Friday, March 28, 2014

Ethiopia lashes out at Eritrea, Egypt

Thursday, March 27, 2014
ADDIS ABABA – An Ethiopian foreign ministry spokesman has lashed out at longstanding rival Eritrea, accusing the latter of destabilizing the East Africa region, while also blasting Egypt for the latter's "malicious" media campaign against Ethiopia's multibillion-dollar hydroelectric dam project.
"Eritrea's involvement in regional conflicts has been the case for long now," Ambassador Dina Mufti told foreign journalists at a weekly press briefing on Thursday.
According to Mufti, Eritrea has played a role in the ongoing conflict in South Sudan.
"We have circumstantial evidence of Eritrea's involvement [in the South Sudan crisis]," the spokesman said.
Tensions between Addis Ababa and Asmara have persisted since a bloody two-year border war – in which tens of thousands were killed – ended in 2000.
As for the row with Egypt over the Nile dam, Mufti said Cairo had launched a media campaign aimed at turning international opinion against the dam project.
"The project is a regional project," he said. "The project will not hurt the interest of Egypt. Rather, it benefits Egypt and other countries of the region."
Egypt's alleged media campaign, according to Mufti, "won't be in the interest of Egypt and [in the interest of] the people of Egypt."
Egypt, he added, had walked out of a tripartite committee with Ethiopia and Sudan that had been formed to assess the dam's potential impact.
Subsequent efforts to bring Egypt back to the tripartite negotiations, said Mufti, had failed to bear fruit.
The mega-dam project has caused tensions with Egypt, which fears a possible reduction of its traditional share of Nile water.
Addis Ababa, however, insists the project will benefit downstream states Sudan and Egypt, both of which will be invited to purchase electricity generated by the dam.
Copyright © 2014 Anadolu Agency

Monday, March 17, 2014

Eritreans in Australia "forced" to pay illegal tax | SBS News

Members of Australia's Eritrean community say they're being forced to pay the Eritrean government an income tax banned by the United Nations.

Santilla Chingaipe


World News Radio
(Transcript from World News Radio)
The UN says the tax is being used to destabilise the Horn of Africa by funding militant groups, including Al Shabaab.
Collection of the two per cent income tax would be in defiance of an Australian government order that it stop.
(Click on audio tab to listen to this item)
According to the last Census, there are close to three thousand people living in Australia from Eritrea.
The north-east African country's only diplomatic presence in Australia is a consulate in Melbourne.
It's through this consulate that members of the Eritrean community say they're being forced to pay a two per cent tax on their incomes, even if they're only Centrelink benefits.
David, who wishes not to be identified, migrated to Australia in 2009.
He has shown SBS receipts from the consulate indicating he's been paying the tax for years.
"When I came here, I wanted to renew my passport because I was still a skilled migrant, so I went there and my passport had expired and I said I need to extend it because I wanted to travel, so I went to the Consulate and they asked me to pay 2 per cent."
David says the consulate refuses to deal with any Eritrean-born person who doesn't provide proof of their income level, and then begins paying the tax.
"They get you once you come to the Consulate, and you are requesting for a service, and other times they'll ask you if you've previously paid the 2 percent tax, and you need to provide them with previous payment. They get to know you or catch you when you go to the consulate."
And David says that if he didn't pay the tax, he wouldn't be able to visit close family members in Eritrea.
"The problem is if I don't pay two per cent, I'm not going to get any services either from the Consulate or the government."
Eritrea has been governed since independence in 1993 by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice.
The government has been widely condemned by human rights groups, and tens-of-thousands of Eritrean citizens have fled in recent years as refugees.
Munir Abdulhai, who also lives in Melbourne, describes himself as the Australian spokesman for the opposition group, the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change.
He also claims if the two per cent tax is not paid through the consulate, there are serious repercussions for those back home.
"They hold ransom or they hold someone back home, anybody who has a son, child or father, they are imprisoned. I know some people who have their relatives imprisoned to just these people to keep them who are outside quiet. Here in Australia."
And Mr Abdulhai claims, the consulate even taxes people on Centrelink benefits.
"You tell them I'm a pensioner, I have known some people who have paid this fund, 2 per cent, they tell them, even if you don't have nothing, they tell them all right, pay this (amount). If they say my income is so low, or this or that, they will tell them as well, have you paid for the function that we had here, the festival we had here, indirectly they tell them to pay it. So in any case, whether it's donated, it's imposed anyway."
The United Nations Security Council banned the so-called diaspora tax collected by Eritrean authorities in a resolution passed in 2011.
The Security Council accused the Eritrean government of undermining peace and reconciliation in the Horn of Africa, by providing support to armed groups such as al-Shabaab, an al-Qaeda affiliate.
The Council called on all UN members, including Australia, to hold accountable, consistent with international law, any individuals acting on behalf of the Eritrean government who collect the diaspora tax.
Yassin Omer Mahmoud is the head of Consular Affairs at the Eritrean Consulate in Melbourne - that is, Eritrea's top diplomat in Australia.
He freely admits that the two per cent payment is sought from Eritreans in Australia.
"We don't call it a tax, we call it recovery. Because Eritrea actually passed through a lot of issues, problems and war and when we come to actually starting or building the country, there's actually like below zero (from scratch), and in order to get that independence, there's a lot of sacrifice. And what's happening is that this (tax) is a kind of gratitude towards the country, everyone will to contribute towards building the country.
And Mr Mahmoud, who disputes the UN allegations against the Eritrean government, denies that the payments are compulsory.
"Actually this is not a forced payment, it is voluntary, whenever they want any services maybe in Eritrea, that's the time they will start paying and there is no force for that. It's voluntary."
In a statement to SBS, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop says the Australian Government condemns any efforts by Eritrea to impose a tax on the Eritrean diaspora, whether in Australia or internationally.
She says Australia formally instructed the Eritrean Consulate to suspend collection of any such tax in June 2011.
But Yassin Omer Mahmoud says he hasn't seen any such communication from the Australian government.
"Until it is officially (told) to us, I'm not going to comment on that. Until it is official told about this issue that you are raising, then we will be commenting on that."
In May last year, Canada's Foreign Minister John Baird expelled Eritrea's consul in Toronto, after he was accused of ignoring repeated warnings to stop imposing the diaspora tax.
"I think declaring the Consul General persona non grata is a significant diplomatic step which underlines our significant concerns with the activities that were inconsistent with his diplomatic role."
David, and other members of the Eritrean community in Australia, say they'd like to see similar action by Julie Bishop.
Meanwhile, he's asked for his identity to be hidden because of the dangers of speaking out about the Eritrean government - and the tax it imposes - even in Australia.
"It's not safe for me right now because I am exposing the government, and the truth of what is happening in Australia. If my face is identified, they can easily persecute my family. They can persecute my mum and my brothers which is not safe."
Julie Bishop's statement says the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has asked federal, state and territory law enforcement authorities to inform it of any evidence that attempts have been made to collect the diaspora tax in Australia.
She says the Department is not aware of this practice currently occurring.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Is Eritrea, Africa’s hermit kingdom heading toward a military coup?

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki was his usual uncompromising self when interviewed on national television earlier this month. Only “daydreamers” believe in alternatives to the ruling People’s Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), said the man who has run this Red Sea state for 23 years without a national election. Anyone hoping for multiparty democracy, he added, can “go to the moon.”
ERi-TV President Isaias Afwerki Interview Live 'Sunday February 9, 2014 at 8PM' from EastAFRO on Vimeo.
Isaias slapped down suggestions that the time was ripe for negotiations with neighboring Ethiopia, with which Eritrea has been locked in a no-peace, no-war standoff since a two-year border conflict in the late 1990s left Ethiopian forces illegally occupying swathes of Eritrean land. As for the notion, recently voiced by a bevy of former U.S. policymakers andambassadors, that strained relations with Washington could and should be improved: “This is like chasing the wind!”
The dogged intransigence on display in the interview, staged during celebrations to mark his former rebel movement’s 1990 capture of the strategic port of Massawa, was typical of the man who once led the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) to victory — but who has since moved, in many of his own citizens’ eyes, from heroic liberator to iron-fisted saboteur of Eritrean independence. “He never hesitates when it comes to pouring cold water on expectations,” says Gaim Kibreab, a professor at London South Bank University and the author of four books on his native country. “Every time people hope for change, he comes out and says, ‘You must be kidding.’”
Isaias’s obduracy also sends an inadvertent message: If change in Eritrea cannot be achieved either peacefully or gradually, it must come about through violence.
There have been nearly 13 years of lockdown in Eritrea, a period in which the country routinely dubbed “Africa’s North Korea” for its militarism and defiant isolationism has virtually disappeared from global headlines. Isaias’s support for fundamentalist groups like Somalia’s al-Shabab — one of the reasons for eroding relations with Washington — has led the United Nations to impose sanctions on the country. Nowadays, even physically accessing what was once an African gateway to the Middle East and Europe is a challenge: Lufthansa, the only Western airline that serviced Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, ceased flying there in October 2013, and the European Union has banned Eritrean Airlines for safety reasons.
Today, there is a growing sense that a crisis point is approaching. “Eritrea’s definitely going to blow,” predicts Selam Kidane, an Eritrean democracy activist based in London.
“Isaias can’t carry on like this for much longer.”
“Isaias can’t carry on like this for much longer.”
This prospect makes Western policymakers exceedingly jittery. Gazing across the Red Sea at Yemen and Saudi Arabia, blocking Ethiopia’s access to the sea, and bordered by Sudan and Djibouti, Eritrea occupies a prime site in geostrategic terms. With South Sudan in the throes of a new civil war and Somalia’s president struggling to pull together a dysfunctional nation, the last thing the Horn of Africa needs is another unstable country.
Rumors about Isaias’s health circulate, but that’s a common phenomenon with strongmen of whom a population has begun to tire. A more significant harbinger of turmoil, in a system that has failed to make the transition from military to civilian rule, is the tangible dissatisfaction within the country’s armed forces, whose size — just under 600,000 members — seems grossly disproportionate to a population of less than six million.
The rank and file of the armed forces, their numbers swelled by the policy of open-ended, obligatory national service that has sent more than 300,000 Eritreans fleeing the country in the last decade, are increasingly unhappy at the denial of civil rights, the rationing of basic commodities, and the flagrant corruption of senior officers. The PFDJ argument that Ethiopia’s illegal occupation of Eritrean land — in violation of a 12-year-old international boundary ruling issued in The Hague — makes such sacrifice necessary is wearing thin.
With the University of Asmara, the country’s only public institution of higher education, closed and the private sector crippled by import restrictions and foreign-exchange regulations, a generation forced to don camouflage has little to look forward to. It feels both caged and marooned.
A preview of the likely future came on Jan. 21, 2013 when 100-200 junior army officers, accompanied by two tanks, stormed the Ministry of Information, a building that sits on a promontory overlooking Asmara and is known locally as “Forto.” Invading the studio of state-owned EriTV, they managed to force the station’s director to read a statement before transmissions were cut, demanding the implementation of Eritrea’s multiparty constitution and the release of political prisoners. (Some of Isaias’s closest collaborators in the 1990s, dubbed the “G15,” have not been seen since he rounded them up in 2001 for daring to criticize his political and military strategy.)
“Operation Forto” appeared to go off at half-cock, before the ringleaders had won the unequivocal backing of key generals. The officers may have been hoping to capture Isaias, who was due to attend a meeting at the Ministry of Information but rescheduled at the last moment. Whatever the case, as the hours ticked by, the mutineers allowed themselves to be talked down by army superiorsThe ringleader, a colonel, reportedly was later shot or committed suicide while fleeing toward the border, and a round of arrests of high-ranking PFDJ personnel followed.
But the botched mutiny was a salutary warning. Not just for Isaias, who last month reshuffled his generals in what was widely interpreted as a bid to prevent them from building up loyal followingsbut also for the Eritrean diaspora, where vocal, civilian opposition to the regime has, of necessity, been corralled and channeled. Isaias’s critics living abroad are anxious not to see Eritrea fit the clichéd African stereotype, whereby a military strongman is replaced not by a civilian administration but by an ambitious young officer who initially promises reform, only to become the new dictator. They are also very worried about being sidelined.
Earlier this month, three EPLF stalwarts staged a press conference in the Hilton Metropole in London to announce the launch of the Forum for National Dialogue, intended to act as a bridge among the opposition-in-exile, the diaspora, and covert dissenters within the Eritrean administration. Pointing out that the Forto mutineers made no reference to the civilian opposition in their public statements, Dr. Assefaw Tekeste, who once ran the EPLF’s Health Department, said the episode highlighted “the disconnect between what is happening inside and outside the country.” The mutineers, he said, “had no idea what was going on abroad.” Hence the urgent need to get the various players, in Eritrea and outside its borders, talking to one another.
Some might suggest that the junior officers knew about the civilian opposition but regarded it as irrelevant — and with good reason. Since Isaias staged a crackdown in 2001, jailing possible rivals and neutralizing potential sources of dissent, Eritrea’s exiled opposition parties have squabbled and fallen out, announcing the formation of all-encompassing “umbrella groups” while repeatedly disagreeing over strategy, roles, affiliation, and funding.
Disputes have often focused on the appropriateness of staging meetings in Addis Ababa or accepting funds from Ethiopia — a coziness that has made it all too easy for Isaias to label his challengers living abroad as traitors. But the tensions are also rooted in older antagonisms between former members of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF), a largely Muslim rebel movement, and the EPLF, in which Christians predominated, that chased them out of the country in the early 1980s.
Despite public mea culpas from former Isaias allies, ELF survivors of that fratricidal rebel war are quick to detect incipient arrogance from exiled EPLF cadres who, they argue, are now seeking to topple the unaccountable presidency they originally created. They suspect the movement that liberated Eritrea believes it won the right to rule, with or without Isaias.
The civilian opposition’s real challenge, however, is how to cross a yawning generational divide. Anyone who has attended Eritrean opposition meetings or civil society get-togethers knows what these gatherings have in common: Delegates are usually male, over the age of 60, and the international media and Western officials are notable in their absence. Dissidents might expect to find an automatic hearing among younger Eritreans who are going into exile rather than performing national service — a constituency voting with its feet. But, in fact, asylum-seekers rarely attend. Desperate to build new lives for themselves in the West, they are intent on winning the necessary paperwork, earning a living, and integrating into host societies. Many feel understandably disillusioned with both the PFDJ and the opposition, whom they see as selling out to Ethiopia.
Yet lately, there are some promising signs of change. Growing numbers of Eritreans living abroad, including younger ones, are being drawn into grassroots activism. They are inspired by events like the Arab Spring and dismayed by stories of the ordeals endured by Eritreans trying to escape their country, who fall prey to gangs of traffickers in the Sinai or who go down in rickety boats off the Mediterranean Coast. Images of hundreds of coffins lined up in an Italian airport hangar, after a boat laden with mostly Eritrean migrants sank off Lampedusa Island in October 2013 and an estimated 360 people drowned, were a massive shock to the community.
Activists in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Israel, and Australia launched a campaign called “Freedom Friday” a year ago. Going through Eritrea’s telephone directory, volunteers began randomly cold-calling compatriots back home, urging them to empty the streets each Friday as a gesture of discontent. (The sociable evening passeggiata — a hangover from Italian colonial days — is an established tradition in Eritrea.)
In September 2013, Freedom Friday unveiled an underground newspaper called Echoes of Forto, the first independent newsletter in Eritrea since the independent press was closed in 2001. A photocopier has been smuggled into Asmara, and contributors in the diaspora send electronic files to supporters in the capital, who surreptitiously print out and distribute the newspaper. Volunteers also plaster stickers and posters making fun of Isaias on walls and telephone booths at night.
The PFDJ has always been very skilled at marshaling its diaspora followers, who regularly disrupt opposition events staged in the West. Now, liaising via Twitter and Facebook, activists are fighting back. They are targeting PFDJ meetings and anniversary celebrations, alerting those who rent out their premises to the oppressive nature of the regime. “A lot of churches in the U.K. and U.S. stopped hosting these events after we made them aware of Eritrea’s persecution of Christians. Now the PFDJ doesn’t announce its meetings,” says Kidane, the democracy activist. Moreover, earlier this month, campaigners sneaked a secret camera into the Eritrean Embassy in London to record officials forcing people in the diaspora to pay a 2 percent tax on earnings, a practice banned by the U.N. Security Council. Canada expelled the Eritrean consul in Toronto last year for continuing to levy the illegal tax, a key source of funding for what the World Bank lists as one of the world’s 10 poorest countries.
These are tiny steps, particularly when compared to the extraordinarily effective fund- and consciousness-raising campaign that Eritreans waged from shabby Western offices in the 1970s and 80s, as the EPLF fought Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie and, later, the Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam. But there was a time when such disloyalty would have been unthinkable, so genuine was the newly-liberated country’s affection for Isaias.
The question now is whether Eritrea’s fractious civilian opposition can form a common political platform and draw in the wide-ranging grassroots support it needs to win credibility — before the military men inside Eritrea lose patience once and for all. Eritrea has always prided itself on forging its own path. But there’s one recent, continent-wide trend that Africa-watchers would dearly like to see the country embrace in coming years: the phasing out of the military coup as a method of political transformation.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Sudan Eritrea supporting South Sudan Rebeles? | martinplaut

 Original Title South Sudan: new battleground for Ethiopia and Eritrea?  

It is clear that Eritrea gave succor to the Islamic Courts Union (ICU) after they were forced to flee from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, by Ethiopian forces in January 2007. Some of the ICU established themselves in Asmara. Others decided to remain in Somalia – becoming the backbone of al-Shabaab and later an affiliate of al-Qaeda. The United Nations imposed sanctions on Eritrea in 2009 because of its support for al-Shabaab. UN Security Council Resolution 1907 accused Eritrea of: “…providing support to the armed groups engaged in destabilization activities in Somalia…”
Reports from UN Monitors have documented over a number of years how Eritrea provided weapons and other assistance to al-Shabaab. In its latest report (S 2013/440 of 25 July 2013) the Monitors noted Eritrea’s attempts to improve relations with Somali President President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The report went on: “However, Eritrea’s strengthening of relations with Mogadishu seems to be driven by tactical decisions in Asmara that continue to contribute to regional destabilization. In particular, the Government of Eritrea maintains close links to a network of warlords and other spoilers in Somalia, which includes at least two leaders of Al-Shabaab.”
It is worth noting that the same UN report talked of Eritrean involvement in South Sudan and Uganda: “The Monitoring Group has obtained information about Eritrean military intelligence and financial operations in Kampala and Juba. Eritrean and intelligence sources in both Kampala and Juba confirm that Eritrea’s ruling PFDJ party have fronted a number of business operations, from restaurants and hotels in Kampala and Juba, to water distribution and food and beverage imports in Juba, often working closely with Ugandan and South Sudanese businessmen as silent partners.”
South Sudan: Allegations of Eritrean involvement
Is the conflict between Kiir and Machar that erupted on the evening of 15 December 2013 the latest stage for Eritrea – Ethiopian rivalry? John Prendergast of the US lobby group Enough clearly thinks this is possible. On the 26th of February he gave evidence before the US Congress’s Subcommittee on Africa. This is what he said:
“South Sudan’s eruption has threatened to regionalize the war in ways not seen since the 1990s. On the one hand, Uganda has overtly intervened militarily in support of Juba’s government. On the other hand, allegations are increasing that both Eritrea and Sudan are covertly providing support to the South Sudanese opposition forces, though firm evidence has yet to emerge. Sudan’s history of supporting some of the ringleaders of South Sudan’s armed opposition is deep, and South Sudan supported Sudanese rebels are alleged to be siding militarily with Juba’s forces in areas near the border of the two countries. Both countries still remain deeply interconnected and in many ways interdependent, and neither can be at peace if its neighbor is at war. Ethiopia has strongly warned Uganda to pull out its forces, with an unknown “or else” attached.”
Prendergast went on to describe the possibility of a regional conflict as a “nightmare scenario.” He concluded: “Currently, Eritrea is covered by sanctions for its support for armed elements inside Somalia. A credible investigation should be initiated to determine whether Eritrea is providing resupply support to South Sudanese rebels as has been alleged. If evidence corroborates these reports, those sanctions should be expanded from Somalia to South Sudan. Such an investigation should also attempt to determine if Sudan is providing similar support as has been alleged.”
The context
As Prendergast states, these are allegations and not evidence of Eritrean involvement. He does not disclose why he believes the allegations are worth investigating or where they came from.  So what is the context?
  1. Sudan (also allegedly backing their former ally Riek Machar) held talks with Eritrea in January this year. PresidentOmer Al-Bashir and his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afewerki met on the 25th of January in Asmara. The visit is reported to have been much more than a swift trip: it lasted three days. The two presidents are reported to have offered their support to South Sudan and President Salva Kiir, but did they also discuss covert support for Machar and his rebels? There is no way of knowing, but at least for the present Asmara and Khartoum appear to be on the same wavelength as far as South Sudan is concerned. Salva Kiir despatched an envoy to Eritrea this week, and apparently received assurances of President Afewerki’s support.
  2. There has been growing pressure from some senior American ex-diplomats for sanctions against Eritrea to be relaxed, as a way of bringing the country back from the cold and ending the Eritrea-Ethiopia dispute. Among them is the former US Former Assistant Secretary of State for Africa, Hank CohenCohen argued recently that the time had come to act and that this was in Washington’s best interests: “…the normalization of relations between the United States and Eritrea would open the door to military-to-military cooperation of the type that would enlist Eritrea in the war against Islamic terrorism in the Horn coming from across the Red Sea. Yes, the time has come to bring Eritrea in from the cold.” This argument was supported by another former US diplomat Ambassador David Shinn.
  3. Ethiopia has strongly resisted lifting sanctions against Eritrea. It has argued that: “…recent talk of mending Ethio-Eritrean relations, the subject of discussion by some sympathizers of Eritrea, also seems detached from reality. It is based on false assumptions about the regime in Asmara which, in reality, has repeatedly made it very clear it is opposed to any form of dialogue. The call for the lifting of sanctions is out of synchronization with any reality on the ground…All the evidence shows that Eritrea is continuing to negate regional peace efforts, consistently making alliances with spoiler groups in Somalia and elsewhere.”
  4. At the same time, a report appeared on a website accusing Eritrea of continuing to ship arms to Somalia. “the Ethiopian military in Central Somalia intercepted an Eritrean attempt to smuggle powerful rockets to the Southern Somalia as well as Somali territory in Ethiopia on a Yemeni commercial small boat off the coast of Puntland and Galmudug regional States of Somalia.” The source of this report was said to be Ethiopian military intelligence.
So is Eritrea arming Riek Machar and taking its fight against Ethiopia into South Sudan?
The answer would appear to be inconclusive. John Prendergast has yet to provide evidence for his allegation before Congress. Eritrea clearly has “form” – having armed Al-Shabaab as well as rebel groups active inside Ethiopia. The Ethiopias – for their part – are clearly deeply concerned that Eritrea might escape the UN sanctions net, as suggested by Cohen and Shinn. Ethiopian military intelligence is stepping up the pressure by providing reports of continued arms shipments to Somalia. At the same time President Isaias Afewerki is co-ordinating his Sudan strategy with Khartoum – something that is of sufficient concern for Salva Kiir to send an envoy to Asmara with an unknown message.
Perhaps all one can say for sure is that it is a murky old world: Ethiopian and Eritrean involvement in South Sudan will need careful scrutiny.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Chief of Staff of Eritrean Armed Forces, Maj General Wuchu died due to power conflict of mysterious reasons

Major General Gebregziabher Andremariam, alias ‘Wuchu’, reportedly passed on in Asmara.    The cause of his death is currently unknown sum suspect that due to his increasing power and his influence among the Eritrean fighters suspected supporting the February 21, 2013 movement .

Maj Gen. Andremariam was one of the national liberation leaders 1961 – 1993   and served as the head of  2 operation area in  Barka from Berntu.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Eritrean arms smuggling Through Central Somalia

March 7, 2014 | by wpgeeska
Eritrean arms smuggling Through Central Somalia
Baledweyne (HAN) March 6th, 2014 – An Ethiopian Military intelligence and security source told HAN & Geeska Afrika Online

that, the Ethiopian military in Central Somalia intercepted an Eritrean attempt to smuggle powerful rockets to the Southern Somalia as well as Somali territory in Ethiopia on a Yemeni commercial small boat off the coast of Puntland and Galmudug regional States of Somalia.
In such a military activities, Eritrean authorities appear to have been responding to international pressure to curb the involvement of Eritrea in activities that threaten regional peace and security violations of the arms embargo. Eritrea’s powerful contacts in Southern Somalia involves weapons and human smuggling operations running through eastern Ports of Central and Southern Somalia. Regional security documents details evidence of Eritrean support to the ONLF, OLF, the Tigrayan People’s Democratic Movement (TPDM), Ginbot 7 and ARDUF, and says Eritrea “hosts the remnants of other Ethiopian opposition groups, such as Arbengnoch, Debub-Hizboch, and Beni Shangul”
The UN Monitoring Group says that the Governments of South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Uganda and Eritrea should take all necessary steps to prevent the use of their ports and airports for activities in connection with technical assistance, training, financial and other aid for military activities in Somalia in violation of Security Council resolutions 733 (1992), 1425 (2002) and 1844 (2008)
For regional stability, Ethiopia’s Military Intelligence are monitoring Eritrean and Yemeni arms-smuggling and terror-financing networks across the Horn of African lines, IGAD2020 regional  security sources revealed this week.
The UN reports last week concluded that  Eritrea’s behavior should be viewed in the context of its unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia, a legacy of the 1998-2000 war between the two neighbors, and the resulting insecurity felt in Asmara, about it giant neighbor’s intentions.
- See more at:

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Ethiopia Worried by Eritrea's Latest Active Diplomacy- tesfa

A recent written directive by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry shows how much the government is worried by Eritrea's latest diplomatic salvo and wondered if that finally lead to abrogate the sanction

A recent written directive by the Ethiopian Foreign Ministry shows how much the government is worried by Eritrea’s latest diplomatic salvo, wondering if that might eventually lead to abrogate the sanction
By TesfaNews,
The Ethiopian Foreign ministry has issued this week a special directive to its diplomatic missions around the world to start countering Eritrea’s latest active diplomatic successes that aimed at fostering trade and economic co-operations besides garnering the much needed political support to end the politically motivated, U.S. engineered United Nations sanction on the country.
The directive orders all Ethiopian diplomats and heads of missions to start immediate diplomatic activities and lobbying works within their respective host states in order to maintain the sanction imposed on Eritrea. 
Eritrea recently appointed 14 new ambassadors to carry out its renewed and active diplomatic maneuvers in a number of African, Middle Eastern and Asian countries. Some of the recent major diplomatic achievements includes the establishment of full diplomatic relation with Turkey and the signing of the first ever economic and diplomatic cooperation agreements with Moscow.

Eritrea also renewed its active diplomatic engagement with neighboring countries like Uganda, Kenya and Egypt besides the excellent relation it enjoys with the two Sudans. It has also appointed new ambassadors to the EU and Norway after a European Union delegation visited Asmara and agreed to reactivate its development partnership program in the country.
Sweden also showed interest in renewing its long frozen relation with Eritrea first by assigning a non-resident ambassador to Eritrea and followed by rejecting the looming politically motivated ban on the 2% Eritrean “diaspora tax’ in the country by the the Swedish Riksdag.  Eritrea reciprocated the good gesture by appointing its first ambassador to the country in nine years.
Eritrea also resetted its one time frosty relation with the United Nations after a delegation comprised of regional directors from UNDP, UNICEF, IOM, UNFPA, ILO and WFP headed by the Chair of the regional United Nations Development Group (UNDG)  for Eastern and Southern Africa, Mr. Abdoulaye Mar Dieye, concludes a three days visit to Asmara. Eritrea reciprocated by assigning a new envoy to the world body.
Such new developments are on top of the formal diplomatic ties the country enjoys with almost all UN member states and the over 30 Embassies and Consulates it has all over the world while it also hosting a similar number in its capital.
In the face of such highly successful diplomatic gains within a short period of time along with the recent pronouncement by three prominent American diplomats on the legality of maintaining the sanction in the absence of any real or fabricated evidence linking Eritrea with Somalia rebels, the Ethiopian government have every reason to worry that such unexpected diplomatic successes might eventually lead to the lifting of the sanction.
The Ministry’s directive stressed that the bulk of this new assignment will be conducted through its Ambassadors in Canada, Australia, Denmark, North and South Sudan, UK, USA, France, Germany, Israel, Italy and Norway.
The directive finally concludes by instructing all diplomatic missions to report back to the ministry by the end of the month regarding the outcome of their assignments.