April 30, 2014

Eritrean rebels claim to have killed dozens of intelligence agents

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 8:18 pm
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April 28, 2014 (ADDIS ABABA) – Eritrean rebel group, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organization (RSADO), alleged on Monday it had killed and wounded dozens of Eritrean government intelligence agents in an attack inside the reclusive East African nation.

Thumb 1The Ethiopia-based rebel group said that the strike was carried out at the military barracks of an intelligence unit based in the Northern Red Sea region in the vicinity of Alhan.

Ibrahim Haron, the leader of the rebel group, told Sudan Tribune that their “forces in the early hours of Saturday attacked the military camp and killed 27 intelligence agents and wounded many others belonging to the 15th sub-division intelligence unit”.

The rebel leader said his fighters took control of the military base for over eight hours following the attack, destroying the entire camp before leaving the area.

The group also claims to have captured various types of weapons.

There was no immediate comment from the government in Asmara and the claims cannot be independently verified.

He said there were some 70 government intelligence members inside the camp during the assault but he said none of them tried to engage the rebel fighters.

“They preferred to runaway than fight against [us]. This indicates how much the government army is weakening,” the rebels said.

Ibrahim said the latest assault was in retaliation to ethnic killings by Eritrean government agents targeting Afar minorities.

This is the rebel group’s first cross-border attack since 2012 when they killed 30 Eritrean soldiers in an attack at a military base in the Southern Red Sea region.

RSADO which is a member of the Eritrean Democratic Alliance (EDA), a coalition of 11 Eritrean political organisations, renewed its calls for other opposition members to join the armed struggle to topple president Isaias Afwerki’s regime.

After the 1998-2000 bloody border war between Eritrea and Ethiopia, Asmara considers Eritrea’s Afars as being aligned to Ethiopia and having links to fellow Afar tribes in Ethiopia.


March 18, 2014

The Hypocrisy of the West: Eritrea & Crimea

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:04 pm
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 March 18, 2014

by Messay Kebede

The West is deploring the referendum in Crimea and threatening to apply economic sanctions against Russia, believed to be the instigator of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis. Some Western politicians even go the extent of advocating direct military aid so that Ukraine can oppose military resistance to the Russian aggression. The referendum, which is supposed to lead to the reintegration of Crimea into the Russian Federation, is characterized by the West as illegal. From what I was able to gather, the reasons why the referendum is considered illegal include the followings. (1) Ukraine is an independent and sovereign country; (2) the referendum takes place with a strong presence of Russian military force in Crimea; (3) the referendum does not offer Crimea the choice of remaining within Ukraine.

The West is deploring the referendum in Crimea, what about Eritrea?

What beats everything is that the West did not raise any concern about legality when Eritrea seceded from Ethiopia in 1993, even though all the reasons enumerated to contest the referendum in Crimea were also present in Ethiopia. Thus, ( 1) Ethiopia is an independent and sovereign nation; (2) the referendum was conducted in the presence of the victorious EPLF army; (3) The choice to remain  part of Ethiopia under a new political arrangement was not offered to Eritreans, nor was Ethiopia given the opportunity defend its legitimate position and interests, except through the TPLF government. The latter had no legality other than the power of arms and was already dead set to expel Eritrea from Ethiopia as a dangerous rival to the TPLF hegemony in Ethiopia. Yet, though conducted under such faulty conditions and in direct violation of the sovereignty of Ethiopia, the referendum was declared “fair and free” by the UN Observer Mission.

One thing is sure: we Ethiopians should remember the Western condemnation of the Russian initiative. If, as says the West, the conduct of a referendum in a situation preventing free expression and in an independent and sovereign country is illegal, then undoubtedly the rejection of the referendum in Crimea equally questions the legality of the Eritrean secession. The flaws that make the secession of Crimea illegal are also those that disqualify the Eritrean referendum. This is not to say that Ethiopia should start a war to recover Eritrea, but that it is not compelled to accept its independence so long as it believes, now in accordance with the West, that the referendum was illegal.

Surprising as it may seem, the West is saying that the feeling of the concerned people does not matter as much as the legality of the process. Even if Crimeans in their majority want to be part of Russia, they cannot do it in violation of the national sovereignty of Ukraine. Of course, what explains the application of different criteria is that Russia is a rival superpower while Ethiopia is a poor and weak country. Everything must be done to stop the expansion of Russia. By contrast, nobody should lose sleep over the fragmentation, in direct violation of its national sovereignty, of a country as weak as Ethiopia.

October 27, 2013

Request:”Remove the Red Sea Port Slogan”

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia — ethiopiantimes @ 10:57 am
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Dear Editor,

Ethiomedia is a reliable source of information for us Ethiopians as it protects Ethiopian interests and fights the good fight against those who are anti-Ethiopian, the likes of the serpent Tesfaye Gebreab (as some call him Gebre-ebab) and that of Jawar, by unmasking them and showing their true colors to the true children of Ethiopia!

While appreciating such, I saw a motto atop the front page that goes, as copied, which I think discounts the value of the rest of the information we get from the website.

Yes! we are made landlocked by the seating government, which came to rule Tigray and sat on the throne of Ethiopia by accident, we lost Our Port – the way to the sea! As your caption tells, it is better to have a port than having 40 dams of the size of GERD, but we lost the port, should you think we should lose the 40 dams we are constructing as well?

The tenure of a government is limited, like the life of any creature is, and we know from history that empires come and go, both in global and national contexts. I believe that EPRDF’s end will come soon ( either it will mutate to good government or extinct like those of its predecessors). However, our beloved Ethiopia will go on! Whatever profit the country gets, it should get from whoever governs – we have to pick the positive.

Here I kindly request you to remove the caption from your page, it has a meaning, if we don’t have a port , we don’t need the dams either; actually we need them very badly! Even now we are scaring Egypt, who was home to the secessionists Shabia (EPLF), TPLF and the now EPRDF- time for repay – we are settling the debt, and will serve as our future national security tool.

Hoping that you will treat my concern favorably,

Gashaw Abate
Pretoria, South Africa

Editor’s Note – Dear Gashaw, you asked Ethiomedia to remove the motto: “40 dams are no match for one Red Sea port!” Why should you worry unless you are a disguised Eritrean agent like Tesfaye Gebreab? The motto is a reminder to readers, including yourself, that building a dam, no matter how giant, is no match for Ethiopia’s bid to restore part of the Afar Red Sea coastal area that has been annexed by Eritrea when two Eritrean groups moved to Asmara and Addis Ababa in 1991. True power of TPLF has never been in the hands of Tigrians but ultra Eritrean mercenaries like Meles Zenawi, Sebhat Nega etc. TPLF officials who had no Eritrean heritage were simply the slaves of Meles Zenawi, whether it was Seye Abraha or Gebru Asrat, two notables Meles purged in 2001 [Today, Gebru is genuinely deep in the opposition struggle while Seye Abraha is incurably crippled by his dead boss, Meles Zenawi, to be no good for an Ethiopian opposition].

To come back to the point, our Afar patriots, specially the original ARDUF fighters, fought a heroic fight for the first 10 years [1991-2001]. ARDUF was fighting against Shabia [Eritrean regime], but Meles fought on behalf of Shabia and was busy wiping out Afar settlements to crush ARDUF. During this 10-year-old war, the entire Ethiopia was in deep sleep! Very few Ethiopians know how Afars were the first Ethiopian patriots who fought against the Eritrean-led TPLF mercenaries that came to power in Ethiopia in 1991.

For instance, when former US President Jimmy Carter advised Meles in 1989 that he shouldn’t punish future generations of Ethiopia by turning ‘his country’ into a landlocked nation, Meles posed as an Ethiopian and told Carter, “Ethiopia had never had her own port. The Eritreans fought against us for 30 years because we had annexed their territory.”

Meles had no problem from the rest of TPLF leadership because he and his accomplices had murdered the politically conscious TPLF commanders like Suhul [first TPLF chairman] or Dr Atakilt Ketsela [who used to wrap the Ethiopian flag around his head and was firmly opposed to the notion that Eritrea was an Ethiopian colony]. Meles had the comfort of two groups: mercenaries like Sebhat Nega, Abay Tsehaye etc who will die for whatever Meles tells them to do, and the other group consisting of very obedient slaves who would never have the courage to look the mercenary straight in the eye, let alone to remove him as enemy of Ethiopia. That is why Meles never faced treason, and hence an outright arrest in 1998 when Shabia invaded Ethiopia and the entire country was blaming the mercenary prime minister.

The bottomline is the Ethiomedia motto in no way indicates that building dams is not good for our country. It rather underscores that the fight for the restoration of the Red Sea Afar territory to Ethiopia should remain fresh in the memory of the young generation of Ethiopia as opposed to the campaign of TPLF mercenaries like Bereket Simon who says we have raised a generation of Ethiopia that only knows Ethiopia as a landlocked country.

Unless you are an Eritrean disguised as an Ethiopian and spreads the deceptive remark,’we don’t need Assab because we can prosper without Assab,” I urge you to read, for the start, Dr Yacob Hailemariam’s book: “Asseb Yemanat?” When Ethiopia falls into the hand of a popularly-elected Ethiopian government, the legal campaign for the restoration of the Red Sea to its natural owner, Ethiopia, will begin with earnest. And Ethiomedia firmly believes Eritrea will be content with its own Massawa, while readily handing over the southern stretch of the Red Sea to its owner – ETHIOPIA. Anything out of this would be playing with fire.


More motto? Help home-based Andenet Party! Help home-based Semayawi Party! Help Home-based 33-parties united!



“Joint Dam Ownership” – What does it mean???

Dear Editor,

It is about the Dam.

Joint ownership??? What does it mean? Are we going to be fool and share our right on our natural resources with Egypt and the Sudan for centuries to come? I am not clear with this idea. This matter is not as simple as allowing leasing a land for foreigners for a certain period. In other words, it is like allowing Egypt and the Sudan to decide on our sovereignty issue regarding the Dam.

Please, this question should not be decided by the good will of one single Government official or anybody else. Look, how the Egyptians are smart enough and fast to accept this kind of ideas, which gives them to control the Dam indirectly. Let the people discuss this matter and have their say. Please open a discussion forum on this matter.

Buzu Mengistu

Editor’s Note – We invite scholars on the subject to probe the issue, and inform the public on what does “joint ownership” of ones own river/dam mean?

January 25, 2013

Protesters Occupy Eritrean Embassy in London

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 6:09 am

What really happened at Asmara’s ministry of (dis)information ?

The Eritrean capital, Asmara, saw an uprising on 21 January that was both unexpected and short-lived. Around 100 soldiers staged a mutiny and stormed the information ministry. The army responded by surrounding the building with tanks. After a 12-hour interruption, the state broadcast media resumed their normal programming, the mutineers withdrew and officials went home.

What really happened that day at the information ministry? Some information began to filter out the next day, and more has emerged since then. But it has not been easy to follow events as they happened. And establishing what this incident means and what it may bode for the future is even harder.

Eritrea is one of the world’s most closed countries and has one of the last totalitarian dictatorships. The mystery surrounding the events of 21 January and the chorus of denials and contradictory comments on social networks are the logical consequence of a situation in which privately-owned media have been banned since 2001 and no foreign press correspondents have been permitted since 2010.

This Horn of Africa country is ranked last in the Reporters Without Borders press freedom index and is Africa’s biggest prison for journalists, with at least 30 detained. Seven have died or committed suicide in detention as a result of the appalling conditions.

When the only media allowed to operate inside a country are government-run propaganda mouthpieces, the exile media play a key role. This is the case with Radio Erena, an independent radio station based in Paris and supported by Reporters Without Borders. It was Radio Erena that sounded the alert. We will get back to this. First the facts.

Mutineers take “Forto,” state media interrupted

Early on the morning of 21 January, around 100 mutineers took up positions in the information ministry, an enormous ochre-coloured building known as “Forto,” which sits atop a small hill overlooking Asmara.

The rebel soldiers quickly gathered all the employees “in the same room” and then Asmelash Abreha, the head of state-owned Eri-TV, which broadcasts from within the complex, was forced to begin reading a communiqué on the air.

The communiqué called for implementation of the 1997 constitution, which has been suspended since the 1998-2000 war against Ethiopia, and for the release of political prisoners and all those who were arrested while trying to flee the country illegally across its land borders.

After he had read the first two sentences, the TV station’s over-the-air signal was suddenly cut and its satellite signal began broadcasting archive footage. Army tanks quickly surrounded the building. They also reportedly took up protective positions at the presidential palace, located just a few hundred metres away, and at the airport. The rest of the city apparently remained calm but communication with the outside world became very complicated.

“Snowing in Paris”

After being off the air all day, Eri-TV resumed broadcasting at around 10 p.m. with news from Europe. “Snow in Paris is disrupting the everyday activities of the French,” the news programme announced. The mutineers withdrew in the evening, and the information ministry’s 500 or so employees all went home. The next morning they were all back at work, as usual.

The 1993 precedent

According to reports from various sources, including the opposition exile website, it seems that the mutiny was led by four people – Col. Saleh Osman, two majors and a captain – but was spontaneous and not very organized. Col Osman was a hero of the anti-Ethiopian resistance in the port city of Assab during the 1998-2000 war.

What happened to the mutineers and how was the situation resolved? The authorities did not make any arrests. “The mutineers withdrew peacefully,” said journalist Léonard Vincent, the author of a book about Eritrea, speaking on Radio France Internationale. In fact, not a single shot was fired.

An Eritrean interviewed by Reporters Without Borders and Martin Plaut, in a post entitled “21 January in perspective on his blog, both said the incident resembled one in 1993, a few days before Eritrea’s independence declaration, when a few ex-fighters staged a brief mutiny to demand their back pay.

To this end, they surrounded the office of the future president, Issaias Afeworki, then a hero of the liberation and head of the single party, the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice. The situation was quickly resolved by means of negotiation, but some of the ex-fighters were later arrested or disappeared.

But never since independence in 1993 has Eri-TV’s programming been interrupted as it was on 21 January.

After official silence, comments, spin and denial

Although just embryonic and ephemeral, this week’s uprising quickly drew the attention of the international community, foreign media and Eritrean diaspora because Eritrea is an extremely authoritarian country where fear is universal and any form of protest seems inconceivable.

At first there was complete silence from the government. The first official comment came the next day from Yemane Gebremeskel, the president’s senior adviser, who said: “All is calm today, as it was indeed yesterday.”

Comments followed from a few Eritrean officials based abroad, including the ambassador to the United Nations, Araya Desta; the ambassador to the African Union, Girma Asmerom; the ambassador to Japan; and the consuls in Australia and South Africa. All played down the incident and criticized “garbage reports” in foreign media in the pay of “Eritrea’s enemies.”

“The government is insisting that the situation is under control while reluctantly admitting that there was an incident,” Léonard Vincent wrote.

Meanwhile, the exile opposition and government supporters waged a furious battle on social networks. Rahel Weldeab, who works for the pro-government National Union of Eritrean Youth and Students, tweeted: “People in Asmara are going about their daily lives while ‘experts on the Horn’ cry coup (…) I live right near the airport, nothing is happening.”

Another person on Twitter criticized the comments about the human rights situation in Eritrea and said that freedom of information was respected because journalism is taught at school. The exact message says : “And you can be a journalist in Eritrea. They even teach journalism in school. I don’t know wtf you talking about”.

Radio Erena, first with the news

Amanuel Ghirmai, an Eritrean exile journalist with Radio Erena, was extensively quoted by all the international news media on 21 January. Throughout the day, international media turned to the Paris-based independent radio station to find out what was happening in Asmara.

And for good reason. Radio Erena was the first radio station to report that an incident was unfolding in the Eritrean capital. Alerted early in the morning, the station took to the air at 9 a.m. (Paris time), an hour earlier than usual, and continued to follow events as they happened.

With support from Reporters Without Borders, Radio Erena was launched in June 2009 by a group of Eritrean exile journalists. Headed by Biniam Simon, a former Eri-TV star anchor, it relies on a network of local correspondents and contributors. Its independently-reported news and information provide an alternative to the government’s propaganda.

Because of its success and the quality of its programmes, Radio Erena quickly became a government target. Its satellite signal was jammed and its website was the victim of a cyber-attack last summer, after it had been broadcasting for three years.

January 23, 2013

The military mutiny in Eritrea was led by Colonel Saleh Osman

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 9:56 pm
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Peter Heinlein | VOA

A day-long siege at Eritrea’s information ministry Monday ended in a stalemate, with disgruntled soldiers retreating to a strategic location outside the capital, Asmara. That the incident provides rare insight into the inner workings of one of the world’s most opaque societies.

International observers are wondering what happened Monday after a group of soldiers drove to Eritrea’s information ministry and demanded that a statement be read out over state-run television. The statement asking for the release of political prisoners and for respect of the constitution was being read when the station suddenly went off the air.

Nearly 12 hours later, the station resumed broadcasting with no mention of the cause of the disruption. The troops that had occupied the ministry simply climbed back into their armored personnel carriers and drove off.

Information gathered from a variety of sources indicates the operation was led by Colonel Saleh Osman, a legendary figure of the Eritrea-Ethiopia war from 1998 to 2000. A usually authoritative opposition website reports that Colonel Osman and several dozen supporters retreated to the suburbs of Asmara, where they are in talks with President Isaias Afewerki’s government.

Information is tightly controlled in Eritrea. The watchdog group Reporters Without Borders ranks the Red Sea nation last out of 179 countries in press freedom, below North Korea.

Former Reporters Without Borders Africa director Leonard Vincent is the author of a book titled The Eritreans, and a close follower of the country. In a telephone interview, Vincent said Monday’s siege appears to have been a show of force, and not an attempt to seize power.

“Yesterday’s operation was not aimed at overthrowing by violence the government, but still it’s a standoff with the government,” said Vincent. “It’s an operation aimed at showing defiance toward them. So this shows the level of frustration in the army is very high.”

Vincent says the standoff at the information ministry suggests Colonel Osman has broad support within the military.

“If this was an isolated operation led by a rebel colonel, this kind of move should have been met by violence and severe repression,” he said. “This hasn’t happened, so there might be negotiations going on, and this unit might not be so isolated as we thought yesterday.”

Vincent believes it is too early to tell whether the operation was successful.

“We cannot say if it has succeeded or failed,” said Vincent. “What we can say is a faction of the army is showing its strength and is talking with the government on the basis of what they are capable of doing in terms of taking control of parts of the country.”

Vincent says the dissidents’ demand of freedom for political prisoners, particularly those jailed in a 2001 purge, has deep resonance among ordinary Eritreans.

“It’s the sine qua non [essential] condition for change in Eritrea,” he said. “The situation of political prisoners is awful. Reformists and journalists who were jailed in 2001 have vanished. According to sketchy reports, they are detained in high security prison in the far northeast of the country, and the majority have died from disease or by suicide. This is a method the government uses against any dissent or criticism.”

Human rights groups have long criticized Eritrea’s record of jailing government critics. The United Nations last year estimated there are as many as 10,000 political prisoners in a country of six million people.

January 21, 2013

Rumours of military coup in Eritrea

Filed under: Eritrea — ethiopiantimes @ 3:59 pm
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According to reports, a group of soldiers have launched what may have been a coup attempt in Asmara, forcing state TV off the air. About Eri-TV boss Asmelash Abreha to read a statement saying the 1997 constitution will be implemented and political prisoners freedaccording to correspondent Léonard Vincent. The broadcast was cut.

Reports of unrest in small African nation Eritrea

By By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press – 27 minutes ago

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — More than 100 dissident soldiers stormed the Ministry of Information in the small East African nation of Eritrea on Monday and read a statement on state TV saying the country’s 1997 constitution would be put into force, two Eritrea experts said.

The soldiers held all of the ministry workers — including the daughter of the president — in a single room, said Leonard Vincent, author of the book “The Eritreans” and co-founder of a Paris-based Eritrean radio station. The soldiers’ broadcast on state TV said the country’s 1997 constitution would be reinstated and all political prisoners freed, but the broadcast was cut off after only two sentences were read and the signal has been off air the rest of the day, Vincent said.

By late afternoon there were indications the soldiers’ attempt would fail. A military tank sat in front of the Ministry of Information but the streets of the capital, Asmara, were quiet, and no shots had been fired, said a Western diplomat in Eritrea who wasn’t authorized to be identified by name.

Vincent stopped short of calling it a coup d’etat and said it wasn’t immediately clear if the action was a well-organized coup attempt or what he called a “kamikaze crash.”

Later Monday government soldiers surrounded the ministry, an indication the action by the dissident soldiers had failed, said Martin Plaut, a fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies in Britain.

“It looks like it’s an isolated attempt by some soldiers who are completely frustrated by what is going on. But it wasn’t done in a coordinated manner,” Plaut said. “They did seize the television station, they did manage to put this broadcast out, but the government is still functioning calmly. There is nothing on the streets.”

Eritrea is an oppressive and politically isolated neighbor of Ethiopia and Sudan situated on the Red Sea that broke off from Ethiopia in the 1990s. The U.S. government’s relations with Eritrea became strained in 2001 as a result of a government crackdown against political dissidents, the closing of the independent press and limits on civil liberties, conditions that the State Department says have “persisted to this day.”

Isaias Afworki has ruled the country as president and head of the military since 1993.

If the power grab attempt by the dissident soldiers fails, they are likely in for severe punishments, Vincent and Plaut said.

“People call it the North Korea of Africa and that is accurate, so you either win or you’re dead, and I think these people are dead,” Plaut said. “One can’t be absolutely sure but that’s what it looks like.”

Associated Press reporter Andrew Meldrum contributed to this report.

January 2, 2013

Hailemariam Says No Change of Policy On Eritrea

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia,Hailemariam Desalegn — ethiopiantimes @ 8:31 pm
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Prime Minister Hailemariam today (January 1st, 2013) responded to questions raised by MPs’ in a special Parliamentary question and answer session.
Questions covered a wide variety of subjects including the performance of the Growth and Transformation Plan, transport problems in Addis Ababa, human trafficking challenges, the recent restructuring of the executive and questions on foreign policy.

MPs asked whether the Prime Minister’s recent statement to Al Jezeera that he was willing to negotiate with the Eritrean government even in Asmara was indicative of any change of policy. Prime Minister Hailemariam in his reply made it clear that Ethiopia’s policy towards Eritrea has not changed over the past eight years since it issued its Five Point Peace Plan in November 2004, accepting in principle the Eritrean Ethiopian Boundary Commission’s Decision.

PM Hailemariam Desalegn

The Prime Minister said that despite the continuing belligerent behavior of the regime in Asmara and its destabilizing activities, Ethiopia’s position had always been for peace. Equally, of course, it was always necessary to defend the nation when necessary. He added that his reference that he was ready to travel to Asmara underlined his complete commitment for peace. On Somalia, the Prime Minister said, his government would continue working with the new government of Somalia to help consolidate peace across large parts of Somalia.
The Prime Minister also outlined the peace efforts made by the government of Ethiopia, including his own recent visits to Khartoum and Juba, to bring the two Sudan’s to the negotiating table on the remaining post independence issues. He noted that “the two sides have now agreed to hold discussion on the implementation of the Addis Ababa Agreements which cover 90% of the issues and negotiate on the remaining issues “.


December 13, 2012

Isaias Afwerki has asked Qatar To Mediate Dispute With Ethiopia

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia,Qatar — ethiopiantimes @ 10:47 pm
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Eritrean president Isaias Afwerki has asked Qatar to mediate his long-standing feud with “arch-rival” Ethiopia.   This message was communicated to the new Ethiopian Prime Minister, Hailemariam Desalgn, by Qatar, while the Ethiopian prime minister was conducting a state visit.

Isaias Afwerki has offered to attend mediation talks without any pre-conditions.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Hailemariam Desalegn told his interviewer that he would be willing to travel to Eritrea to hold face-to-face talks with Isaias Afwerki and that this was a long-standing Ethiopian policy:   “My predecessor Meles Zenawi had asked for more than 50 times even to go to Asmara and negotiate with Mister Isaias Afwerki,” he said.

Qatar, which is showing greater interest in the region, is weary of the growing Turkish influence in the Horn of Africa. Recently, the Turkish foreign minister visited Asmara at the invitation of Isaias Afwerki, who wanted him to mediate between the new Somali regime and the Eritrean regime. But while in Asmara, Isaias also informed the Turkish foreign minister that he is working to normalize relations with Ethiopia and that he had asked Qatar to mediate.

Isaias Afwerki is facing internal crisis represented by acute shortage of electricity, water and basic food items including milk throughout Eritrea.  This has exacerbated the crisis within the military where morale has hit rock bottom due to the confusing command and control hierarchy–where Isaias bypasses his direct reports to communicate directly with more junior officers–mass desertion which has hollowed out the forces, inadequate salaries and rampant corruption within the officer class.

To head off revolt within the armed forces, Isaias Afwerki has started to arm the entire civilian population and to structure them in what is known as Hzbawi Serawit, or People’s Army, modeled after Communist China, where Isaias Afwerki received his first revolutionary indoctrination in the 1960s.

In the streets of Eritrea, old men and women carrying AK-47s is a common sight.  It is not unusual to witness women carrying AK-47s while holding their babies and farmers as old as sixty plough their land while carrying their guns.

Isaias Afwerki is on record, repeatedly, for stating that he would never enter into negotiations with Ethiopia other than to discuss the mechanism for strict implementation of the ruling of Eritrea-Ethiopian Boundary Commission (EEBC.) While a separate body, the Eritrea Ethiopia Claims Commission (EECC) largely put the blame on Eritrea for starting the war,  the symbolic flashpoint of the border war, Badme, was awarded to Eritrea by the EEBC.  The Boundary Commission ended up conducting  “virtual demarcation” after being frustrated by Ethiopia’s refusal to strictly abide by the ruling and demanding dialogue on implementing the ruling purportedly to avoid disrupting the lives of Ethiopian citizens.

Isaias Afwerki also has a history of acting in way diametrically opposed to his loud and frequent assertions, but only after he has been penalized for his intransigence.  For one thing, after repeatedly telling the United Nations that he had no dispute with Djibouti and therefore nothing to resolve, he agreed to mediation (Djibouti Eritrea Mediation Agreement) without acknowledging to his people that he had done so.  However, in the interim, the UN had imposed sanctions (S/Res/1907(2009)) on Eritrea in no small part due to Isaias’s refusal to admit that he went to war with Djibouti, that he is holding Djibouti prisoners of war, and that he should admit this and seek resolution.

The mediator for the Eritrea-Djbouti dispute is also Qatar, which has stationed its armed forces in a buffer zone between Eritrea and Djibouti.

December 6, 2012

Hailemariam Desalgn willing to talk to Issayas Afeworki

Filed under: Eritrea,Ethiopia,Hailemariam Desalegn — ethiopiantimes @ 7:04 pm
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