Thursday, December 22, 2005

ETHIOPIA: massacres, arrests prompt EU call for sanctions

European parliamentarians are calling for "targeted sanctions" against the Ethiopian government unless the human rights situation in the country improves significantly.

Members of the European Parliament are urging the European Commission, the executive arm of the European Union (EU), and the European Council, made up of European heads of government and state, to consider imposing targeted sanctions against members of the Ethiopian government following the political violence that has recently gripped the country.

In a landmark 15-point resolution passed unanimously in Brussels last week (Dec. 16), EU lawmakers called for "the immediate establishment of an independent international commission of inquiry, under U.N. responsibility, to investigate the human rights abuses and to identify and bring to justice those responsible."

The resolution is the third voted by the European Parliament since last July. MEPs expressed their concerns about the situation in Ethiopia and the violations of human rights against those who survived the massacres committed by the regime%u2019s security forces in June and early November.

The parliament said it was "disturbed by recent news of large-scale human rights abuses following a massive and unprecedented crackdown, in which political leaders, human rights defenders, independent journalists, NGO workers and young people were arrested in Addis Ababa and in different parts of the country."

Full report (Brussels IPS/ST) 20 Dec 2005.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

ETHIOPIA/ERITREA - International tribunal finds Eritrea responsible for war against Ethiopia

The Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission finds Eritrea responsible for the 1998-2000 war against Ethiopia exposing it as the aggressor.

According to a statement the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent to the official ENA, in its awards made public on Monday, 19 December 2005, the commission decided that Eritrea was liable for starting the two-year war with Ethiopia.

Full report 21 Dec 2005 (ENA/ST)

Saturday, December 17, 2005

ETHIOPIA: Food security improving - FEWS Net

Food security in Ethiopia is improving thanks to a good harvest, rising coffee prices in the world market and better aid distribution, a famine early warning network said on Thursday.

Full report (IRIN) 15 Dec 2005.

ActionAid urges Ethiopia for release of anti-poverty campaigners

The international charity ActionAid has urged the Ethiopian government to release two anti-poverty activists who are facing possible treason charges.

Full report (IRIN) 16 Dec 2005.

Thursday, December 15, 2005


Ethiopia is the oldest independent country in Africa and one of the oldest in the world, more than 3000 years old. Coffee is Ethiopia's gift to the world. The word coffee was derived from a region called Kaffa. Ethiopia is the only nation in Africa that defeated a colonial power. Many African countries adopted Ethiopian flag colors as a symbol of independence. Ethiopia is the only country in Africa with its own unique script, Ethiopic.

[via Tadias: Ethiopian Commentators weblog, an Ethiopian blog dealing with current issues in Ethiopia]


Please see more pointers and links at myethiopia Information, News and Publications, Weblogs and Websites.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Ethiopia's PM says Eritrea girding for new war

Ethiopia on Tuesday accused rival Eritrea of deliberately ratcheting up tension for a second border war as Eritrean officials refused to meet UN envoys trying to ease the deteriorating situation.

In a speech to parliament, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said Eritrea was attempting to provoke a new conflict but stressed Addis Ababa would take deterrent measures to dissuade Asmara from resorting to a new war.

"The Eritrean government is making efforts to worsen the situation around the border," he told lawmakers. "If the Eritrean government believes that it can ensure victory there is no doubt it will do what it can to wage a war."

"The only alternative is to show the Eritrean government they will not win anything if a war is started," Meles said.

"In this respect, we have to show that there is proportional force and until a lasting peace has been secured this will continue," he said, confirming that Ethiopia would pull back troops from the border in line with UN Security Council demands.

Full report (AFP/ST) Dec 13, 2005.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Britain's minister for Africa, Lord David Triesman on urgent mission to Ethiopia, Eritrea

EU is to send urgent diplomatic mission to Ethiopia and Eritrea aimed at cooling border tensions and averting a new war between the two East African nations, reports AP 12 Dec 2005:
Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said there was 'profound concern' in the EU over the rising tension between the two countries.

He said the EU would send a special mission Dec. 17, led by Britain's minister for Africa, Lord David Triesman to visit both governments.

In a statement the EU foreign ministers called on both nations 'to refrain from any threat or use of force against each other and to contribute to de-escalation.'

The EU ministers urged 'immediate, concrete steps' by Ethiopia to demarcate a permanent border 'without delay,' and denounced Eritrean demands that European and North American observers be withdrawn.
International concerns have been mounting in recent weeks that war could again erupt between the two African nations, which fought a 1998-2000 war for territory that claimed tens of thousands of lives and cost both countries "two of the world's poorest" an estimated US$1 million a day.

Their competing territorial claims were never resolved and in recent months both countries have been massing troops near the border and Eritrea has been restricting the work of U.N. peacekeepers. - (AP/ST) Dec 12, 2005 (BRUSSELS)

Further reading:

Ethiopia's redeployment of troops: A publicity or a move for peace? authored by Agazi Meckonen, an American of Ethiopian origin. Email: AgaziYemane@HotMail.Com

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ethiopia 'to reduce' border force

Sudan's Bashir, Ethiopia's Zenawi to meet in Khartoum

Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, and the Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi will hold a joint mini summit in Khartoum next Thursday 15 December to discuss issues regarding the African continent, and bilateral ties.

Ethiopian PM talks to Sudanese Pdt

Photo: Ethiopian PM Zenawi welcomes Sudanese Pdt El Bashir at Addis Ababa airport on February 2, 2003 (AFP) Full report (ST) 10 Dec 2005.

Scientists say new ocean in formation in Ethiopia

Ethiopian, American and European researchers have observed a fissure in a desert in the remote northeast that could be the 'birth of a new ocean basin,' scientists said Friday.

Researchers from Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. have been observing the 60-kilometer (37-mile) long fissure since it split open in September in the Afar desert and estimate it will take a million years to fully form into an ocean, said Dereje Ayalew, who leads the team of 18 scientists studying the phenomenon.

Full report (AP/ST) 10 Dec 2005.

Ethiopia to link Sudan via optic fiber telephone line

Ethiopia and Sudan, two of the world's poorest and least-wired nations, want to expand information and communication technologies coverage to the respective country in the future.

The Ethiopian Telecommunications Corporation (ETC), the country's only state-owned information and communication technologies provider, said Friday it has begun activities to link Ethiopia and Sudan with optic fiber telephone line along the Gondar-Gelabat border road.

Some six towns and rural kebeles along the optic fiber installation line would also get telephone service.

Farmers living along the cable installation route have been taking part in the digging of cable burying canal.

Some 25 km of the cable burying canal has so far been dug, while the remaining work is expected to be fully finalized during the current budget year.

Full report (Xinhua/ST) 10 Dec 2005.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Eritrea expels US, European, Canadian UN staff - Officials

Eritrea has ordered the expulsion of U.S., Canadian, Russian and European staff of the U.N. peacekeeping mission that monitors the tense border with neighboring Ethiopia, U.N. officials said Wednesday.

In a letter sent to the U.N. Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea, the staff have 10 days to leave the Horn of Africa nation, said a Western diplomat who saw a copy of the letter. No reason was given for the expulsion.

Two weeks ago the U.N. threatened to impose sanctions if Eritrea fails to ease restrictions imposed on peacekeepers.

Full story (AP/ST) 7 Dec 2005.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Ethiopia willing to pull troops from Eritrea border - UN

Ethiopia has indicated willingness to comply with a U.N. resolution demanding it and neighboring Eritrea reverse a military buildup on their shared border, a senior U.N. official said Thursday. See full report Dec 1, 2005 by AP at ST.

Note, the report explains 'Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a 30-year guerrilla war, but the border between the two was never formally demarcated. The border war erupted in 1998 and has claimed tens of thousands of lives while costing both countries an estimated $1 million a day.

A December 2000 peace agreement provided for an independent commission to rule on the position of the disputed border while U.N. peacekeepers patrolled a 24 kilometer buffer zone. But Ethiopia refused to accept the panel's April 2002 decision, which awarded the town of Badme to Eritrea.'