Saturday, January 27, 2018

Eritrea summons Dutch envoy over Diaspora tax row | Medafrica Times

The Eritrean government on Thursday summoned the Dutch envoy to the Horn of Africa nation to explain the expulsion of the highest representative of Eritrea in the Netherlands.
On Tuesday last week, the Dutch Foreign Ministry expelled Eritrea’s Chargé d’Affaires, Tekheste Ghebremedhin, after the Dutch government found evidence that Eritrea continues to force people who fled the country to pay taxes.
Tekeste Ghebremedhin Zemuy has been declared persona non grata, the Dutch ministry said in a letter to the parliament.
According to the Eritrean government, these reasons are ‘untenable explanations’.
In a statement posted by the Eritrea ministry of information, the government said that there was no proof of wrongful or punishable offenses presented to the Dutch Parliament to warrant the action taken.
The statement explained that the country’s levying a 2% Rehabilitation and Recovery tax from the Diaspora was in line with Eritrea’s laws dating back to 1994.
Eritrea levies a 2% tax on its expatriates, including those in other European nations like Belgium, Italy, Germany, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
Reports said the payments are made in several ways, including paying directly to embassies, depositing in a bank in Dubai, or even through in-person or courier payments in the capital Asmara.
The Dutch government had made it clear in a ministerial decree in October 2016 that the tax imposed on the diaspora is illegally collected through coercion, intimidation, threats or other illegal means.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Merera Gudina, Ethiopia opposition leader, freed - BBC News





Ethio
Image captionHuge crowds welcomed Mr Merera home


Jailed Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina has been freed after more than a year in detention.
The leader of the Oromo Federalist Congress was released on Wednesday morning and allowed to go home, where he was welcomed by thousands of people.
He has been in prison since December 2016 and was facing charges, including association with terrorist groups.
The Ethiopian government announced on Monday that it would drop charges against more than 500 suspects.
Human rights groups have long accused Ethiopia of refusing to allow opposition groups to operate freely.
The government has denied holding any political prisoners but says the releases will foster national debate and "widen the political sphere".
Those being freed will first undergo two days of "rehabilitation training", the government says.
At the beginning of January, Prime Minster Hailemariam Desalegn announced the government would close Maekelawi - a detention facility in the capital, Addis Ababa, allegedly used as a torture chamber.

Why was Mr Merera arrested?

Mr Merera was arrested in November 2016 at the airport in the capital, Addis Ababa, after he flew in from Brussels.
He had violated Ethiopia's state of emergency by having contact with "terrorist" and "anti-peace" groups, state-linked media reported at the time.
That month, Mr Merera had criticised the state of emergency in an address to the European parliament.
The government imposed it in October 2016 to end an unprecedented wave of protests against its 25-year rule.


Map of protests and violence in Ethiopia in 2016


More than 11,000 people were arrested, mostly in the Oromia and Amhara regions, which were at the forefront of anti-government protests.
Many in the two regions complain of political and economic marginalisation.

Who else will be freed?

It is still not clear which other politicians will be released.
Ethiopia says it will not free anyone convicted of using force to overthrow the government, destroying infrastructure, murder or causing physical disability.
However, it says it will pardon some of those convicted under the anti-terrorism law.
Critics and human rights groups have accused the government in the past of labelling its opponents, and some journalists, as terrorists.
Rights group Amnesty International says the release of Mr Merera and other prisoners should not be the last.
"Hundreds of prisoners of conscience continue to languish in jail, accused or prosecuted for legitimate exercise of their freedom of expression or simply for standing up for human rights," Amnesty's Netsanet Belay said.


Presentational grey line


Five more high-profile Ethiopian prisoners:

Bekele Gerbadeputy chairman of the OFC - arrested together with Dejene Fita Geleta, secretary-general of OFC, and 20 others in connection with the 2015 Oromo protests that resulted in the death of hundreds of protesters.
Andargachew Tsegeleader of Ginbot 7 (designated a terrorist group by Ethiopia) - arrested in 2014 while on transit in Yemen and taken to Ethiopia, where he faces the death penalty after being convicted in absentia. A British national, human rights groups have been pushing for his release.
Andualem Aragievice-president of the Unity for Democracy and Justice party - imprisoned since 2011, and now serving a life sentence on terrorism charges.
Eskinder Negajournalist and blogger - imprisoned since 2011 after criticising the use of anti-terror laws to silence the press. He was subsequently sentenced to 18 years in jail.
Woubshet Taye, journalist and editor - imprisoned since 2011 and sentenced the next year to 14 years in prison for terror-related offences.



Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Sudan deploys more troops to Eritrea border | Ethiopia News | Al Jazeera






Sudan deploys more troops to Eritrea border
The latest tension was sparked after Sudan signed an agreement to temporarily hand over the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey [Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah/Reuters]


Sudan says it has sent more troops to its eastern border with Eritrea as tension in the Red Sea region continues to rise. 
Early this month Khartoum closed its borders with Eritrea and sent troops to its border region of Kassala, following reports that Egypt has deployed troops in Asmara.
"Sudan's national army has sent part of its forces to this area to protect Sudan's security as we have information that some parties are targeting us," Sudanese foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, said after meeting his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in Khartoum on Sunday.
Ghandour said that they were not talking "about threats to a country per se" but that they have information that shows there are some who would mean them harm.
"This is why we are anticipating whatever danger can come from there," Ghandour said.
The meeting took place amid deteriorating relations between Sudan and Ethiopia on one side and Egypt and Eritrea on the other. Khartoum has also recalled its ambassador in Cairo following the reports of Egyptian troops presence in Eritrea.
The latest tension was sparked after Sudan signed an agreement to temporarily hand over the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey. 
Ankara and Khartoum said Turkey would rebuild the ruined, sparsely populated Ottoman island to increase tourism and create a transit point for pilgrims crossing the Red Sea to Islam's holiest city of Mecca. Turkey is also set to build a naval dock on the island.
Egyptian media criticised the agreement and alleged Turkey would build a military base on the island.
Ties between Turkey and Egypt have been frosty for some time.
Ankara strongly condemned Egypt's military coup in 2013, which overthrew democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Political tension between the Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia has been rising for years over the use of the water of the Nile River and Ethiopia's decision to build the continent's biggest hydroelectric dam on the river.
Egypt has been at odds with Sudan and Ethiopia over the $4.8bn dam project, with Cairo fearing that its position downstream may affect its access to water from the Nile River basin, which will feed the dam.
Cairo accuses Sudan of supporting the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, while Khartoum accuses Egypt of supporting rebels in Sudan.
Meanwhile, Eritrea has fought two border wars with Ethiopia - which has had a decades-long dispute with Egypt over the Nile River water. The border wars left more than 80,000 people dead and the two East African countries are technically still at war.
Radio Erena: Eritrea's free voice and refugee hotline









THE LISTENING POST
Radio Erena: Eritrea's free voice and refugee hotline
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA NEWS

Afwerki speaks on Horn affairs, denies Egypt's troops are in Eritrea









 President Isaias Afwerki denied the presence of any Egyptian troops in Eritrea on Sunday, amid heightened regional tensions that have led Sudan to deploy additional troops on its side of the border.



Afwerki’s remarks came during a broadcast interview with state media Eri-TV and Radio Dimtsi Hafash. He called the reports of any Egyptian troops on Eritrean soil "fake news” and blamed foreign media for perpetuating the story.


The Minister of Information, Yemane Meskel, previously denied accounts that Cairo had sent troops to the Horn of Africa nation in recent weeks, which have seen diplomatic relations among Sudan, Egypt, Ethiopia and Eritrea stressed over regional developments. The issues include ongoing negotiations over Nile River water rights as Ethiopia moves forward with its USD $4.8 billion Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) project, and the Suakin Island deal between Sudan and Turkey.


Afwerki said President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan needs to make his intensions clear as he widens a Red Sea presence, including a naval site, as part of a $650 million agreement with Khartoum.



Afwerki, who visited Cairo last week, stressed the importance of regional stability and Eritrea’s commitment to neighbors including Somalia, but condemned interference by Ethiopia and international actors including the United States.



The Eritrean president is casting a wary eye on any Sudanese alliance with Ethiopia as well, despite the fact that both of those countries are caught up in conflict over the dam project’s impacts on water resources. Sudanese Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim Ghandour met with his Ethiopian counterpart, also on Sunday.



The complete interview video is availablehere.

Sudan says faces 'threat' on Egypt-Eritrea border

Sudan says faces 'threat' on Egypt-Eritrea borderSudan says faces 'threat' on Egypt-Eritrea border by Shelley Chandler | January 15, 2018 | 22:33 The Egyptian leader also called on his country's media to cease attacks on Sudan, saying it should follow the example of his administration which, he said, refrained from insulting its neighbors even in the face of intentional slights. Last Saturday, Sudan closed its border with Eritrea and sent thousands of troops to the Kassala state near the border. Ghandour said that they were not talking "about threats to a country per se" but that they have information that shows there are some who would mean them harm. "Sudan's national army has sent part of its forces to this area to protect Sudan's security as we have information that some parties are targeting us", Sudanese foreign minister, Ibrahim Ghandour, said after meeting his Ethiopian counterpart Workneh Gebeyehu in Khartoum on Sunday. "Some of the opposition forces are present in the eastern part of our country, so we are figuring out what can come from that place", he stated. Egypt believes Sudan is leaning towards the Ethiopian position in the dispute. Previously, on January 4, Khartoum had recalled its ambassador from Egypt for consultation, amid tension with Cairo over a disputed border region. The latest tension was sparked after Sudan signed an agreement to temporarily hand over the Red Sea island of Suakin to Turkey. Turkey is also set to build a naval dock on the island. Ties between Turkey and Egypt have been frosty for some time. Relations between Egypt and Sudan have soured in recent months due to disputes over the ownership of the triangle, and over the broader issue of the use of water from the River Nile that passes through their territories. "Egypt will not fight its brothers". Egypt has expressed mounting alarm over a soon-to-be-completed upstream dam in Ethiopia that Cairo fears could cut into its share of the Nile River, which provides almost all its fresh water. The Blue and the White Nile tributaries converge in Sudan's capital Khartoum and from there run north through Egypt to the Mediterranean. Egypt, with a population roughly equal to Ethiopia's, has traditionally received the lion's share of the Nile's waters under agreements reached in 1929 and 1959. 10ThousandCouple http://10thousandcouples.com/2018/01/sudan-says-faces-threat-on-egypt-eritrea-border/