A Week in the Horn 22.04.2022


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News in Brief





Deputy Prime Minister and
Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen confers with Ambassador Bankole Adeoye,
AU Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and Security





East African countries’ military intelligence agencies vow to scale up cooperation to help build a “peaceful and secure Africa”





Tanzania National Defense College research team pays experience sharing visit to Ethiopia





Ethiopia welcomes statement by the Russian Embassy on recruitment of soldiers





Africa and the African Union





The Chairperson of the African Union
Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, expresses his full solidarity and
renews his sincere condolences to the affected families, the Government
and people of South Africa following the devastating floods in the
Kwazulu-Natal province of the Republic of South Africa that has left
hundreds of people dead and caused massive destruction of homes and
infrastructure. In this regard, the Chairperson announces on Tuesday
(April 19) a donation of 150,000USD from the AU Emergency Fund in
support of the Government of South Africa response and rescue efforts.
The Chairperson re-affirms the unwavering support of and solidarity with
the people and Government of the Republic of South Africa during this
difficult time.





The African Union Commission (AUC) and the
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched
new guidelines for scaling up investments in agri-food systems for youth
in Africa, during the 32nd Session of the FAO Regional Conference for
Africa (ARC32). The Investment Guidelines for Youth in Agrifood Systems
in Africa provides practical “how to” steps to develop youth-focused and
youth-sensitive investment programmes that see youth as partners in
rural development, throughout all phases of the investment programme
cycle.





Spokesperson for the IGAD Executive
Secretary, Nuur Mohamud Sheekh stated that IGAD strongly condemns
Monday’s (April 18) mortar attack on Somalia’s Parliament that happened
when MPs were convening to discuss important matters. “We wish quick
recovery to the injured, and stand in solidarity with the Government and
people of Somalia in their fight against those undermining the peace.”
Nuur Mohamud Sheekh underlined.





Ethiopia





Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed extended condolences to South Africa after a
deadly flood hit the country’s east coast, killing more than 300
people. “My thoughts with Cyril Ramaphosa and fellow South Africans who
have been affected by heavy rains and flooding over the past few days,”
tweeted the Prime Minister on Thursday (April 19). “Ethiopia stands in
solidarity in these trying times,” he added. The flooding started early
in the week, sparking landslides that buried or swept away homes,
collapsed bridges and blocked key roadways.





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen had a
meeting on Thursday (April 14) at his office with Ambassador Bankole
Adeoye, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and
Security. (See article)





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen had a
meeting on Tuesday (April 19) at his office with Dr. Christopher Elias,
the President of the Global Development Division of the Bill and Melinda
Gates Foundation. The discussion between the two sides focused on ways
to strengthen the development programs that the foundation has been
undertaking in Ethiopia so far.





The East African military intelligence agencies had a two-day meeting
in Addis Ababa (April 15-16) that deliberated ways to collaborate on
mutual security concerns in the region. In delivering opening remarks,
Lt. Gen. Berhanu Bekele said the purpose of the consultation was to
jointly address security concerns in the region. He said: “the exchange
of information and experience among the military intelligence agencies
is crucial to work together to ensure lasting peace in East Africa.” In
concluding the forum on Saturday the countries who were in attendance
agreed to tackle security concerns, including terrorism to maintain
peace and stability in the region. (See article)





Officers from the Tanzania National Defense College were in Addis
Ababa last week on an educational visit to the Ethiopian Ministry of
Defense. The officers are currently undergoing training at the Tanzania
National Defense College and are from Nigeria, Tanzania, Burundi,
Zimbabwe and Rwanda. During their stay in Ethiopia, the officers visited
the Defense Research Center, War College, Peacekeeping Center and
Defense University with briefings provided by senior officers of the
stated institutions. (See article)





The Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Korea
held their first policy consultation meeting on Friday (April 22).
Ethiopian Finance State Minister, Semereta Sewasew and Korean Ambassador
to Ethiopia Kang Seokhee have represented their respective countries in
the consultation and co-chaired the meeting. Addressing the meeting,
State Minister Semereta noted that such a platform will have paramount
significance in deepening cooperation and cementing bilateral ties
between Ethiopia and Korea. Kang Seokhee, Korean Ambassador, for his
part, said his country is committed to cementing its and continuing to
be a true friend of Ethiopia in many aspects.





Ethiopia has been elected to the Executive Board of the World Food
Program (WFP), according to the Permanent Mission of Ethiopia to the
United Nations (UN). “We look forward to contributing to the work of the
world’s largest humanitarian organization in its efforts to support
countries change lives in difficult circumstances all around the world,
including Ethiopia,” the Permanent Mission noted.  The Executive Board
is WFP’s supreme governing body. Comprising 36 States Members of the
United Nations or members of the Food and Agriculture Organization of
the United Nations (FAO), the Board provides intergovernmental support,
policy direction and supervision of the activities of WFP.





The Ethiopian Institution of the Ombudsman (EIO) reported on
Wednesday (April 20) massacres and severe infrastructural destruction,
in the Amhara and Afar regional states due to the TPLF invasions. The
survey was conducted in seven zones of Amhara and two zones of Afar
regions. Some 1,217 people were raped in the Amhara region,
infrastructure was deliberately destroyed and 1.8 million people were
made dependent on emergency food relief, according to the institution.





The Ethiopian government on Wednesday (April 20) said it welcomes the
statement issued by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Addis
Ababa refuting the “unfounded” reports of the recruitment of Ethiopians
to join the Russian Armed Forces. (See statement)





Ethiopia’s first-ever Innovation and Technology Talent Development
Institute, which is located in Burayu, in Oromia Regional State Special
Zone Surrounding Finfinne, and is under construction, will start
accepting students as of the next academic year, according to the
Ministry of Innovation and Technology. This was stated when members of
the House of Peoples’ Representatives (HoPR) Human Resource Development
and Technology and Public Expenditure Management and Control Standing
Committees visited the construction site of the Institute and were
briefed about the progress made so far. The Innovation and Technology
Talent Development Institute will enroll 500 students in the next
academic year. When completed, the institute will have the capacity to
enroll 1000 students.





Finance Minister Ahmed Shide discussed on Friday (April 22) with UK
Minister for Africa at the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office
the current situation in Ethiopia. The two exchanged views on the
progress towards peace in Ethiopia and the humanitarian situation in the
country. Vicky Ford reiterated UK’s continued support to the people of
Ethiopia in various sectors. Finance Minister Ahmed Shide recently
attended the annual meetings of the World Bank Group and the
International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C.





The Ethiopian Diaspora Agency concluded its five days study visit in
India on Saturday (April 16) which was scheduled from April 11-15, 2022.
The delegation, including experts from GIZ-Ethiopia was led by the
Deputy Director of the Agency Dr. Mohammed Endris.  The visit was aimed
at sharing experiences and exchanging views with similar Indian
organizations that deal with the diaspora/overseas citizens.





Eritrea





Senior Eritrean delegation composed of  Osman Saleh, Minister of
Foreign Affairs, and Presidential Adviser  Yemane Gebreab that was on a
five-day working visit to Sudan delivered a message of President Isaias
Afwerki to Gen. Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, President of the Republic of
Sudan. During its working visit, the senior Eritrean delegation met and
held talks with President Abdel Fattah Al-Burhan, Vice President
Mohammed Hamdan Duglo, government officials, and a wide range of
Sudanese political actors as well as community leaders. At the meetings,
the Eritrean delegation underlined that Eritrea strongly supports a
Sudanese approach and solution to the difficult challenges the country
is facing. The delegation further noted that Eritrea has full confidence
in the Sudanese people’s capability to forge a path towards a peaceful,
stable, and united nation that meets their aspirations.





Kenya





Mwai Kibaki, Kenya’s third president has been announced dead aged 90
on the morning of Friday (April 22). The announcement was made by
President Uhuru Kenyatta who succeeded him in 2013. “It is a sad day for
us as a country. We have lost a great leader, the former president Mwai
Kibaki,” President Kenyatta said in a news conference from State
House.”I order and direct that in the testimony of high esteem that all
Kenyans held for Mwai Kibaki, the country will hold a period of national
mourning until sunset on the day he will be buried. All flags will fly
at half-mast during this period,” he added.





Kenya is committed to putting in place an adequate legislative and
regulatory framework to provide strict compliance mechanisms for
handling and disposal of radioactive waste. Kenya Nuclear Regulatory
Authority (KNRA) interim Chairman Prof. Dickson Andala said on Thursday
(April 21) that the country was also in the process of enacting laws
that are supportive of the development of nuclear technologies
infrastructure and their long-term sustainability.





The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kenya, Ambassador Raychelle Omamo
received Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Ethiopia Meles
Alem at her office on Wednesday (April 20). Ambassador Raychelle stated
during the meeting that Ethiopia and Kenya have a longstanding fraternal
relationship that could be a role model for the Horn of Africa. The
Kenyan Foreign Minister further expressed her country’s keen interest in
enhancing the bilateral relationship. She appreciated the government of
Ethiopia’s peacebuilding initiatives, mentioning the proposed National
Dialogue and efforts to rehabilitate areas affected by the conflict in
the northern part of the country. On the occasion, Ambassador Meles Alem
conveyed a message from the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of
Foreign Affairs, Demeke Mekonnen, addressed to the Minister. He pointed
out that the historical friendship between the two countries has scaled
up to cover multiple areas, including political, economic, and
people-to-people ties.





Somalia





Somalia’s newly elected parliament convened for the first time on
Saturday (April 16) bringing Somalia a step closer to electing a new
president. Elections in Somalia follow a complex indirect model, whereby
state legislatures and clan delegates pick lawmakers for the national
parliament, who in turn choose the president. Nearly 300 lawmakers were
sworn in Thursday — already more than a year behind schedule.





Al-Shabaab has claimed responsibility for the mortar attack that
targeted the Somali parliament on Monday (April 18) while the country’s
newly elected lawmakers were meeting for the second time since taking
office. Mortar shells landed near the parliament building in the capital
Mogadishu, injuring several people. No lawmakers were injured during
the attack. Officials had been discussing setting dates for
parliamentary elections to choose speakers for the lower and upper
houses and the next stage in a process to elect the new president. They
had agreed to elect the speaker of the Upper House on 26 April and that
of the Lower House the following day.





A poor start to the rainy season in the Horn of Africa has added to
fears that the worst drought in decades could soon have catastrophic
results, with the crisis worsened by the war in Ukraine driving up food
prices and diverting international attention, the WFP said on Tuesday
(April 19). More than 16 million people—including many children—are
already in dire need of food aid in Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, which
are now staring at an unprecedented fourth consecutive failed rainy
season, having received below average rains so far this March to May wet
season.





South Sudan





South Sudan President Salva Kiir and a number of senior government
officials visited the United State Arab Emirates (UAE) for a three-day
diplomatic mission, the presidency announced on Monday (April 18). The
presidency spokesperson, Ateny Wek Ateny said, “The president will hold
bilateral meetings with leaders of UAE on areas in which South Sudan and
the United Arab Emirates can further strengthen their relations and
cooperation in areas of mutual interest”.





The South Sudanese government has appealed to the United Nations
Interim Force for Abyei (UNISFA) to intensify its operations and prevent
the recurring attacks in the contested oil-producing region. In an
interview with the media on Wednesday (April 20), South Sudan’s Minister
for East African Affairs, Deng Alor Kuol said the Sudan government was
informed about the situation Abyei as efforts continue to ensure there
is stability and peaceful co-existence of people living in the disputed
region.





Sudan





The Director of Economic Cooperation Department and Regional
Integration of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),
Dr. Osman Babiker said on Monday (April 18) that the IGAD has launched
studies on solar system complex and policies of regional renewable
energy in four countries including Sudan, in the framework of the Sahra
and Energy Initiative in cooperation with the African Development Bank
(2022- 2026). African Development Fund (ADF) announced recently its
approval of a 5.5 million dollar grant for the IGAD to fund the second
phase of the energy project from the desert, where the board of
directors of the AFD agreed on technical assistance amounting to 5.5
million dollars to commence Sahara initiative to be as pioneer energy in
the Eastern Africa countries, including Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and
Sudan which is known as the Regional Energy Project for East Africa.





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





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke
Mekonnen confers with Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, AU Commissioner for
Political Affairs Peace and Security





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Demeke Mekonnen had a
meeting on Thursday (April 14) at his office with  Ambassador Bankole
Adeoye, African Union Commissioner for Political Affairs Peace and
Security.





During their discussion, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign
Minister noted the constructive peace-building initiatives that the
Government of Ethiopia has been undertaking so far.





He said the release of high-profile political figures from prison,
the lifting of the state of emergency before its due time, and the
proposed National Dialogue demonstrate the Government’s commitment to
ensuring lasting peace in the country.





The Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister stressed that the
Ethiopian Government took into account the well-being of its citizens in
the Tigray region when declaring the indefinite humanitarian truce that
paved the way for unfettered access to humanitarian aid in the region.





In connection with that, he said, aside from the frequent
humanitarian flights made to Mekelle, the delivery of aid to Tigray has
been facilitated via road transport, including yesterday’s WFP and
UN-led humanitarian convoy that headed to Mekelle carrying food items
and fuel.





The two sides also underscored the need to encourage and support the
peace initiatives of the AU High Representative for the Horn of Africa
(HoA) region,  Olusegun Obasanjo.





Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen reaffirmed
to Ambassador Bankole Adeoye that Ethiopia would remain committed to
the peace initiative of the former Nigerian President under the auspices
of the AUC.





Discussing the trilateral negotiations over the Grand Ethiopian
Renaissance Dam, the Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister
reiterated Ethiopia’s firm commitment to resume the AU-led negotiations
maintaining its stance for a win-win outcome.





Ambassador Bankole Adeoye, on his part, appreciated the peace
measures taken by the Ethiopian Government, further expressing hope that
the initiatives would bring about durable peace in the country.





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





East African countries’ military intelligence agencies vow to scale up cooperation to help build a “peaceful and secure Africa”





The East African military intelligence agencies had a two-day meeting
in Addis Ababa (April 15-16) that deliberated ways to collaborate on
mutual security concerns in the region. In delivering opening remarks,
Lt. Gen. Berhanu Bekele said the purpose of the consultation was to
jointly address security concerns in the region. He said: “the exchange
of information and experience among the military intelligence agencies
is crucial to work together to ensure lasting peace in East Africa.” In
concluding the forum on Saturday the countries who were in attendance
agreed to tackle security concerns, including terrorism to maintain
peace and stability in the region.





The forum was attended by the representatives of the military
agencies of Ethiopia, Djibouti, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Tanzania,
and Uganda. The countries affirmed their commitment to join hands in
tackling regional challenges across a range of areas. They, in
particular, mentioned their agreement to work on protecting the safety
of cyberspace and meet border security challenges.





Their agreement also included working together to protect the
environment, combat security issues that might be posed by social media
use, and other regional challenges of social issues, including youth
unemployment.   The Ministry of Defense of Ethiopia announced on its
Facebook page that the countries that attended the forum, have also
signed a memorandum of understanding to jointly combat anti-peace
elements and terrorists in the region.





Given the enormous humanmade and natural problems the region has
faced these days, such a pledge to join hands among the East African
countries for cooperation is laudable. Environmental degradation which
often exhibits its effect through recurring droughts, terrorism, notably
through the Somalia-based terrorist jihadist fundamentalist group- the
Al-Shabab, ethnic-based clashes, political and economic instability
coupled with a huge number of unemployed youth contributed a lot to
making the region volatile that continued to make peace and stability in
the region even more fragile.





Aside from discussing common regional security challenges, the forum
furnished participants with experience-sharing sessions.  In connection
with this, field visits were made to the Headquarters of the Ethiopian
Defense Forces, the Information Network Security Agency (INSA), and the
Ethiopian Artificial Intelligence Institute.





In wrapping up the meeting Saturday, the forum decided to make its
next round meeting in Uganda, while applauding Ethiopia for successfully
hosting the Addis Ababa-held forum.  





The countries in East Africa seem to have scaled up their commitment
to tackling shared security issues. It is to be recalled that a 15-day
training was conducted in Kenya last month for members of the Defense
Forces, Police, and civilian crew drawn from Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan,
Uganda, Burundi, Djibouti, Somalia, Seychelles, and Comoros in a bid to
ensure the East Africa Standby Force make preparations fitting the
current security issues in the region.





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





Tanzania National Defense College research team pays experience sharing visit to Ethiopia





Officers from the Tanzania National Defense College were in Addis
Ababa last week on an educational visit to the Ethiopian Ministry of
Defense. The officers are currently undergoing training at the Tanzania
National Defense College and are from Nigeria, Tanzania, Burundi,
Zimbabwe and Rwanda. During their stay in Ethiopia, the officers visited
the Defense Research Center, War College, Peacekeeping Center and
Defense University with briefings provided by senior officers of the
stated institutions.





Following his welcoming speech to the officers, Major General Teshome
Gemechu, Director General of the Public Relation and Information
Directorate said Ethiopia’s immense role in helping to protect the peace
and security of the region would furnish important inputs to the
research team from Tanzania’s military college. “Africa needs to
maintain its own peace that necessitates sharing of experiences and
commitment to solidify unity,” he stressed.





Brigadier General Yitayal Gelaw, the head of the Center for Defense
Studies and Research thanked the Tanzanian team for choosing Ethiopia to
be part of its research on the experience of countries in the region in
defense, security, training and technology transfer. It is to be
recalled that Ethiopia and Tanzania signed a military cooperation
agreement last month (March 28) to enhance military cooperation between
the two countries.





The officers also had a meeting with Ambassador Fissaha Sawel,
Director General of the Directorate of African Affairs at the Ministry
of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia who briefed them the current situation in
Ethiopia. The Ambassador also explained the unfair external
interventions and pressures that threatened the sovereignty of the
country, which needs commitment to support Ethiopia from fellow African
states.





Ambassador Fisseha also briefed the Tanzanian team about the long
history of foreign relations and diplomacy of Ethiopia that was shaped
by religious and economic interactions and relations among various
groups of the Ethiopian society. He also mentioned Ethiopia’s laudable
participation in bilateral and multilateral fora.





The Ambassador discussed the wrangling over the construction and
filling of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, including outstanding
issues on the negations with downstream states. He told the Tanzanian
research team that Ethiopia has the right to utilize its natural
resources equitably. He said the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam project
is a development agenda that does not significantly harm the riparian
countries. He said securitizing and internationalizing this development
project is unnecessary further stressing that the GERD file should fall
under the purview of the African Union.





The Tanzanian National Defense College delegates also appreciated the
briefing reiterating the need for African countries to stand together
to protect their rights. The military officials also discussed with the
Ambassador about specific issues that create opportunities for their
respective countries to cooperate with Ethiopia.





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





Ethiopia welcomes statement by the Russian Embassy on recruitment of soldiers





The Government of Ethiopia welcomes the Statement issued by the
Embassy of the Russian Federation in Addis Ababa refuting the unfounded
reports of recruitment for the Russian Armed Forces. The Embassy has
clarified that it has not been accepting any applications for
recruitment and that it abides by the 1961 Vienna Convention on
Diplomatic Relations.





The Government of Ethiopia agrees with the Embassy that any such
recruitment would have violated the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic
Relations as it would have been contrary to the functions of a
diplomatic mission. It would have also violated this Convention with
respect to the obligation of diplomatic missions to respect the laws and
regulations of the host State, as any such recruitment by any Embassy
or enlistment of any Ethiopian would have violated Ethiopian law.





The Government of Ethiopia reiterates its appreciation to the Embassy for its prompt action.




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