A Week in the Horn 25.03.2022


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News in Brief





DPM & FM Demeke Mekonnen: HR6600, S3199 undermine Ethiopia’s sovereignty





Declaration of a Humanitarian Truce by the Government of Ethiopia





Ethiopia downplays accusations of soldiers over the death of 3 MSF staff in Tigray





Africa and the African Union





The Chairperson of the African Union
Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat welcomes today (March 25) the
Declaration of an indefinite Humanitarian Truce by the Government of the
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in an effort to expedite the
provision of much needed humanitarian aid to people in need in the
Tigray region. The Chairperson further welcomes the announcement by the
Regional Government of Tigray committing to observe the said
humanitarian truce, and also welcomes its declaration of an immediate
cessation of hostilities.





The African Union Commission and the
European Commission co-hosted on Friday (March 18), the Africa-Europe
Digital for Development (D4D) Hub Multi-Stakeholder Forum, under the
theme: “Digital Transformation for Sustainable Development in Africa”.
The forum aimed at promoting exchanges and collaboration with the
private sector, enterprises, civil society organizations, and experts in
the digital field from both continents.





Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to
the African Union Ambassador Tesfaye Yilma on Tuesday (March 22) said
Modern international law enshrines the sovereign equality of all states
as its rules are and should always be built on the basis of a broader
consensus.  He made the remarks while addressing the Twentieth Ordinary
Session of the African Union Commission on International Law (AUCIL)
which was held from 21 March 2022 – 01 April 2022.





Ethiopia





The government of Ethiopia, through
Government Communication Service, issued a statement on Thursday (March
25), declaring “an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately”,
to help hasten delivery of emergency aid into the Tigray region. “To
optimise the success of the humanitarian truce, the government calls
upon the insurgents in Tigray to desist from all acts of further
aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in neighbouring
regions,” the statement said. (See Statement)





President
Sahle-Work on Wednesday (March 23) called for genuine cooperation among
riparian states of transboundary watercourse. Addressing the High-Level
segment at 9th Word Water Forum in Dakar, President Sahle-Work Zewde
highlighted the process of GERD and the Green Legacy Initiative that
Ethiopia has been implementing since 2019. The president also called for
political commitment, avoidance of politicization of water issue which
she described as a technical matter and genuine cooperation among
riparian states in order to address comment challenges. Genuine
cooperation is not an option but rather a necessity for riparian states
of trans-boundary watercourse, the President underlined.





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Saturday (March 19) appreciated health
workers for their unparalleled service during the Operation for National
Unity in Diversity. In his official Facebook page, he wrote, “Great
appreciation to the health workers that provided their unparalleled
service during Operation for National Unity in Diversity.”





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Sunday (March 20) visited summer wheat
farming activities being undertaken in West Dembia Woreda of Central
Gondar Zone in the Amhara regional state of Ethiopia. Regional
Presidents of Oromia, Amhara, Southern Nations and Nationalities as well
as ministers and senior government officials have accompanied the
premier. 





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday (March 21) has congratulated
Ethiopians for the astonishing results registered by the Ethiopian
athletes in the 18th World Athletics Indoor Championships held in
Belgrade, Serbia. “I express my delight that Ethiopia finished first in
the 18th World Athletics Indoor Championships in Belgrade, Serbia.





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Tuesday (March 22) accompanied by Mr.
Taufila Nyamadzab, World Bank Executive Director for Africa Group 1 and
Ousmane Dione, World Bank Country Director for Ethiopia, Sudan, South
Sudan and Eritrea visited cluster wheat productivity in East Shewa Zone,
Adama Woreda of the Oromia Region. Cluster farming is hoped to support
Ethiopia’s aspirations to replace wheat imports through enhanced local
production.





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Wednesday (March 23) has sent a message
to President Xi Jinping of China expressing heartfelt condolences on the
fatal crash of China Eastern Airlines flight MU5735. It is to be
recalled that the China Eastern Airlines Boeing 737 crashed on Monday
afternoon in south China’s Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. 





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, received
at his office on Friday (March 18) a delegation led by Gabriela Bucher,
Executive Director of Oxfam International. The two sides noted that
drought; COVID-19, conflict, and displacement put the lives of millions
of people in Ethiopia in danger, necessitating multifaceted support from
Oxfam and other humanitarian partners. The Deputy Prime Minister said
that the Ethiopian government has tried to support drought-affected
people in some parts of Ethiopia, who need immediate support from
Humanitarians, including Oxfam.





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen on
Tuesday (March 22) called on Ethiopians in the Diaspora to protest
HR6600 and S3199. The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister made
the call during his virtual discussion with the Ethiopian Diaspora
Community leaders and representatives based in the U.S.  He said HR6600
and S3199 are drafted to nullify the struggles and to regress
achievements of Ethiopians all over the world in protecting the
sovereignty of their country. (See article)





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen on
Wednesday (March 23) congratulated all Ethiopians, Ethiopian athletes
and the athletics community for the stunning results achieved in the
18th World Athletics Indoor Championships held in Belgrade, Serbia. “We
are proud of our athletes and their spectacular success that boosts our
image globally,” he said.





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen, bade
farewell on Friday (March 18) to the departing Ambassador of the Kingdom
of Saudi Arabia in Ethiopia, Sami Jamil Abdullah. On this occasion, the
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister appreciated the departing
Ambassador for cementing relations between the two countries during his
stay in Ethiopia.





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen received
at his office on Tuesday (March 22) U.S. Special Envoy for the Horn of
Africa David Satterfield to discuss bilateral issues of mutual concern.
Speaking on the humanitarian support to the Tigray region, the Deputy
Prime Minister reiterated the government’s commitment to allow unimpeded
access to humanitarian operators. (See article)





State Minister Ambassador Redwan Hussein had a meeting on Friday
(March 18) with Indian investors in Ethiopia and members of India’s
Investment Forum to address observed investment challenges in Ethiopia.
The discussion between the Ambassador and the investors ranges from
issues related to the availability of foreign currency to security and
taxation, among others.





Last Week on Thursday (March 17), the New York Times has published
under the title, “‘Finish Them Off’: Aid Workers, Found on Battlefield,
Executed by Soldiers” (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/17/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-aid-workers-killed.html)
accusing Ethiopian government soldiers of murdering the three MSF
(Doctors without Borders), a Spaniard and Ethiopians, whose tragic
killings was announced last year on June 25, 2021. Ambassador Dina
Mufti, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs denounced the
Paper’s claim as baseless. (See article)





The committee established to facilitate the #GreatEthiopianHomeComing
under the banner: “Eid al-Fitr-to -Eid al-Adha” has convened on Monday
(March 21) to deliberate preliminary plans to host the program.  It is
to be recalled that Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, addressing the Parliament
in February 2022, had called upon the Muslim diaspora to return home
for Ramadan to repeat the success of the #GreatEthiopianHomeComing that
yielded encouraging outcomes as a result of the contribution by the
diaspora.





The newly appointed ambassadors have tabled their 100-day plan on
Saturday (March 19) charting out their goals and strategies for
implementation as of their first day of duty as mission leaders.
Discussions followed the presentations, whereby the proposed documents
secured approvals with additional inputs for incorporation in light of
the geopolitical interests of the countries that the ambassadors are
assigned. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen,
and Ambassador Redwan Hussein, State Minister of the Foreign Affairs of
Ethiopia, presided over the discussion.





Ethiopians working for the African Union have raised more than
725,000 Ethiopian Birr to support efforts of the government to rebuild
destroyed educational institutions in the Amhara and Afar regions. They
handed over the money to State Minister Ambassador Birtukan Ayano, and
Garoma Daba, a representative from the Ministry of Education.





Ethiopian Ministry of Mines on Tuesday (March 22) signed with
Netherland, Swell & Associates, Inc (NSAI) for the consultancy and
assessment of the oil and gas reserve in the Ogaden basin of Somali
region. Minister of Mines, Takele Umma and NSAI Vice President, Joseph
M. Wolfe signed the agreement. NSAI is an American-based internationally
known independent reserve consultant popular in the oil and gas sector,
especially on petroleum property analysis for industry and financial
organizations and government agencies.





The Ethiopian Embassy in India held a trade, tourism and investment
forum in Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu State, in collaboration with
Indian Economic Trade Organization (IETO), India Africa Trade Council
(IATC) and COMESA office of IATC in Chennai on Saturday (March 22). 
Ambassador Tizita Mulugeta, in her speech, addressed Indian investors to
explore the vast opportunities in Ethiopia mentioning the presence of
more than 600 Indian investors in Ethiopia who engage in different
sectors creating job opportunities for thousands of youths in the
country.





Ambassador Teshome Toga on Tuesday (March 22) held a virtual
bilateral discussion with Mr. Yan Bingchen, Deputy Director General of
the International Department of the Chinese Ministry of Education on
ways of further strengthening Ethiopia–China cooperation in the
Education sector under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa
Cooperation (FOCAC).





Eritrea





Permanent Mission of the State of Eritrea to the United Nations, In
explaining the rationale behind its position on the adoption of draft
resolution A/ES-11/L2 (Humanitarian consequences of the aggression
against Ukraine), said, among other things, “Eritrea rejects any
politicization of humanitarian issue as it undermines actions geared
towards addressing core humanitarian situation of affected peoples and
countries.”





Eritrea’s national report on the implementation of the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC), covering the
period 2014-2019, was presented to and discussed with the African
Committee of Experts on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACERWC), on
23rd of March 2022, at the 39th session of the Committee being held
virtually. The report underscored that despite the challenges the
country is facing, Eritrea continues to make significant progress in all
areas that pertain to the rights and welfare of the Child, and
consequently fulfilling its commitments under the ACRWC and UN
Convention of the Rights of the Child (CRC) and other relevant
instruments.





The Eritrean Cycling National team that is taking part in the Africa
Championship in Sharm El-Sheik, Egypt recorded a shining victory. At the
team time trial held on Wednesday (March 23), the Eritrean National
Team won four Gold Medals in the elite categories in both genders. In
the men elite category that witnessed heavy competitiveness, Eritrea won
the Gold Medal through Henok Mulubrhan, Dawit Yemane, Michael Goitom
and Aklilu Gebrehiwet.





Kenya





Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and Cabinet Secretary for Foreign
Affairs Raychelle Awuor Omamo met on Monday (March 21) with Special
Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Xue Bing,
respectively. Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian was present. The
two sides exchanged in-depth views on the “Initiative of Peaceful
Development in the Horn of Africa” put forward by China, and reached
consensus. President Kenyatta spoke highly of the achievements in the
development of Kenya-China relations and thanked China for supporting
Kenya’s economic development and improvement of people’s wellbeing over
the years. He highly appreciated and supported the Initiative proposed
by China, saying that Kenya will actively participate in the
implementation of the Initiative, so as to contribute to prosperity,
development and lasting peace and stability in the region.





After three years of successful operation in Kenya, Microsoft’s
premier engineering hub, the African Development Centre (ADC), is
relocating to its own offices in Nairobi, demonstrating the company’s
commitment to the continent. The facility was officially launched by
President Uhuru Kenyatta, who was accompanied by Joe Mucheru, the
Cabinet Secretary for ICT, Innovation and Youth Affair among other key
guests. Since its inception in Nairobi in 2019, the ADC has grown to
over 450 full-time employees working in areas such as software
engineering, machine learning, data science, market research,
infrastructure, and much more.





Somalia





The death toll from twin attacks in central Somalia on Wednesday
(March 23) night has climbed above 30, the police chief in Beledweyne
district said on Thursday. “We are still trying to establish the overall
number of casualties, but so far we have confirmed that more than 30
people were killed in the second blast alone, which was caused by a car
bomb,” said Colonel Isak Ali Abdulle. “The terrorists carried out the
first attack using a suicide bomber and readied a car loaded with
explosives in front of a hospital to cause more casualties,” he said.
“These were devastating simultaneous attacks which damaged property as
well as causing mass civilian casualties.” The first attack in
Beledweyne killed two local lawmakers, including Amina Mohamed Abdi and
several of her guards as she campaigned for re-election. The second
occurred minutes later outside the hospital and left cars in charred,
twisted ruins. The attacks occurred the same day as three people were
killed near Mogadishu’s airport in an attack claimed by the Islamist
insurgent group Al-Shabaab.





The Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia, Mohamed
Hussein Roble on Saturday (March 19) met with the Chairman of the
Federal Electoral Commission, Muse Gelle Yusuf, to discuss the
implementation of the committee’s certification and swearing-in schedule
and the completion of the remaining parliamentary elections.





The Prime Minister of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed
Hussein Roble on Monday (March 21) addressed the International Partners
on long distance communication through Zoom. The focus of the
discussions were the completion of the Parliamentary elections of the
Jubaland and Hirshabelle regions, and the swearing in period of both
Lower and Upper House of the Somali Parliament. The Prime Minister also
discussed with representatives of the International Community on the
situation of the severe drought in the country and how they can play
their part in providing relief to the Somali people affected by the
drought.





State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi met with
Somali Foreign Minister Abdisaid Muse Ali in Islamabad on the sidelines
of the session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization
of Islamic Cooperation upon invitation. Wang Yi said, Somalia is an
important country in the Horn of Africa with a sound endowment for
development. Abdisaid thanked China for various development supports and
briefed Wang Yi about the current situation in the Horn of Africa and
the African Union Mission in Somalia. He spoke highly of China’s efforts
to promote unity and cooperation in the Horn of Africa and agreed to
hold the Horn of Africa peace conference. Wang Yi said, China is willing
to continue to contribute wisdom and strength to peace and stability in
the Horn of Africa.





Sudan





The President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council, General -Abdel
Fattah Al-Burhan, and the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman Al
Saud on Monday (March 21)  held bilateral talks at the Palace of the
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques in Riyadh. The talks covered the
bilateral relations between Khartoum and Riyadh and means for promoting
and developing them, further, economic development and investment fields
to serve the interests of the peoples of the two countries. The TSC
President commended the continued support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia
for maintaining peace and stability in Sudan, and its unshakeable
support to the Sudan in regional and international forums.





President of the Transitional Sovereignty Council General, Abdel
Al-Fattah Al-Burhan on Tuesday (March 22) commended the great efforts
being exerted by China to support the transitional period and its
keenness to strengthen and develop the bilateral relations between Sudan
and China. Al-Burhan who received in the Republican Palace the Chinese
Envoy on the Middle East, Zhai Jun has lauded deeply rooted relations
linking the country, describing China as a strategic partner. The TSC
President affirmed the importance of strengthening and developing the
joint interest to realize the aspirations of the peoples of the two
countries, lauding the role of the Chinese government in the provision
of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 Pandemic.





South Sudan





South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and Abdel Fattah al-Burhan,
Chairman of Sudan’s Sovereign Council, on Friday (March 18) agreed to
develop cooperation and to have joint deployment in the border areas,
including the contested Abyei. Al-Burhan was on a two-day visit to Juba
where he discussed with President Kiir and his first deputy Riek Machar
ways to end the sticky issues in the implementation of the revitalized
peace agreement. Before arriving in Juba he had a meeting in Uganda with
President Museveni, the other guarantor of peace in South Sudan.





Ethiopia’s ambassador in South Sudan, Nabil Mahadi has held talks
with South Sudanese Foreign Minister, Mayiik Ayii Deng. The ambassador
has briefed the Foreign Minister on security and development issues
related to the joint border areas between Ethiopia and South Sudan. In
particular, he called for a lasting solution to the recurring
cross-border attacks by Murle militants targeting innocent civilians.
The Ambassador also emphasized the need to convene a joint cross-border
commission meeting soon to discuss the issue.





*******************





DPM & FM Demeke Mekonnen: HR6600, S3199 undermine Ethiopia’s sovereignty





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Ethiopia, Demeke
Mekonnen called on Ethiopians in the Diaspora to protest HR6600, S3199.
The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister made the call during his
virtual discussion with the Ethiopian Diaspora Community leaders and
representatives based in the U.S.





He said HR6600 and S3199 are drafted to nullify the struggles and to
regress achievements of Ethiopians all over the world in protecting the
sovereignty of their country. The resolutions are designed to make the
country dependent on the goodwill will of others to advance its
political, economic and security interests, besides severing the
relationships between the Ethiopian Diaspora with the homeland, he
added.





The Deputy Prime Minister said HR6600 and S. 3199 could not be
reflective of the longstanding and historical relations of Ethiopia and
the United States. The draft bills put the lives of ordinary Ethiopians
in danger rather than promoting peace and democracy in the country, he
added. He said Ethiopia and the US should strive to further cement their
historical and longstanding ties, but Ethiopia would not accept hand
twisting attempts stressing that the protection of the country’s
sovereignty is non-negotiable.





The Deputy Prime Minister appreciated the multifaceted support of
Ethiopians in the Diaspora extended to Ethiopia during its fight against
external intervention in its internal matters further calling the
Diaspora to demonstrate the same kind of support in protesting against
the proposed resolutions. He also explained the government’s measures
taken to ensure lasting peace and stability in the country.





Ambassador Fitsum Arega, Ethiopia’s ambassador in the United States,
on his part, said the draft resolutions, if passed, would be a huge blow
to the Ethiopian economy which has already battered due to the pandemic
and high cost of living. Rehabilitating conflicted affected people and
rebuilding destroyed infrastructure would be daunting under the exercise
of the draft bills, he added. The ambassador called on Ethiopians in
the Diaspora to employ all forms of communication to contact senators
and members of the congress to make them understand the dangers of the
resolutions to the relationships between the two countries and the
people of Ethiopia in general.





Attendees stressed that the resolutions targeted not a single
political party or individuals but Ethiopia and Ethiopians as a whole
further pledging to do their level best to protest the resolutions.





*******************





Declaration of a Humanitarian Truce by the Government of Ethiopia





The Government of Ethiopia has been taking measures to expedite the
provision of humanitarian aid to people in need in the Tigray region. To
this end, it has increased the number of United Nations humanitarian
flights and expedited through improved clearance procedures the delivery
of fuel and cash for payments by aid organizations. Flights for ICRC,
WHO and the European Union have been facilitated to deliver humanitarian
aid. The Government has also been working to facilitate the provision
of humanitarian assistance through the Abala-Mekelle route.





However, currently thousands from the Tigray region are trekking into
neighboring regions in search of assistance. While it is heartening to
see the fraternal bond and solidarity that is being demonstrated by
communities that are receiving and helping those in need of assistance,
the Government believes that the situation warrants urgent measures to
ensure that those in need are able to receive aid in their localities.
Alleviating the plight of those affected by the conflict is of the
utmost priority and a responsibility that the Government takes
seriously. The Government of Ethiopia is committed to exert maximum
effort to facilitate the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid into
the Tigray region.





Cognizant of the need to take extraordinary measures to save lives
and reduce human suffering, the Government of Ethiopia hereby declares
an indefinite humanitarian truce effective immediately. The Government
calls upon the donor community to redouble their generous contributions
to alleviate the situation and reiterates its commitment to work in
collaboration with relevant organizations to expedite the provision of
humanitarian assistance to those in need. The commitment being
undertaken by the Government of Ethiopia could have the desired outcome
of improving the humanitarian situation on the ground only to the extent
that it is reciprocated by the other side.  This decision is taken to
ensure the free flow of emergency humanitarian aid to all those in need
of assistance. To optimize the success of the humanitarian truce, the
Government calls upon the insurgents in Tigray to desist from all acts
of further aggression and withdraw from areas they have occupied in
neighboring regions.





The Government of Ethiopia hopes that this truce will substantially
improve the humanitarian situation on the ground and pave the way for
the resolution of the conflict in the northern Ethiopia without further
bloodshed.





Government communication service





24, March 2022





*******************





Ethiopia downplays accusations of soldiers over the death of 3 MSF staff in Tigray





Last Week on Thursday (March 17), the New York Times has published
under the title, “‘Finish Them Off’: Aid Workers, Found on Battlefield,
Executed by Soldiers” (https://www.nytimes.com/2022/03/17/world/africa/ethiopia-tigray-aid-workers-killed.html)
accusing Ethiopian government soldiers of murdering the three MSF
(Doctors without Borders), a Spaniard and Ethiopians, whose tragic
killings was announced last year on June 25, 2021.





The spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,
Ambassador Dina Mufti has addressed the issue yesterday during
delivering the Ministry’s biweekly press briefing. Regrettably, he said,
“other media outlets and social media trolls have echoed the story on
the stated newspaper without showing the slightest intention to further
investigate into the matter.”





To put the records straight here, the Ambassador recalled the
statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on June 25 last year
expressing condolences on the death of the three MSF staff members
underlining that the area was where TPLF actively operates. According to
the Ambassador, the government of Ethiopia had also expressed its
regret for the death of these MSF employees suggesting that the deceased
should have asked for a military escort to avoid such tragic killings.
In addition to that, Ambassador Dina said, the government of Ethiopia
had formed a group consisting of members from the ENDF, the Federal
Police, and the Ministry of Justice, to further probe into the matter,
although circumstances did not allow doing that for the area was under
the control of the TPLF.





The recent accusations of the Ethiopian government soldiers for
killing MSF staff members, such as the one by the New York Times, are
baseless, he said. The paper made its so-called investigation via
sources furnished by sympathizers of the TPLF in Tigray who claimed to
interview Ethiopian PoWs. He said no one in their right mind could take
such allegations seriously and testimonies of soldiers who could be
under every tactic of coercion and coaching by the TPLF. According to
Ambassador Dina, no other professional method was employed to make such a
conclusion than relying on the words of an unnamed reporter of The New
York Times who was said to have contributed from Mekelle, Ethiopia.





The government of Ethiopia notes that the case needs a thorough
investigation by relevant and competent bodies before reaching such an
erroneous conclusion, Ambassador Dina said. The government, as always,
is keen to work closely with MSF, he added.




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