A Week in the Horn(08/09/2017)
News in brief
The United Nations Security Council visit to Addis Ababa….
…Ethiopia, Security Council President outlines the work program for September ….
...UNSC members strongly condemn North Korea's latest nuclear test
Kenya's Presidential election to be re-run on October 17
Ethiopia's annual Conference for Ambassadors, Consul Generals and D-Gs
Ministers attend cooperation conferences in the Republic of Korea
UN Agency Directors visit Ethiopia, call for more effort to deal with food insecurity
AMISOM's Military Operations Coordinating Committee meets in Addis Ababa
The effectiveness of IGAD's Institutional Capacity Building Programs
President and Prime Minister wish all Ethiopians a successful New Year
News in brief
Africa and the African Union
Ethiopia is chairing the Security Council for September and Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia to the UN, gave a press conference on Friday (September 1) to present the Council's programme of work for this month. In addition to the problems caused by the DPRK's missile launches, he said one of the most important issues on which he wanted to see progress during the month was South Sudan where progress was achievable if there was enough good will and commitment. It was, he said, necessary for the Security Council to speak with one voice. The Security Council held its annual consultative meeting with members of the AU Peace and Security Council this week and South Sudan and Somalia were at the top of the agenda. (See articles)
Ambassador Don Yamamato took up the position of Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa in the US State Department this week. Ambassador Yamamato was Ambassador to Djibouti 2000 to 2003 and to Ethiopia 2006 - 2009. He served as Acting Assistant Secretary previously in 2013 and was Charge d'affaires in Somalia in 2016. He has also held senior posts in Afghanistan in 2014 and 2015.
Defence ministers and government representatives from Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Chad, Egypt, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, South Africa, Niger, Sudan and Uganda meeting under the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis (ACIRC) Volunteer Nations in Kampala on Tuesday last week (August 29) agreed to set up a rapid response force. They agreed to meet in October to forward recommendations to the Heads of State. The force will act as an interim multinational initiative before the permanent African Standby Force (ASF) comes into operation. Its deployment would be a responsibility of the AU Peace and Security Council in consultation with volunteering countries.
Ethiopia, Kenya, Zambia and Mozambique have participated in the 11th China-Northeast Asia Expo, held September 1 to 5 in Changchun, capital of northeastern Jilin Province. Representatives presented various collaborative projects ranging from grain and dairy processing, light manufacturing, to machinery and construction. Others attending came from Russia, Mongolia, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Republic of Korea and Japan as well as China.
IGAD has been making significant progress in strengthening the capacity building of IGAD member states, through the activities of its Capacity Building Program against Terrorism (ICPAT) and its Security Sector Program (ISSP). The head of ISSP detailed the security threats IGAD faces as well as its response at the weekend (September 3). (See article)
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome in a New Year message to the nation called on all Ethiopians to help ensure the country's renaissance. He was speaking at the launch of a ten-day program of events across the country to usher in the Ethiopian New Year 2010 which starts on September 11, 2017. Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn also wished all Ethiopians a happy New Year and called on people to continue their efforts to promote growth and the country's renaissance in the coming Ethiopian New Year. (See article)
Prime Minister Hailemariam told a visiting delegation from the All-China Federation of Industry and Commerce this week that Ethiopia would continue to work to attract foreign direct investment in all sectors to bring industrial development. He said the government was creating a favorable investment environment. The President of Huajian Group, HuaRong Zhang, told reporters more Chinese companies were coming to Ethiopia and investing, particularly in the textile industry. He said his belief the number would continue to rise. He said the Huajian Group alone planned to create more than 15,000 jobs in the future.
The Annual Conference for Ethiopia's Ambassadors, Consul Generals and Director Generals was held in Addis Ababa and Hawassa from August 31 to September 8, under the theme "Institutional Transformation for Success of Our Foreign Relation Policies." (See article)
Minister of Finance, Ahmed Shide attended the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference held in Seoul, South Korea, this week (September 4-6); and Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Dr. Seleshi Bekele, participated in the Global Green Hub Korea conference, also in Korea this week (September 4-7). (See article)
The heads of three UN Agencies, FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva, President of IFAD Gilbert Fossoun Houngbo and WFP Executive Director David Beasley visited Ethiopia September 1-4. They visited Somali and Tigray Regional States and held talks with Ethiopian officials, UNECA and other partner organizations to discuss the best way to strengthen their support to the country. (See article)
USAID administrator Mark Green said on Thursday last week (August 30), after a meeting with Prime Minister Hailemariam, that the United States would give an additional $91 million in additional humanitarian assistance. He said the funding would provide additional emergency food assistance and vital medical care.
China and Ethiopia signed an emergency humanitarian food aid agreement on Wednesday (September 6) for 15 million dollars of wheat to support people affected by drought.
Denmark's Minister of Development Ulla Tørnæs who visited Gode in the Somali Regional State last week has decided to provide 25 million kroner in aid to help alleviate the ongoing drought: "This would support the work regarding strengthening Ethiopia's own ability to overcome drought." The money will go to a program dedicated to pregnant or breastfeeding women and children under five years of age. It is expected to assist over 150,000 people, including 100,000 children.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh visited Astana, capital of Kazakhstan, this week where he received a Global Islamic Finance Award on Wednesday (September 6), in appreciation of his untiring efforts to promote and develop Islamic finance.
President Ismail Omar Guelleh chaired a meeting of the Council of Ministers on Monday this week (September 4). One item considered was a draft law to ratify an Agreement between Djibouti and Turkey on cooperation in the field of energy. The project aims to establish a framework for technical cooperation in the fields of development of different renewable energy sources in Djibouti.
The Commander of the Coast Guard, Colonel Wais Omar Bogoreh, met the new commander of the Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force, Commander Koji Saito, and Commander Katsuhiko Sugiyama of the Japanese Coast Guard Piracy Office, in Djibouti on Sunday (September 3). Commander Saito noted the Coast Guard was an important tool in the field of regional maritime security and security in the Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
The United Kingdom on Monday (September 4) renewed its travel advisory for Eritrea cautioning its citizens against all travel to the borders of the country with Sudan, Ethiopia and Djibouti. It said constraints on travel within Eritrea meant the British embassy in Asmara was unable to offer consular assistance to British nationals outside Asmara. It also noted the length of time taken to process entry visas.
The Swiss Federal Administrative Court has ruled that Eritreans who have completed their military service can safely be sent home from Switzerland if their requests for asylum are rejected. In a verdict made public last week, the Court said those who had performed their military service were not threatened with treatment that violates human rights. The U.N. special rapporteur on Eritrea said this year that Eritreans continued to suffer arbitrary arrest, incommunicado detention, enforced disappearances and a national service system that amounted to enslavement, and possible crimes against humanity. Eritreans are the largest group of asylum seekers in Switzerland, with nearly 14,500 citizens in the asylum process at the end of July, and 9,000 having obtained temporary protection or refugee status.
The Chairman of Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission, Wafula Chebukati, issued a statement on Monday (September 4) announcing October 17 as the date for a new presidential election. This followed Supreme Court Chief Justice David Maraga's announcement on Friday last week (September 1) that the Presidential election on August 8 had not been conducted in accordance with the constitution of Kenya. Four of the six justices of the Supreme Court found that irregularities had tainted the integrity of the vote. The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission declared President Kenyatta the winner last month by a margin of more than 1.4 million votes. (See article)
A statement from the Office of the Prime Minister on Wednesday (September 6) said the handover of Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) commander, Abdikarim Sheikh Muse, to Ethiopia was based on agreements made in June 2015 and May 2016 which recognized that A-Shabaab and the ONLF as terrorist organizations and threats to Somalia's national security. It noted that the two governments maintained joint collaboration and activities against these two armed groups. The statement said Abdikarim Sheikh Muse had links with Al-Shabaab and had organized acts against national security.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has ordered senior staff and diplomats at the Ministry not to talk to the media. A letter sent to all diplomatic missions cautioned staff from talking to the press without permission from the Ministry in Mogadishu. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ambassador Ali Mohamed Ali also banned all diplomats below the rank of representative from giving details to the media on any subject or speaking on behalf of the government in Mogadishu.
AMISOM's Military Operations Coordination met in Addis Ababa on Tuesday (September 5). The meeting was attended by Chiefs of Defense Staff and representatives of AMISOM Police and Troop Contributing Countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda) and Somalia. (See article)
The new Deputy Special Representative of the African Union Commission Chairperson for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, toured AMISOM Sector one headquarters at the beginning of the week. Uganda Contingent Commander, Brigadier Muhanga Kayanja, briefed Mr. Mulongo on the problems of AMISOM, including lack of air capability and poor condition of Infantry Fighting Vehicles as well as shortfalls in communication, as well as it successes in enabling the recent Somali elections, and clearing Mogadishu and other key towns such as Marka, Afgoye and Barawe of Al-Shabaab.
A three-day conference on peace initiatives aiming to end clan hostilities in Galkayo was opened on Wednesday this week (September 6) by the Deputy Presidents of Puntland, Abdihakim Omar Amey, and of Galmudug, Mohamud Abdi Hashi. Attended by officials and delegates from Puntland and Galmudug states, it focused on evaluating the peace initiatives following the peace agreement signed at the beginning of the year by the respective state presidents. Joint police patrols for Galkayo were launched in July.
President Kiir announced he was granting an amnesty to Lt. General Thomas Cirilo on Monday (September 4). General Cirilo, former deputy chief of logistic set up a new rebel movement, the National Salvation Front in March, accusing the military of running the army on ethnic lines and calling on President Kiir to vacate his office. A presidential spokesperson said the issues General Cirilo raised would be addressed through the national dialogue.
In a meeting with religious leaders on Sunday (September 3) President Kiir said he rejected any peace agreement imposed from outside the country. He emphasized he was personally committed to ending the war: "I know that in order for any agreement to endure, peace cannot be imposed from the outside. It must be negotiated directly by the leaders who are required to make the hard choices and compromises that take on history." He said: "We are determined to stop this war, even without being threatened because these are our people and the country is ours." He told the religious leaders that the church had an important role to play and urged them to help in preaching and disseminating messages of peace, reconciliation, forgiveness.
Cabinet Affairs Minister, Martin Elia Lomuro, said on Tuesday (September 5), the government would not allow automatic renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission in South Sudan in December. He said whatever needed to be done needed to be subject to consultations and discussions before action. He said the government had been hearing "genuine concerns from the people about the mandate of UNMISS". Renewal of the mandate of the UN Mission needed to be done with the approval of the people and the government. The Minister of Information Michael Makuei Lueth also said last week that the government would review the mandate of the UN in the country. He said: "This idea of automatic renewal without the involvement of the government of South Sudan is not acceptable and will not happen." He also added that the mandate of the Regional Protection Force needed to be reviewed as Juba was at peace.
The Head of USAID, Mark Green, ended a two-day visit to Juba on Saturday (September 2). He told reporters that President Kiir had disagreed with USAID's assessment that there were problems with humanitarian access. He said he had strongly urged President Kiir to stop military operations and the obstructing of humanitarian access and work for viable peace. He said he had also told President Kiir that Washington was seriously reconsidering its policy towards his government. He said the situation had deteriorated to the point where a serious re-examination of U.S. policy was appropriate.
The US Treasury Department announced sanctions on three South Sudan's officials on Wednesday (September 6). The Treasury Department imposed sanctions on General Malek Reuben Riak Rengu, the army's deputy chief of staff in charge of military procurement; Michael Makuei Lueth, South Sudan's Information Minister; and on Paul Malong Awan, chief of staff of the army until he was fired in May this year. The Treasury Department said the three had personally profited from a climate of corruption in government and the sanctions were in response to the deteriorating humanitarian situation in South Sudan and the role of officials in undermining stability and peace.
Vice President Hassabo Abdel-Rahman is attending the meeting of the African Union High-level Committee on Libya being held in Brazzaville on Friday (September 8). The meeting chaired by Congolese President, Sassou Nguesso, is being held at Head of State level to discuss ways to achieve reconciliation and restore stability and peace in Libya. The members of the committee are: Algeria, Chad, Egypt, Mauritania, Niger, the Republic of Congo, South Africa, Sudan, and Tunisia.
The United Nations released US$21 million to provide food support, nutrition, water and sanitation, health and other assistance to vulnerable people in Darfur region, South Kordofan and Blue Nile states. Marta Ruedas, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Sudan, said this aid would address both immediate needs through emergency, life-saving assistance and strengthen resilience of the most vulnerable and their communities to future and recurring shocks. Outbreaks of acute watery diarrhoea and the continuing influx of refugees from South Sudan have been straining resources and increasing pressure on the basic services in these areas.
The United Nations Security Council visit to Addis Ababa…
The United Nations Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) held their 11th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting in Addis Ababa this week as part of their regular dialogue within the framework of the UN-AU partnership framework. The Security Council made a three-day visit (September 6-8) with representatives of the 15 member countries of UN Security Council discussing about issues of peace and security in the continent, with particular reference to South Sudan, Somalia and Chad Basin, with the African Union Peace and Security Council.
The last meeting of the two Councils was held in New York in May last year, and in April this year UN Secretary-General António Guterres and AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, signed a joint AU-UN framework for enhanced partnership in peace and security issues. This joint AU-UN framework aims to provide a blueprint for early and continuous engagement between the two organizations before, during and after conflict. It also aims at institutionalizing the strategic partnership between the two organizations as well as provide the basis for practical cooperation on peace operations. Ethiopia, the Council president in September, led the mission to Addis Ababa this week. Welcoming the visit, it expressed the hope that this year's joint meeting, coming after the signing of the framework agreement, would reflect the significance of the commitment by the two organizations.
Ahead of the Joint Consultative Meeting on Friday, members of the two Councils held informal consultations on issues related to their relationship, and the Security Council delegation met with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, and with senior officials from the UN Office to the AU and the AU Commission. The Prime Minister briefed members of the Security Council on peace and security in the region, particularly in South Sudan and Somalia. He underlined the need for financial support for AMISOM and for the revitalization of South Sudan peace process which IGAD was currently working on. He pointed out that this had to be sustainable and dependable. Financing AMISOM had become very difficult, he said, adding that the international community must to play a role in the issue of peace and stability in Somalia, South Sudan and other areas. The situation demanded cooperation. The issue of conflicts in the region should not necessarily be left to Africa; the Security Council also had a responsibility as it was a global body. In addition, Special Representative of the Secretary-General to the AU Haile Menkerios; UN Special Representative for South Sudan, David Shearer; UN Special Representative for Somalia Michael Keating; and UN Special Envoy for Sudan and South Sudan Nicholas Haysom, briefed the Security Council delegation on issues of peace and security in the continent, with particular reference to South Sudan, Somalia and the Chad Basin.
The 11th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting on Friday (September 8) took place in a constructive atmosphere, which facilitated substantial exchange of views and convergence of approach on different topics. As expected, the discussions during the meeting focused on the contemporary situation in Africa related to South Sudan, Somalia and Chad Basin, as well as the enhancement of AU and UN cooperation on peace and security issues and support for AU activities in these areas.
On Somalia, the focus was on recent political and security developments and on the various possible ways of providing support for security sector reform and institution building. The ongoing constitutional review process and the progress made towards the selection of the new Constitutional Review Commission of the Federal Parliament, as well as developments related to curtailing Al Shabaab's activities, were major areas of the Council's discussion. On 30 August, the Security Council adopted a resolution renewing the authorization of AMISOM until 31 May 2018 as well as a reduction of AMISOM personnel by 31 December to a maximum of 21,626 (a reduction of 500 uniformed personnel).
On South Sudan, the dire humanitarian and security situation was the key areas of discussion. On August 17, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) released a statement announcing that the number of South Sudanese refugees in Uganda has passed the one million mark. According to OCHA, some 6 million people, approximately half the population, are severely food-insecure. About 1.89 million people are Internally Displaced Persons and 1.97 million persons have fled to neighboring countries. Among the IDPs approximately 218,000 people are being protected in seven UN Mission in South Sudan Protection of Civilian sites. Against this backdrop, members of the two Councils discussed steps that they might take to help achieve a sustainable ceasefire and revitalize the political process. The Council members were also briefed on the IGAD efforts to encourage the political process through the High-Level Revitalization Forum for the Implementation of the August 2015 Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan. The Forum is expected to convene in October.
Council members deliberated at great length on issues of the Lake Chad Basin and the several threats posed by terrorist attacks, particularly by Boko Haram and the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as the humanitarian crisis in the Basin, largely caused by the violence associated with Boko Haram. More than 2.3 million people have been displaced across the region, and according to OCHA, food insecurity and malnutrition has reached critical levels across four countries of the Basin, Cameroon, Chad, Nigeria and Niger. Members of the two Councils also discussed ways to mobilize and deploy regional and international support for the conflict-affected populations of the region.
Members of the two Councils also discussed ways for the UN to enhance support for AU peace operations authorized by the Council, with particular reference to the predictability, sustainability and flexibility of financing these operations. They also discussed the progress made by the AU toward implementation of benchmarks for self-financing, financial transparency, conduct and discipline, and human rights frameworks. UN Resolution 2320 (2016) in November stressed that the AU-UN partnership should be underpinned by mutual consultations between the Council and the AU PSC "based on respective comparative advantage, burden sharing, consultative decision making, joint analysis and planning missions and assessment visits by the UN and AU, monitoring and evaluation, transparency and accountability".
In underlining their cooperation on peace and security issues, the African Union Peace and Security Council and the United Nations Security Council renewed their commitments to enhance cooperation, with a view to consolidating peace where it has been restored. They underscored their determination to further deepen their existing partnership, a partnership that aims to promote peace and security and at prevent crises and conflicts, as well as providing support to peace building and post-conflict reconstruction efforts in Africa and elsewhere.
…Ethiopia, Security Council President outlines the work program for September ….
At a press conference on September 1, Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, Ethiopia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations, and Council President for the month, outlined the Council's program of work for September. This would include a High-level Open Debate on United Nations Peacekeeping Reform on September 20 to consider recommendations contained in the report of the High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations. Ethiopia is the largest African contributor to UN peacekeeping forces and the second largest contributor in the world. It attaches great importance to the reform and strengthening of UN Peacekeeping so that it could be fit to address the challenges of the 21st century. Ethiopia also chairs the Security Council's Ad-Hoc Working Group on Conflict Prevention and Resolution in Africa and in its activities in the Council, tries to play a constructive role in finding peace in conflict affected countries and areas and contributing to help address global problems such as terrorism, nuclear non-proliferation and the international refugee crisis.
Ambassador Tekeda noted that the meeting, in parallel with the general debate of the seventy-second session of the General Assembly, will be chaired by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn. It would also reflect on recommendations made by the Secretary-General and his predecessor regarding peacekeeping reform. Ambassador Takeda said the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres; Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission; and José Ramos-Horta, former President of Timor-Leste, who chaired the High-level Independent Panel, would brief the open debate. "If I am not too optimistic, I think we can expect about 10 or so Heads of State and Government" to participate in the meeting, he said. In response to a question he said there was no confirmed list of speakers at High-level Debate, only an informal list, adding, when asked that he had no information on the participation of US President Donald Trump.
Ambassador Tekeda also noted that the Security Council would leave New York on 5 September for Addis Ababa for its 11th Annual Joint Consultative Meeting with the African Union Peace and Security Council. A Joint United Nations-African Union Framework for enhanced partnership to address common challenges of peace and security in the African continent was signed by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the AU Commission Chairperson, Moussa Faki Mahamat, on April 19. Ambassador Tekeda said there would be an informal meeting between the two bodies on Thursday (September 7) and the formal Joint Consultation session would be held on Friday (September 8) and would address the situation in Somalia, South Sudan and the Lake Chad region. During the month, the Security Council will be have briefings and consultations on the activities of UNAMID in Darfur from the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, Jean-Pierre Lacroix will brief on Darfur and on UNMISS in South Sudan and the deployment of the Regional Protection Force from Special Representative David Shearer. There will also be a briefing and consultations on the activities of UNSOM by Special Representative Michael Keating and the Special Representative of the AU Commission Chairperson for Somalia, Ambassador Francisco Madeira.
Other items on the agenda included the Security Council's consideration of a report of the Security Council Committee established pursuant to resolution 1718 (2006) on the Democratic People's Republic of Korea on September 11. He noted that two meetings on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts were scheduled. The first, on September 27, would focus on aviation security; the second, the next day, would feature a briefing by the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Office. A resolution on the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) would be adopted on September 14; and Mark Lowcock, the new Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, would brief the Security Council on Syria on September 27.
In response to a question as to whether Ethiopia would concentrate on African concerns, Ambassador Tekeda said the Council's mandate focused on international peace and security. Africa, he said, suffered from a lack of peace and security, and he would be satisfied with even a small level of progress. He expressed hope that progress that had been achieved in Somalia would continue. He said the Security Council was following developments on elections carefully, noting that Kenya had been an example of peace and stability in the region. Asked to identify a priority security issue for Africa, he expressed hope to make progress on the situation in South Sudan, for the people and the region. He noted that Security Council visit to Ethiopia would include meetings with high-level government officials. On the issue of the killing of two of the members of the Panel of Experts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said there was a need to work with that country's Government, which had a great responsibility to ensure that no stone remained unturned and that the killers were brought to justice.
On other areas, Ambassador Tekeda said the Security Council had held consultations several days ago on the current situation in Myanmar, and the issue would be followed up. In response to a question on recent reports of torture in Venezuela, he said the issue had been raised in the Security Council, but that it would be unlikely to be included on September's schedule.
….UNSC members strongly condemn North Korea's latest nuclear test
The first formal meeting of the Security Council after Ethiopia assumed the Presidency on September 1 took place on Monday (September 4) with an emergency session relating to the latest nuclear test carried out by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in violation of a series of Security Council resolutions. Under Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Jeffery Feltman, briefed the Security Council saying: "The latest serious developments require a comprehensive response in order to break the cycle of provocations from the DPRK." He noted that "such a response must include wise and bold diplomacy to be effective." Mr. Feltman also stressed the importance of responding to humanitarian needs regardless of the political situation, noting that the people of the DPRK rely on the international community to provide humanitarian assistance.
Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, in remarks made in his national capacity, noted that the situation surrounding the DPRK is becoming progressively complex and increasingly fraught. There was incalculable danger, not only for the Korean Peninsula, but also for global peace and security. The latest nuclear test by DPRK was, indeed, a dangerous escalation, he said, and he indicated that it had the potential to bear catastrophic consequences to international peace. Ambassador Tekeda added his voice to other Council members in condemning it in the strongest possible terms.
Ambassador Tekeda recalled the Security Council's adoption, a few days earlier, of a Presidential Statement calling on the DPRK to abandon all nuclear weapons and immediately cease all related activities. It also underscored the need for a peaceful, diplomatic and political solution to the situation, noting that overtures in that direction had not been taken up. He warned: "the recent nuclear test by DPRK clearly indicates that we might be on the verge of the cliff," noting the agreement of all Council members that "we are in a very dangerous phase of this problem." Ambassador Tekeda said in order to solve this problem the Security Council should use all means at its disposal to bring the DPRK back to the negotiating table. He said: "we are open to proposals that could be considered in this regard." He hoped the Council [would] be able to take appropriate action to bring pressure to bear on DPRK while maintaining the unity of the Council on this very delicate issue, which had such far reaching implication for peace and security in the Korean peninsula and beyond. Ambassador Tekeda emphasized the importance of the unity of the Security Council on the issue of the DPRK.
All Council members strongly condemned the latest nuclear test by the DPRK which, they agreed, represented a dangerous escalation of the situation in the Korean peninsula and had grave implications for regional and global peace and security.
Last month, the Security Council met and adopted resolution 2371 (2017), strongly condemning the ballistic missile tests conducted by the DPRK and imposing additional sanctions measures against the country. While condemning in the strongest terms the DPRK's ballistic missile launches, the resolution reaffirmed the Council's decision that Pyongyang should abandon all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear programs in a complete, verifiable and irreversible manner. The draft resolution was adopted unanimously demonstrating the unity of the Council in addressing an issue which poses serious threats to regional and international peace and security.
The Permanent Representative of Ethiopia, Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, in his remarks welcoming the unanimous adoption of resolution 2371 (2017), underlined that the Council's unity was "perhaps the most critical factor that may ensure a breakthrough eventually, if, in addition, the matter is handled with a great deal of care and wisdom." Ambassador Tekeda also warned that the situation could spiral out of control if it was not managed properly.
Ethiopia believes that additional efforts should be made to try to open up possibilities for a diplomatic path toward a resolution of the problem which is indeed both complex and dangerous. For this to happen, among other things, channels of communication should be opened to avoid the risk of miscalculation and reduce tensions in the Korean peninsula. Ambassador Tekeda also stressed the urgent need for finding a lasting comprehensive political and diplomatic solution to the DPRK issue through dialogue and negotiation. For this to be realized, Ambassador Tekeda noted the necessity for the DPRK to return to its international commitments on de-nuclearization and fully comply with the relevant resolutions of the Security Council.
Kenya's Presidential election to be re-run on October 17
The Chairman of Kenya's Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC), Wafula Chebukati, issued a statement on Monday (September 4) announcing October 17 as the date for a fresh presidential election. This followed the ruling of the Kenyan Supreme Court on Friday last week (September 1) that the election had not been conducted in accordance with the Constitution and was therefore invalid. It demanded that another election be held within 60 days of the ruling. Chief Justice David Maraga said the IEBC had committed "irregularities and illegalities" in the transmission of results from polling stations to the national tally center and the Electoral Commission had "failed, neglected or refused to conduct the presidential election in a manner consistent with the dictates of the constitution." In sum, the Supreme Court found that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission simply did not deliver on the necessary basic democratic principles of transparency and rule of law. The National Super Alliance Coalition had focused its challenge on malpractice and irregularities in the election process rather than claims of rigging that are always hard to prove; and the judges did not place blame on President Kenyatta or his party, but ruled, by a majority decision of 4 to 2, that the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission must conduct a fresh presidential election poll within 60 days of September 1, in strict adherence to the law.
Both parties accepted the Supreme Court ruling. The President said he would not dispute the judgment: "The court has made its decision. We respect it. We don't agree with it. And again, I say peace … peace, peace, peace. That is the nature of democracy." Mr. Odinga welcomed the decision but his National Super Alliance Coalition called for the resignation of IEBC officials as well as prosecution for criminal charges. Mr. Odinga also listed some conditions for participation in the re-run election. These included the removal and arrest of some IEBC officials, and an audit of the IEBC's voting technology. He has also demanded legal and constitutional guarantees", though he has yet to specify exactly what these might be.
The IEBC statement announcing a date for a new election said its decision was in conformity with the Supreme Court decision to annul the presidential election held on August 8. It said only President Kenyatta and Mr. Odinga, and their respective running mates, would be on the ballot. The initial results of the August 8 poll, announced on August 11, gave President Kenyatta 54% of the vote, followed by Mr. Odinga with 44.7%.The Commission has already taken some account of the criticisms made against it. Chairman Wafula Chebukati said this week that a project coordinator and officials had been appointed to run the information technology, logistics, operations and training as well as the national tallying center for three months for the re-run election, with immediate effect.
Observers described the Supreme Court ruling as historic, showing the fortitude and courage of the Kenyan judiciary. It was the first example in Africa of a court nullifying the re-election of an incumbent president. African Union Chairperson, President Alpha Conde of Guinea praised the decision to annul the results of last month's presidential election. He said: "This is behavior that does honor to Africa and proves that democracy is now installed on the continent," adding that preferring the legal approach to violence showed "maturity and responsibility". Foreign envoys in Kenya also called the Supreme Court's decision "an example for Africa and the world". In a statement shortly after the Supreme Court ruling, signed by 24 foreign ambassadors, they congratulated the Kenyan people for "showing patience and confidence" in the legal system. Their statement said: "Kenya's electoral institutions must now begin preparing for a new presidential poll later this year and we urge everyone to work to make it free, fair, credible and peaceful. We have trust in the ability of Kenya and its citizens to do so." Signatories included the ambassadors of the US, the European Union, Germany and the UK High Commissioner. Amnesty International said the ruling set an example for the rest of the world, and it urged all parties to comply with the judgment, and called on the police to observe restraint in their handling of any celebrations or protests.
Ethiopia's annual Conference for Ambassadors, Consul Generals, Director Generals
The Annual Conference for Ethiopia's Ambassadors, Consul Generals and Director Generals held from August 31 to September 8, under the theme "Institutional Transformation for Success of Our Foreign Relation Policies," ended in calling for more enhanced ways of doing diplomatic business to best align with the country's Second Growth and Transformation Plan. The annual conference took place in Addis Ababa and in Hawassa, the regional capital of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples Regional State. During the first three days, participants evaluated the activities of Embassies and Consul Generals during the last fiscal year. This performance evaluation allows for identification and correction of mistakes, identification of loopholes, recognition of missed opportunities and, in general, improves the capacity of overseas missions.
The second session of the conference held in Hawassa started on Sunday (September 3) and closed on Friday (September 8). Foreign Minister Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu along with the State Ministers of the Ministry also attended the conference. Dr. Workneh, identifying some of the major tectonic socio-economic and political shifts the world has witnessed over the past few years, reminded participants on the way issues like climate change, terrorism and migration provide their own exigent reasons for the way diplomats should map new ways to perceive both local and global issues. The Foreign Minister provided a synopsis of the performance of the Ministry and its Embassies and Consul Generals over the previous year. He noted the specific nature of this year's conference arising from its divergence from the usual "goals and achievements evaluation" model. It provided deeper understanding of organizational loopholes and meticulous identification of impediments while implementing policies and strategies and proposing highly developed approaches for possible ways forward. Dr. Workneh noted that the Ministry's new leadership had been holding intense consultative and evaluative meetings with its representatives abroad, and had identified agendas on which to focus and act on the basis of identified agendas in line with the annual plan. He said major work had been done in improving budget planning management, strengthening organizational capabilities, enhancing diplomatic skills through institutionalized diplomatic capacity-building centers. This, the Minister said, had honed the Ministry's capacity. As a result, the majority of the directives tabled by the Ministry for the ratification of the Declarations of Foreign Relations Service had been successful.
Dr. Workneh said the Ministry's activities during the period of the State of Emergency had been particularly effective in thwarting various attempts by negative elements and so-called "Rights Groups", which had mischievously been trying to exploit the unrest in some parts of Amhara and Oromia Regional States and attempt to take the case to the European Union Parliament and the US Congress. This was achieved by working in close coordination with the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission and the Attorney General through proffering accurate and timely information to UN Human Rights Commission. Public Diplomacy had done exemplary work in the first half of the year in dealing with biased news, articles and op-ads published on influential media outlets; expanding the Ministry's digital presence by releasing current information to the diplomatic and international community via websites, social media and other digital assets. At the same time, much still needed to be done by Public Diplomacy to promote Ethiopia's values, interests and policies and creating shared perceptions abroad, connecting with nationals and foreigners especially in areas of tourism, trade, investment, technology transfer, social engineering, consultancy and image building.
Ethiopia attaches great importance to the Horn of Africa and the performance report noted that the Ministry had clearly showed its unwavering commitment to optimize its activity and role in areas of peace and security, economic cooperation and partnership, and Diaspora engagement with neighboring countries both bilaterally and through regional partnership platforms like IGAD. Among the activities carried out over the last fiscal year were: the consistent efforts, along with other members of IGAD and the international community, to bring an end to the unfortunate bloodshed in South Sudan through an all-inclusive dialogue anchored in the spirit of the August 2015 peace agreement; the sacrifice the country continues to pay for the peace and prosperity of Somalia and its continued efforts to raise relations with the new Federal Government of Somalia to a higher level in pursuit of mutually defined values and interests; and the continued exposure of President Isaias's anti-peace and anti-development maneuvers against all Eritrea's neighbors. Equally, Ethiopia has played a major role in championing the interests of the continent in areas of global peace and security at the UN Security Council. The successful participation of the country at the Security Council during the past eight months had certainly increased its recognition, and with Ethiopia's presidency of the Council this month, the Ministry has put particular emphasis in giving priority to strengthening the relation between the African Union and the UN, fostering the need for a meaningful reform at the Security Council, and in reforming UN peace keeping operations.
The Government's quick and coordinated response in ensuring safe repatriation of Ethiopian nationals from Saudi Arabia, following the declaration of an amnesty period at the end of March was noteworthy. The report noted the Ministry's performance in this successful national campaign was immense. The report of the Ministry activities also underlined the need to further enhance capacities to encourage development within African Union activities, in such areas as the development of the Continental Free Trade Area and African Union financing. The report noted the significant improvements in bilateral ties with Asian countries. The relationship with China, the report noted has grown into a "comprehensive Strategic Partnership." Regarding ties with the European Union, progress is being made to parallel the strategic relations the country has with the EU Commission and the EU Parliament in a more comprehensible and synchronized way. The Ministry is fully committed to implement the Strategic Partnership established in 2016 between Ethiopia and the European Union. This includes areas of human rights and good governance.
Given the Government's major focus on Economic and Business Diplomacy, the Ministry has given due emphasis to bolster the country's business and economic activities. During the last fiscal year, 84 new companies have started operating, dozens of technology transfer programs came into being, 236 technical and professional training occasions were facilitated, and 31 business fora were organized. The Ministry has invested significant resources to bolster Diaspora engagement through substantial support and follow-up programs for members of the Diaspora who've been engaged in different investment projects. Considerable effort was involved in garnering opportunities from the Connecting Diaspora for Development (CD4D) project, a Netherland program aimed at enabling members of the Diaspora to support their home countries. Activities are also underway to establish a Knowledge Diaspora Trust Fund which will help professionals in the Diaspora to make sustainable technology and knowledge transfers to their country.
The conference, which was valuable, useful and informative, also included panel discussions on Ethiopia's current foreign affairs issues with members of Hawassa University, and studies on organizational restructuring and human resource capacity building and allocation, as well as the delivery and discussion of research papers on such issues Ethiopia's foreign relations, the role of Ethiopia at the international arena, the crisis in the Gulf countries, transboundary resources, technology transfer, tourism and Foreign Direct Investment, Integrated Agro-Industrial Parks, and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. These produced lively and informative discussions and debates.
Ministers attend cooperation conferences in the Republic of Korea
This week Minister of Transport, Ahmed Shide has been attending the three-day Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference held in Seoul, South Korea; and the Minister of Water, Irrigation and Electricity, Dr. Seleshi Bekele, participated in the Global Green Hub Korea, held in Incheon. Dr. Sileshi also attended the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference.
The fifth Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference was held Monday to Wednesday this week (September 4-6). It was attended by 1,500 Korean domestic business representatives as well as senior officials from over 45 countries. A number of transnational development organizations, including the Asian Development Bank and the African Development Bank, participated. Korea's Land, Infrastructure and Transport Minister, Kim Hyun Mee, in an opening speech underlined the importance of infrastructure: "Infrastructure development is more than renovation. It creates jobs, improves the quality of lives and realizes social integration." Minister Shide held discussions with Ms. Kim Hyun-mee, focusing on strengthening bilateral cooperation of the two countries in the field of economic cooperation. Thanking the Korean Government and people for their hospitality, he emphasized that initiatives for bilateral cooperation between the two countries needed to be strengthened and deepened. During his visit, in an interview with Maeil Business, South Korea's main business newspaper, the Minister underlined the investment opportunities in infrastructure in Ethiopia for Korean companies.
The Global Green Hub Korea is the global platform for environmental and renewable energy industry/resource cooperation, a major environmental conference and networking event. It was held Monday to Thursday this week (September 4-7). It has been held annually since 2009 and aims to develop concrete business relationships and explore potential contract opportunities between Korean contractors and overseas visitors. It included a global environmental forum and an environmental and renewable energy industry exhibition as well as allowing for business meetings and networking.
Dr. Sileshi held bilateral talks with Mr. Ahn Byung-ok, the Vice-Minister of Environment of Korea. They discussed the Water Supply and Waste-water Management Master Plan for 2018 and agreed to conduct feasibility studies in order to build a master plan to suit Ethiopia's environment. They agreed to form a consortium to conduct joint research on water infrastructure and agreed on human resource exchanges. Korea will send experts for technology transfer and invite Ethiopian experts for training. The Minister also agreed to sign a MoU with the Ministry of Environment of Korea on further cooperation.
At the Global Infrastructure Cooperation Conference, Dr. Sileshi also met with Ms. Kim Hyun-mee to discuss Ethiopia's water resources and the opportunities this provided for Korean companies to participate in Ethiopian water management projects. Dr. Seleshi emphasized that water resources in Ethiopia needed to be more developed. He said the Ethiopian government expected more Korean companies to participate in such infrastructure projects as water supply or water management and he encouraged their involvement in Private Public Partnerships.
During his visit Dr. Sileshi held a series of meetings with officials of various companies. These included Mr. Bang Sung Jong, Vice President of SK E&C, a major plant company. He met representatives of the Korea Rural Community Corporation which is involves in a groundwater project in Ethiopia. He visited K-Water and was briefed on the company's water management technologies and shown its integrated water control room. Dr. Seleshi noted that Ethiopia needed to learn Korean experience and technology in order to utilize its water resources more effectively. K-Water's CEO said the company was willing to share practical technologies and they agreed to discuss progress in partnership and to sign a MoU. After their discussion, Dr. Seleshi visited the Daechung Dam.
Dr. Sileshi also met with Hyundai E&C, a company involved in Hydro, Geothermal and Gas Plant projects. He noted Hyundai had the sort of technology Ethiopia needed and the opportunities available would benefit both sides. They agreed to carry out pre-feasibility studies for possible projects and a Hyundai Engineering managerial level delegation is expected to visit Ethiopia shortly. Another company considering investment is Samjin, a manufacturing company that produces valves for dams and other water supply infrastructure is currently considering investment in Ethiopia. On his visit to the company, the Minister suggested the possibility of a joint venture and emphasized the government would facilitate any investment.
Dr. Sileshi also met with Mr. Chang Young Hoon, Executive Director of the EDCF Operation Group, Korea Exim Bank. Dr. Sileshi underlined the importance of groundwater-based irrigation for Ethiopia to supply reliable water resources for farmers and others. He stressed the current negotiations with the Exim Bank for the "Bilateral Irrigation and Integrated Rural Development Project" and "Southern Extension of the National Electricity Grid Project" were important and should be expedited. These two projects are on track, and the Korea Exim Bank will open bidding for feasibility studies for both projects in the next few months and appraisals can be expected in the 1st quarter of next year.
UN Agency Directors visit Ethiopia, call for more effort to deal with food insecurity
The heads of three UN food agencies completed a four-day visit to Ethiopia on Tuesday this week (September 5). José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Program (WFP), speaking at the end of their visit, jointly called for greater investment in long-term activities that strengthen people's resilience to drought and the impacts of climate shocks. Their visit also aimed to address the root causes of the drought and improving the ability of communities to prepare for future shocks.
During their visit they went to projects in the Somali Regional State that treat dwindling herds to limit further livestock deaths and met drought-affected people receiving food rations. Back-to-back droughts have left 8.5 million people in need of food aid. In the Somali Regional State three years of rain failure have led to the death of many livestock, causing a breakdown in pastoral livelihoods and alarming increases in malnutrition rates. While the emergency response led by the Government has begun to stabilize the situation, additional resources are still urgently needed.
IFAD provides loans, grants and technical expertise for rural development projects and its Gilbert Houngbo said "We know what works. In the Somali region, where there is investment in irrigation systems, water points, rural financial institutions, health and veterinary services and other long-term development projects, the communities can better sustain themselves and their livestock through this devastating drought. This is what we need to build on." Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO which provides emergency livelihood support for drought-affected livestock owners and farmers, as well as support to stabilize communities' long-term resilience, said: "It is essential to invest in preparedness and provide farmers and rural communities with knowledge and tools to safeguard themselves and their livelihoods. We've witnessed here that saving livelihoods means saving lives - it is people's best defense against drought." David Beasley, head of WFP, which provides assistance to 3.3 million people in the Somali region, the epicenter of three years of drought, said: "We have clearly seen here that working together... [we] can achieve much more than alone; of course we already collaborate, but now we will take these models and replicate them and scale them up across the world. We need to save lives while investing to support sustainable, resilient environment for communities across the globe so they prosper and succeed."
During the visit to Danan in Somali Regional State, the FAO Director-General noted that: "In Africa, Ethiopia was best-prepared to face the impacts of climate change. But after having three successive years of El Nino, the country is unable to deal with it alone." The three agency heads also visited Tigray Regional State where they saw the impact of long-term development projects where they saw irrigation schemes, fruit nurseries and health centers supported by their agencies, boosting productivity, increasing incomes and improving nutrition so rural people could better withstand external shocks like droughts. After the visit to Tigray Regional State, the IFAD Director said: "We cannot do business as usual. We have got to scale up and stop working on a project-based approach."
All three agencies are working closely with the Government of Ethiopia to eliminate hunger in the country. Last year the Government spent an unprecedented US$700 million dollars, while the international community made up the rest of the US$1.8 billion needed, to assist those affected by the El Niño-induced drought. This year the Government and humanitarian partners have so far raised US$553 million of the US$948 million needed to help the drought-affected, but more is needed. Earlier this year, aid agencies warned they would run out of funds to continue providing food by July unless additional donor funds were forthcoming. This has been avoided by recent donations from the UK, EU and US. US$91 of this came from the US. The new head of USAID, Mark Green, who also visited the Somali Regional State during his visit to Ethiopia last week, announced the additional aid at the end of his visit. There is now enough money to keep up food shipments until October. This, however, is a long way from securing long-term viability.
The UN agency chiefs met Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen on Monday (September 4) and discussed the need for greater collaboration and investment in resilience, expressing their interest to engage in averting drought exposure in Ethiopia through sustainable development. The Deputy Prime Minister told journalists the three agencies "have expressed their interest to collaboratively tackle the chained occurrences of drought in Ethiopia by actively engaging in sustainable development." IFAD President, Gilbert Houngbo said their talks were focused "on how we can do better and improve the situation". He said: "We had an opportunity to exchange further with the Deputy Prime Minister, so we can share our views on what we have found and most importantly to engage and listen to the Deputy Prime Minister to get also the essence of where things tend and also how we can do better, how we can improve the situation." He added: "…we are looking at how we do at the same time that we focus on the humanitarian side we put much more emphasis on long term development working with the government which has a very strategic direction and we support that direction."
Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu also met with the three UN Food Agency chiefs for consultative talks. Discussions focused on the need for further efforts for collaboration and coordination efforts in global and regional humanitarian situations and the importance of reinforcing the global partnership to deal with climate change. They also discussed issues of conflict in Africa and the humanitarian problems of the continent as well as the need for the United Nations Security Council to reach political solutions in some of these situations.
On Monday, they also met the Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Vera Songwe. During the meeting, Songwe agreed to work closely with them in a number of areas, including statistics as they seek to address food insecurities on the African continent, according to an ECA press release. They agreed to strengthen their relationship so they can effectively deal with food security issues on the continent, with more focus and emphasis being put on areas like statistics, policy development and land with a view to improving agricultural productivity. They agreed to work together to select some countries to pilot a joint approach.
The ECA can offer a very broad base of knowledge acquired in promoting the economic and social development of its member states, in fostering intra-regional integration and international cooperation for Africa's development. Ms. Songwe assured the heads of the FAO, the IFAD and the WFP that the ECA was ready to deepen its collaboration with their three organizations. She said: "Under one roof we have combined knowledge on climate change, food security, and conflict. These issues are relevant for the challenges we face such as migration and must be tackled in a comprehensive way," adding, "We have been collaborating already with the three agencies and there's a lot that can be done if we pull our resources together." Ms. Songwe said the ECA was ready to contribute to the partnership on the policy side and training in particular as the organizations work together in their quest to achieve zero hunger on the continent. She underlined the need for data and statistics to help guide agriculture and land policy, adding this was crucial for the gender agenda and to encourage in private investment. That, she said, was a great example of how they could work together and "move forward as one UN with one goal as we talk about peace, security, development and the sustainable development goals."
AMISOM's Military Operations coordinating committee meets in Addis Ababa
AMISOM's Military Operations Coordination held its 24th Meeting in Addis Ababa on Tuesday (September 5). The meeting, hosted by the African Union Commission, was attended by Chiefs of Defense Staff and designated representatives of AMISOM Police and Troop Contributing Countries (Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Nigeria and Uganda) and Somalia. Representatives from partner organizations and countries including the United Nations, the European Union, the UK and the US also participated in the meeting, chaired by AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Ambassador Smail Chergui.
The meeting was conducted with reference to the AU-UN Joint Review conducted in May 2017, the AU Peace and Security Council communiqué issued during its 700th Meeting, and the United Nations Security Council resolution 2372 (2017), adopted unanimously on August 30 and which called for a start to the gradual reduction of AMISOM military personnel along with the gradual hand over of security responsibilities to the Somali National Security Forces.
Participants received briefings from the AMISOM Special Representative, representative of the Force Commander and the Police Commissioner. It discussed critical issues of resourcing, capacity building support for the Somali National Security Forces, and the reconfiguration of AMISOM as well as the process for the gradual handover of primary security responsibility to the Somali Forces. The critical role that AMISOM would continue to play in providing security in the country was underlined. Participants noted the continued sacrifice of AMISOM Police and Troop Contributing Countries in this regard.
The Military Operations Coordination Committee agreed on the way to implement UN resolution 2372 in terms of the initial reduction of military personnel by December 2017 as well as AMISOIM's new tasks. The meeting underlined and reiterated the need for assured funding within the period recommended by the Joint Review during which the transition from AMISOM to the Somali National Security Forces would take place. It also emphasized the need for the availability of the stated force enablers and multipliers and for additional support. Without these AMISOM would not be able to continue its operations beyond May 31 next year.
The Coordination Committee also agreed to establish a team of experts, including representatives from the Troop-Contributing countries to work out options including the details of the exit plan for AMISOM, in accordance with the decision of the meeting of the Troop-Contributing countries held on July 3 this year, on the margins of the 29th Assembly of the African Union.
The effectiveness of IGAD's Institutional Capacity Building Programs
The Head of IGAD's Security Sector Program (ISSP), Abebe Muluneh, in an interview at the weekend detailed the progress being made by IGAD in strengthening the capacity building of IGAD member states. In an interview with the Ethiopian News Agency on Saturday (September 2) Mr. Abebe emphasized that countries in the region faced numerous security threats, from terrorism, armed groups and drug trafficking, money laundering and piracy as well as other challenges, IGAD, through ICPAT, and then the IGAD Security Sector Program has played a major role in responding to these problems. ICPAT, the IGAD Capacity Building Program against Terrorism, was created in 2006. He said: "IGAD achieved a lot through encouraging regional activity to provide for better cross-border law enforcement cooperation, including agreements on extradition and mutual legal assistance. It has also done a lot in building the capacity of judicial bodies to prosecute terrorism cases."
IGAD, in fact, has been working to improve inter-departmental cooperation between member states to improve law enforcement and criminal justice systems. With the region providing a breeding ground for terrorist organizations, because of repeated unrest and civil insecurity in some areas, and even state activity, IGAD has been working to build up the capacity of member states to combat terrorism. IGAD, Mr. Abebe said, was doing this through training and facilitating conferences that allow member states to share best practices. He added: "We have planned a comprehensive training program on how to counter terrorism, how to prevent terrorism, and how to investigate terrorists. So we have provided training programs for all IGAD member states."
There had been a significant improvement of strategic cooperation between international and regional institutions to strengthen the capacity of member states to combat terrorism, but at the same time the existence of economic barriers, continued conflict, terrorism and the existing armed groups remained serious challenges to the whole process of implementing IGAD's program. Strengthening the efforts to build institutions and human capacity in member states and promoting regional co-operation, the IGAD Security Sector Program chief said, therefore remained one of the main mechanisms to address the challenges facing the implementation of the IGAD program.
The ICPAT program itself had made some significant progress before being superseded by ISSP. IGAD is now vigorously committed to the execution of ISSP in its efforts to address all types of security threats in the region. It also provided guarantees to co-operate with regional and international organizations. He noted that in this connection, the member states of IGAD were working "in a collective way to address the continuing and emerging security threats." Ultimately, as Mr. Abebe underlined, IGAD's goal was to evolve into an effective and active Regional Economic Community with the view to achieving sustainable peace and development in the region.
President and Prime Minister wish all Ethiopians a successful New Year
President Dr. Mulatu Teshome in a New Year message to the nation called on all Ethiopians to help ensure the country's renaissance. He was speaking at the launch of a ten-day program of events across the country to usher in the Ethiopian New Year 2010 which starts on September 11, 2017. The program allows for ten separate days of celebrations that began on September 1 to include: Love Day, Mothers' and Children's Day, Elders' Day, Peace Day, Reading Day, Green Development Day, Respect Day, National Feelings Day, Unity Day and Ethiopia Day. President Mulatu said the various events would highlight Ethiopia's significant gains in socio-economic and political sectors over the past decade and help ensure the sustainability of the successes achieved during the past ten years and address the challenges the country continued to face, among them poverty, unemployment and El Nino-induced drought. He noted these would be problems that Ethiopia would continue to have to deal with in the New Year.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, speaking of the special preparations to celebrate the New Year, also wished all Ethiopians a happy New Year and called on people to continue their efforts to actively promote the growth and renaissance process that the country had begun in the coming Ethiopian New Year. He wished all a "new era of peace, prosperity and love."
The Government Communication Affairs Office Minister Dr. Negeri Lencho said the celebrations were aimed at cherishing nation's success in social, economic and political spheres of the past 10 years and addressing any shortcomings and challenges that had appeared. The ten days of events, said Dr. Negeri, would help mobilize the public to actively take part in the nation's versatile and extensive development activities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would also like to take this opportunity to thank all our readers for their patronage and to wish all a prosperous, profitable and happy New Year for 2010 in the Ethiopian Calendar.
Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegne today (Feb 21, 2018), received the Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union Moussa Faki Mahamet at his office.
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