenges still facing the peace process.

Workers at the southern port, Sudan’s main sea terminal for containers, and at Suakin port to the south, were on strike over the peace deal, said Aboud El-Sherbiny, head of the Port Sudan Workers Union.

“We demand the cancellation of the ‘eastern track’ and the agreement that was signed yesterday in Juba because this track expresses an external agenda,” he said.

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