A Week in the Horn
- News in Brief
- Emir of Qatar’s state visit provides prospects for deeper cooperation
- The 4thEthio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting in Algiers
- EU and Ethiopia launch “strategic engagement” dialogue on human rights
- Ethiopia stresses need to implement recommendations on UN Peace Operations
- An Ethio-China Investment Cooperation Forum held in Addis Ababa
- UNOCHA’s latest report on responses to the drought in Ethiopia
- UNSC to discuss the deployment of the Regional Protection Force for South Sudan
News in Brief
Africa and the African Union
The UN Security Council held a meeting last week (April 6) to discuss the review of United Nations peacekeeping operations. Ethiopia’s Representative stressed the need to implement the recommendations made by the High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations set up to review UN peacekeeping. (See article)
Executive Secretary of IGAD, Ambassador Mahboub Maalim, attending the 6th year anniversary celebrations of the start of the construction of Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) in Djibouti, underlined that GERD was a regional project. He said, “We want to support it. We want to be involved in its payment, investment, not forgetting to defend and speak for it.” He said IGAD’s integration plans were based on infrastructure and interconnectivity, and described GERD as an exemplary project to encourage Africa to learn how to get together.
UK Armed Forces Minister Mike Penning, on a visit to the Horn and East Africa last week, met UK troops in Mogadishu doing pre-deployment training for AMISOM, as well as UK troops providing engineering support to the UN in South Sudan (where up to 400 will be deployed this year), and training activities in Uganda and Kenya. He also met with government ministers and UN representatives in all the countries he visited.
The Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, this week paid a two-day state visit to Ethiopia at the start of an African tour. The Emir held talks with President Dr Mulatu Teshome and Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, and both reiterated their strong commitment to enhancing ties of cooperation and friendship. (See article)
Foreign Minister, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, arrived in Algiers this week on Wednesday (April 12) to attend the 4th Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting (JMC), and sign a number of agreements to further reinforce bilateral cooperation in political, economic and social areas. He held talks with Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. (See article)
The Government of Ethiopia extended its deepest condolences to the Government and people of Egypt and the families of the victims of the terrorist bomb attacks on two churches on Sunday (April 9). Over fifty people were killed and over one hundred injured. Foreign Minister Dr Workneh in a message to Egypt’s Foreign Minister Shoukry condemned the heinous terrorist attacks in the strongest possible terms.
Foreign Minister Dr Workneh met with Dr Fang Liu, Secretary General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), on Tuesday and discussed issues related to aviation safety and security as well as Ethiopia’s development of its aviation industry.
The European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, paid an official visit to Ethiopia last week (April 4-6) to launch the sectoral dialogue on Human Rights and Governance, with State Minister of Foreign Affairs Mrs Hirut Zemene under the “EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement” agreement signed last year. Mr Lambrinidis also held discussions with Prime Minister Hailemariam, Federal Affairs Minister Kassa Tekleberhan, the chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, and other officials, leaders of opposition parties and civil society groups. (See article)
State Minister Hirut Zemene met a delegation from the UN Panel of Experts on Sudan, appointed under Security Council Resolution 1591(2005), on Thursday (April 13). She mentioned the improvements in visa regulations and the opening of passages for humanitarian assistance to South Sudan, and emphasized that Sudan could further contribute to the peace and prosperity of the region. The State Minister said that Ethiopia believed the easing of the restrictions imposed by the sanctions on Sudan would prove helpful.
A US business delegation meeting with State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Aklilu Hailemichael on Thursday (April 13) here in Addis Ababa expressed their keenness to be involved in different infrastructural investment sectors in the country apart from their main Paramedical Project. Dr Aklilu briefed the delegation on Ethiopia’s investment opportunities, adding that this has further gathered momentum with the country’s growing infrastructure development.
Mrs Bizunesh Meseret, State Minister of Women and Children Affairs in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, visited the Republic of Korea’s Kwon Yong-hyun, Vice Minister of Gender Equality and Family of Korea on Monday (April 10). They discussed experience-sharing on gender equality and women’s empowerments. They also agreed to work towards a MoU on mitigating the challenges that women face.
An Ethio-China Investment Cooperation Forum held this week on Monday (April 10) in Addis Ababa saw the signing of an agreement for the construction of the Ethiopia-Hunan Industrial Park to be built at a cost of more than US$250 million in Adama. The Forum brought together representatives from more than 60 Ethiopian companies and from over 30 companies and businesses from China’s Hunan Province. (See article)
The UK Department for International Development Africa Minister, James Wharton, made a first visit to Ethiopia this week, visiting Tigray Regional State to see the impact of British aid on drought relief, school improvements and reception of refugees. He described Ethiopia as a source of stability in East Africa and its vision of economic transformation as an example to its neighbors. He said the UK welcomed the Government’s recognition of the need for reform to deal with the causes of recent protests and urged all political parties to engage constructively in political dialogue.
At a press conference on Thursday (April 13) Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Meles Alem, asked the media to help provide accurate and timely information for Ethiopian citizens facing eviction from Saudi Arabia following the Kingdom’s decision to expel foreign nationals with no legal papers. State Minister, Dr Aklilu Hailemichael, on his recent visit to Saudi Arabia helped set up mobile consular offices to reach citizens living outside Jeddah and Riyadh; and a command post to facilitate the safe return of citizens has been established in the Ministry.
The latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) was published on Monday (April 10). It reports on responses to the worsening drought conditions in the Somali Regional State and on the mixed rainfall conditions for the belg season. The report also noted Germany’s pledge of an additional US$106 million for the Horn of Africa Drought last week following Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Mr Gerd Müller’s visit to the region. (See article)
The Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) held consultations last week with stakeholders on its draft manual on monitoring and investigating human rights violations. The Commission launched a web-portal last week (See article)
A two-day Workshop on Green Economy Approaches in Sudan and Ethiopia, organized by the Sudanese National Research Center and the Ethiopian Embassy in Sudan opened on Monday (April 10) in Khartoum. Participants included representatives of different research centers, government officials and private companies.
Presidential Adviser Yemane Gebreab is in the Netherlands this week for the 13th congress of the European section of the Youth Wing of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice. The YPFDJ has been criticized in the Netherlands for its efforts to pressure Eritrean refugees into supporting the government and Dutch officials have expressed concern over Mr Yemane’s visit.
President Mohamed Abdullahi concluded a two-day official visit to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday (April 12). The President and his delegation, which included Foreign Minister, Yusuf Garad Omar, met with the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahiy and other officials. Sheikh Zayed said the UAE would redouble its support for Somalia to enable it to overcome the terrorist threat. The two sides noted the sovereignty and unity of Somalia and agreed on cooperation on security, counterterrorism, anti-piracy, economic development, trade, and immigration as well as the possibility of debt relief.
The President attended the 57th anniversary of the formation of the Somali National Army on Wednesday (April, 12) at the Ministry of Defense with government ministers and Army Chiefs. He vowed to eradicate al-Shabaab, calling on its leaders to engage in peace talks before they were forcibly dislodged from their hideouts. He said: “We say to the leadership of al-Shabaab that you have been fighting for more than 10 years and you cannot overthrow the government. We tell you if you do not accept peace, we will come to you at your hideouts.” He said: “You cannot destroy the government, but you have been destroying the hope of the Somali people.”
Dr Mohammad Ateek Al Falahi, secretary general of the Emirates Red Crescent (ERC), announced on Monday (April 11) that President Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan had launched a Dh500 million (US$136 million) aid campaign “For Your Sake, Somalia”. President Sheikh Khalifa called for a month-long campaign of donations to provide Somalis with food, water, medicine and other necessities. The ERC said the campaign would start with a budget of Dh100m, and it expected “a minimum of Dh400m in donations before Ramadan.”
The Somali Senate adopted its Rules of Procedures on Monday (April 11) after weeks of debate and review. The First Deputy-Speaker, Senator Abshir Bukhari said the vote was a significant achievement. The Senate will hold two sessions a year, each of four months – January to May, and July to November. The Senate or its committees have the right to summon the Prime Minister, ministers or heads of constitutional bodies for questioning.
Over 400 Somali soldiers, including a new batch of commandos completed a 6-month UAE military training course in Mogadishu on Monday ( April 10). Defense Minister, Abdirashid Abdullahi, along with top government officials, attended the closing ceremony at the UAE-funded Military Training Centre. He called on the newly trained soldiers to execute their duties and fight against al-Shabaab.
Galmudug leaders held discussions with the Federal Government’s Interior Minister Abdi Farah Juxa on Saturday (April 8), and agreed to postpone the election of a new president, for which there were three candidates, from April 10 to April 30. This week, talks also started between Galmudug officials and the moderate Islamic organization, Ahlu Suna wal Jama’a, which controls a large area of Galmudug including its designated capital, Dusa Mareb.
South Sudan President Salva Kiir reiterated his commitment and willingness to work with Ethiopia to deepen their military cooperation with Ethiopia’s Chief of Defence, General Samora Muhammad Yunus on Friday (April 7). An Ethiopian military delegation was in Juba to discuss the provision of security on the border between the two countries with General Paul Malong Awan, Sudan People’s Liberation Army Chief of General Staff.
Marathon runners from Ethiopia and Kenya competed in the Great South Sudan Marathon on April 8. The objective was to promote peace and raise funds for those affected by famine. Organizers hoped the event would mobilize South Sudanese to contribute to famine relief. President Salva Kiir and running legend Haile Gebrsellasie, head of the Ethiopian Athletics Federation, attended the event.
The United Nations Security Council is due to meet this month to consider the Secretary-General’s 30-day assessment on South Sudan. The discussion will focus on the deployment and requirements of the proposed Regional Protection Force and the impediments to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in carrying out its mandate. (See article)
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) has rejected a call by the head of the African Union High-Level Implementation Mechanism (AUHIP), Thabo Mbeki, for a meeting between the opposition Sudan Call forces and the National Dialogue High Implementation Committee (HIC) to discuss the Roadmap Agreement implementation. An AUHIP statement said Mr Mbeki had met the President who had “reassured the Panel of his commitment to enhancing the inclusivity of the process of implementing the outcomes of the National Dialogue, particularly the adoption of a new Constitution for Sudan”.
The Sudanese government has called on the Government in Paris to convince the leader of the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW), Abdel-Wahid al-Nur, to join Darfur’s peace process. The former U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Ambassador Donald Booth, said recently that peace in Sudan should not be held hostage to Mr al-Nur’s refusal to engage in dialogue.
Emir of Qatar’s state visit provides prospects for deeper cooperation
The Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, this week paid a two-day state visit to Ethiopia, giving full expression to the need for expansion of in-depth and practical cooperation between Qatar and Ethiopia. The two-day state visit (April 10-11) reviewed the status and growth of the bilateral relationship of the two countries, encompassing all fields of cooperation in light of the new impetus and potential for the promotion of an agenda of sustainable development and maintenance of regional peace and stability. Both sides also underlined the importance of maintaining the momentum of frequent high-level visits to expand the substance of Ethio-Qatar ties, grounded on mutual trust and joint development.
The process, indeed, began last December when Qatar’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, visited Ethiopia for talks with Prime Minister Hailemariam and Foreign Minister Dr Workneh. His visit concluded with the signing of 11 cooperation agreements in various economic, tourism, investment and infrastructure sectors. These aimed to support bilateral rapprochement between businessmen in the two countries and enhance cooperation in peace and security at both local international and regional levels. The visit also encouraged the revitalization of the Qatari-Ethiopian Joint Technical Committee.
The Emir’s bilateral talks this week with Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and President Dr Mulatu Teshome, and the roundtable talks with Ethiopian high-level officials, confirmed this. The Talks were held in a friendly and cordial atmosphere during which both sides reiterated their strong commitment to enhancing ties of cooperation and friendship. They also attested the urgency of propelling Ethio-Qatari ties into a new phase of strengthened and practical investment cooperation. The mutual interest in deepened cooperation is based on the spirit of the long-standing historic friendship between the two countries, which have had diplomatic relations since 1995. Future-oriented development looks ahead to new achievements in all spheres, mainstreaming economic development for the benefit of both peoples, and on the new face of security in the 21st century. Ethio-Qatar ties will also give full play to the advancement of business links, committing both countries to cooperation and mutual support in the fields of infrastructure, health, energy, and education and other areas. Both sides agreed to make their previously signed agreements practical and provide fresh vitality to existing Ethio-Qatar relations.
According to the joint communiqué issued at the end of the talks, Prime Minister Hailemariam and Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani reaffirmed their commitment to extending ties of cooperation to expand progress in the future in all areas, including enhancing international coordination and cooperation on issues of common concern. They agreed fighting terrorism was one of the challenges requiring Ethio-Qatar cooperation and collaboration at regional and global levels to offset threats across the region. Cognizant of the threat posed to peace, stability and security in East and West Africa, the Middle East, the Gulf region and more widely, they also stressed the importance, the necessity, of coordinating efforts with the international community to fight terrorism. With regard to the political dialogue, both leaders agreed to strengthen joint high-level political consultations in addition to committing efforts to maintain peace and security in their respective regions and the world at large.
Prime Minister Hailemariam commended the role played by the State of Qatar in resolving conflicts in the Horn of Africa. He noted Qatar’s important efforts in achieving peace and stability on Darfur. Ethiopia’s election as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council enhances its role on security and peace issues at the global level. It will be able to strengthen its regional capacity to support and promote the Qatar role as an intermediary to reduce and resolve conflicts.
Ethiopia is a rapidly developing country that offers many investment opportunities particularly in developmental areas. It is also expanding cooperation with neighboring countries and making efforts to ensure that there is a multiple comprehensive development in the Horn of Africa for transport, energy and other areas. The Prime Minister emphasized that Ethiopia was enthusiastic about the interest of Qatari enterprises to be part of Ethiopia’s rapid growth.
The Emir, who was appreciative of Ethiopia’s role in upholding peace and stability in the Horn of Africa within the IGAD platform, said the State of Qatar was ready to cooperate with Ethiopia in the fight against terrorist elements in the region. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani also noted Qatar’s support for Ethiopia’s developmental activities including infrastructural development. The Emir said his visit would help in their endeavors to continue exploring new avenues of cooperation and to create new mechanisms to deal with issues of common concern. He expressed the readiness of the State of Qatar to provide humanitarian assistance to drought victims in Ethiopia, and to support the efforts of the government of Ethiopia in education, health, infrastructure and energy. He also expressed readiness to finance the establishment of a specialized hospital for kidney treatment. Both sides agreed to strengthen economic cooperation and committed themselves to making joint efforts to enhance business-to-business ties, engaging both the public and private sectors. They encouraged the private sectors of both countries to increase cooperation; and the Emir gave instructions to establish a loan portfolio for small and medium projects with the aim of creating job opportunities for the youth.
Qatar’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Ambassador Abdulaziz bin Sultan al-Rumaihi, said the Emir’s visit to Ethiopia, his first stop on his African tour, would contribute to further promoting relations between Doha and Addis Ababa, to achieve the common will of both leaderships to upgrade bilateral relations to wider levels. He underlined the importance of Ethiopia as the headquarters of the African Union and one of Africa’s most rapidly growing economies, in addition to its huge population (100 million) and its vast and fertile agricultural lands. The Ethiopian Ambassador to Qatar, Ambassador Mesganu Arga Moach, said the visit would contribute to further strengthening bilateral relations in all political, economic, investment and cultural fields. He also underlined that the Emir’s African tour would effectively contribute to promoting Arab-African relations, hailing Qatar’s vital role in establishing peace and security in Africa.
The 4th Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting in Algiers
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr Workneh Gebeyehu, arrived in Algiers, this week on Wednesday (April 12) to attend the 4th Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting (JMC). The Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting discussed possible ways of delivering and strengthening the existing excellent relations between Ethiopia and Algeria. The Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial meeting witnessed the conclusion of a series of cooperation agreements on media, trade, investment, forestry and fishery, and water. In advance of the Joint Ministerial meeting, Ethiopian and Algerian experts were tasked with reviewing existing platforms of cooperation and exploring ways to expand them further. This was in preparation for both parties to finalize a draft cooperation agreement.
On the margins of the 4th Ethio-Algeria Joint Ministerial Commission Meeting, Foreign Minister Dr Workneh met with the Prime Minister of Algeria, Abdelmalek Sellal on Wednesday (April 12). The two sides discussed ways of advancing political consultation and expanding cooperation in the fields of trade and investment, capacity building and technology transfer. Dr Workneh noted that Ethiopia and Algeria have historic and well-founded relations, which have remained strong. The relationship between the two countries has demonstrated real and meaningful cooperation in areas of socio-economic and political cooperation, he said. The Minister expressed his firm belief that the ties between Ethiopia and Algeria would now be strengthened further. The Prime Minister of Algeria said the two countries had excellent bilateral ties and cooperation over a range of affairs, including, among others, development cooperation, peace and security, as well as trade and investment. The two sides agreed to work closely on the follow up to the various bilateral agreements signed previously and to explore other potential areas of bilateral cooperation.
Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu also met with his Algerian counterpart, Foreign Minister Ramtane Lamamra. He said that Ethio-Algerian ties showcased a fine tradition of longstanding friendship and partnership, adding that this fine tradition had enabled the two countries to stand together and share common insights on various regional and international issues. Dr Workneh, appreciative of Algeria for its close collaboration with Ethiopia in numerous areas of common interest, emphasized that Ethiopia highly valued its relations with Algeria and underscored the need to strengthen their relations. Algeria’s Foreign Minister, Ramtane Lamamra, who noted the longstanding and sincere cooperation, also stressed the need to further develop and cement the already excellent relations of the two friendly countries. The Foreign Ministers spoke to journalists following their bilateral talks.
Foreign Minister Dr Workneh Gebeyehu inaugurated the FDRE’S Embassy in Algiers, later on Friday (April 14). The inauguration ceremony was also attended by Algerian Foreign Minister, Ramtane LAMAMRA and other high-level officials and diplomatic dignitaries. Dr Workneh said, “The inauguration of FDRE Embassy in Algeria will certainly go a long way in augmenting the overall expansion of the two countries relations on a wide range of socio-economic and political areas.” He also invited Algerian investors to invest further in Ethiopia, noting: “the potential for rewarding investment in Ethiopia is never in short supply and our investor-friendly environment is more than conducive to welcoming your investment.”
Ethiopia and the People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria have enjoyed long-standing relations for many years. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in the late 1960s, and particularly following the opening of the Algerian Embassy in Addis Ababa in 1976, and the establishment of an Ethiopian Embassy in Algiers in 2016, they have steadily strengthened a relationship based on their common interests. They continue to work closely together in regional and international fora.
EU and Ethiopia launch “strategic engagement” dialogue on human rights
The European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, paid an official visit to Ethiopia last week (April 4-6). The visit marked the launch of the sectoral dialogue on Human Rights and Governance, a formal dialogue under the “EU-Ethiopia Strategic Engagement” agreement signed in June last year in Brussels by Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn and Jean-Claude Juncker, European Commission President.
Ethiopia and the EU have decades of constructive relations founded on the EU-ACP Cotonou Agreement. Because of Ethiopia’s active engagement in regional peace and security as well as in thematic international debates including climate change, the relationship has moved on. In a Joint Declaration in October 2015, High Representative/Vice President Federica Mogherini and the then Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Tedros Adhanom, agreed the intention to “start a regular dialogue at foreign minister level, steering political dialogues that will include new areas of common interest and more regular meetings at ministerial level”, under the title “Strategic Engagement”.
The “Strategic Engagement” agreement allows for the enhancement and restructuring of the partnership on bilateral issues to a more strategic level and reinforces cooperation between the two partners. It focuses on six sectoral dialogues including regional peace and security; countering terrorism and violent radicalization; migration; social and economic development, investment and trade; governance and human rights; and climate change and environmental cooperation. These major focus areas are reviewed during annual high-level meetings and regular senior officials’ meetings.
It was on this basis that an Ethiopian delegation led by State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mrs Hirut Zemene, and an EU delegation headed by Mr Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union Special Representative for Human Rights, held the first sectoral annual dialogue and consultation on Human Rights and Governance Consultation in Addis Ababa. The dialogue gave prominence to the rule of law, democratic processes, good governance, human rights and social rights, migration and human trafficking, and the two sides discussed the progress and challenges, and the areas for potential improvement and future cooperation.
Mrs Hirut noted the strong support the European Union has given to Ethiopia on human rights, democratic processes and governance. The State Minister briefed the EU delegates about the current situation in Ethiopia in relation to the extension of the State of Emergency and human rights. She pointed out that security and stability had been restored by the efforts of government and the people and, she said, the extension of the State of Emergency for the next four months would ensure the prevalence of peace and security. This would, she said, provide additional guarantees of public safety and security and respect of citizens’ fundamental rights. The two sides also discussed the consolidation of democratic governance and rule of law, on ways to ensure the respect of fundamental human and democratic rights including those for child and women, and to create favorable political scope for representation of different political parties. Another area of discussion was on ways to further strengthen cooperation between the two sides to minimize irregular migration and human trafficking.
During his visit, Mr Lambrinidis, also discussed human rights’ issues with Prime Minister Hailemariam, Minister of Federal Affairs Kassa Tekleberhan, the Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives Abdulla Gemeda, the chairman of the State of Emergency Inquiry Board, the Deputy Attorney General, the chairman of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, senior ruling party officials, and leaders of opposition political parties. He met with different non-governmental human rights organizations including child and women’s rights organizations. He also paid a visit to the IOM Transit Centre for returnees and talked with administrators and people who had returned from irregular migration about the human rights’ challenges relating to migration. Mr Lambrinidis’ final visit was to the Central Criminal Investigation Center, where he discussed with senior officials the treatment of those arrested for terrorism and other related charges under the State of Emergency, as well as the issue of independent investigation and accountability.
Mr Lambrinidis’ various discussions with government and non-government organizations mainly focused on human rights and the governance challenges that resulted from the protests in different parts of the country in 2015 and 2016, and the State of Emergency. In his report, the Special Representative “took positive note of the Inquiry Board’s monitoring of places of detention during the State of Emergency and encouraged the implementation of its recommendations to improve detention facilities and minimize abusive practices.” Mr Lambrinidis took note of the government plans for political reforms, institutional strengthening and the efforts made to expand and create economic opportunities for the youth. He recognized the progress on economic development and the protection of social rights in recent years. He confirmed the EU’s support and cooperation to maintain Ethiopia’s dynamic economic growth.
On civil and political rights, Mr Lambrinidis encouraged concrete changes to laws and practices to ensure more outlets for citizens to express their views and concerns freely and peacefully, including through independent media, political parties and civil society, in order to promote the country’s sustainable security and stability and social resilience. He called for the respect of due process of law in all cases of people being detained or prosecuted since the protests and continuing under the State of Emergency. Mr Lambrinidis noted that the 2015 general elections had resulted in a House of Representatives without any voice of political opposition. He encouraged an inclusive political process to find a constructive way to ensure representation of different political parties and views ahead of the 2018 and 2020 elections. He said the release of opposition leaders and further easing of restrictions and prompt lifting of the State of Emergency would send an important signal in that direction.
Mr Lambrinidis also noted that, as Ethiopia was a member of the UN Human Rights’ Council, it should closely work with the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and his office as well as with UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights’ issues. At the conclusion of his visit, Mr Lambrinidis also underlined: “The EU stands ready to share its own experiences of managing ‘unity in diversity’ with Ethiopia, and to support any governance reforms that could genuinely address the challenges facing the country and safeguard Ethiopia’s democracy and prosperity.”
The protection and safeguarding of human rights rests mainly on state and government officials. However, it is always important to have independent institutions that can monitor the protection of human rights of citizens. In Ethiopia, the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is one of those independent institutions, established on the basis of the Constitution to create awareness of human rights, to ensure human rights are protected and respected, and take necessary measures when they are violated. Last week, the Commission was holding discussions with different stakeholders on the draft manual it is producing to strengthen the monitoring and investigation of violations of human rights. Commissioner Dr Addisu Gebre-Egzabier said the consultation aimed to collect inputs from different stakeholders in order to improve the value of the manual and address the objectives of the Commission.
The Commission has also recently launched a specially designed web portal to promote its services. Dr Addisu said the web portal would help the Commission provide easily accessed services and information about the Commission. It had two-way interaction, allowing people to submit complaints on human rights violations online and by free call services, and obtain feedback from the Commission at the same time. The new web portal also included new features including social media links for Facebook, Twitter, Google plus, YouTube and LinkedIn. The contents would be updated constantly, providing helpful information, human rights’ research articles, investigation and monitoring reports, blogs, newsletters, and news and events. The Speaker of the House of People’s Representatives, Speaker Abdulla Gemeda, welcomed the inauguration of the portal and the Commission’s efforts to protect human rights and its efforts to improve its institutional capacity. He said the Commission should take lessons from other related organizations to advance human rights protection in the country.
Ethiopia stresses need to implement recommendations on UN Peace Operations
The UN Security Council held a meeting last week (April 6) to discuss the review of United Nations peacekeeping operations. The meeting was organized as part of the thematic discussions of the Council during this month’s US presidency. A concept note circulated in advance underlined the important role that political foundations play in the success of peacekeeping missions. It encouraged Council members to review missions and identify areas where mandates no longer match political realities, and raised the question of whether it is advisable or possible to operate a mission without the strategic consent of the host government.
Peacekeeping operations, and their effectiveness, have long been subject for discussion. Former United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, set up a High-Level Independent Panel on Peace Operations (HIPPO) in 2014-2015. It was tasked with providing a comprehensive review of UN peace operations and the emerging needs of the future. The panel considered a broad range of issues facing peace operations, including the changing nature of conflict, mandates and peace building challenges, along with planning, partnerships, human rights and the protection of civilians.
One of the conclusions of the review by the High-Level Panel was the “primacy of politics”, indicating the need for the Council to bring collective leverage to bear in support of political solutions. The report noted the way in recent years that mandates had become lengthier and more specific, but also at times less realistic, manageable or achievable. It concluded: “too often, mandates and missions are produced on the basis of templates instead of tailored to support situation-specific political strategies”. This was particularly relevant in missions facing “conflict management” situations for which the concepts, tools, mission structures and doctrine, originally developed for peace implementation tasks, might not be well suited.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said United Nations peacekeeping was an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity. Peacekeepers, he noted, were “the concrete expression of the Charter’s determination to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Noting that United Nations peacekeepers contributed to the legacy of stability in different parts of the world, the Secretary General detailed the objective for every peacekeeping mission: to do the job entrusted to it, to save lives, to prevent mass atrocities, to set the stage for stability and sustainable peace. He also noted the diverse nature, and highly complex operating environments of UN peace operations, and hence the “responsibility to adapt them to our changing world.”
Peacekeepers, of course, were often deployed where peace itself was at stake, and at times they faced hostility and lack of cooperation on the part of host Governments. They might also have to deal with issues arising from terrorism and the growth of transnational crime at others. Some of the largest operations were divorced from political processes and appeared to be stuck, he said.
The Secretary-General spoke of the appalling cases of sexual exploitation and abuse that had tarnished the reputation of the United Nations, stressing he set out a new approach to tackling those issues and was determined to implement it. He said that strategy should consider the entire peace continuum, based on the principle that there was no “one-size-fits-all” peace operation. He emphasized the need to accord priority to the protection of civilians throughout a mission’s existence, and said it was also important to end operations that had achieved their goals and to reform those that no longer met the needs on the ground. The success of each mission hinged on an active political process, he said, and the Security Council had a vital role to play in securing the commitment of all stakeholders, particularly Governments.
Looking forward, he underlined the need for greater efficiency and accountability, and for women to play a far more active role in peace operations as troops, police and civilian staff. He also encouraged the importance of more coordinated planning, control and leadership of operations and strategy, as well as use of modern technology and closer ties with regional and sub-regional partners. Those partnerships, he said, must be based on predictable funding. He encouraged the Council to consider supporting missions backed by a resolution with assessed contributions, or by promoting other predictable financing mechanisms. “We must take a hard look at these challenges and get peacekeeping right.” United Nations peacekeeping was at a crossroads, he said, and the Security Council should keep operations relevant by providing clear mandates with well-identified priorities, adequate sequencing and the flexibility to evolve.
In the ensuing debate, members underlined the Council’s essential role in making peacekeeping operations more adaptable to their respective environments, notably through early political engagement. “Political solutions must always underpin the design and deployment of peacekeeping missions,” said Uruguay’s representative, warning that missions could be severely compromised when the Council lacked unity, as in South Sudan. Senegal’s representative said that, when properly equipped and provided with achievable mandates, peacekeeping missions were among the UN’s best tools. Regrettably, however, that was not always the case currently. The cooperation of the host State was critical. Reinforcing that point, the United Kingdom’s representative said that when a host Government hampered or failed to cooperate with mission operations, the Council could play an enormous role, using all tools at its disposal. The Council’s messages had been confusing in the case of South Sudan, but it must recognize whether a mission, once deployed, was succeeding in its job, he said. Japan’s representative, underlining his country’s standing as the third-largest contributor to the United Nations peacekeeping budget, said the priority was not simply to scale back or downsize an operation, but to ensure it was effectively employed where it could make a difference with limited resources. The Council must reconsider adding different capacities to missions in response to their individual circumstances, he added, expressing the hope that the briefing would mark the start of Council discussions involving a wide range of stakeholders on each mission and mandate.
The representative of the United States said the goal of peacekeeping reform was to identify operations that lacked underlying political strategies for success. For example, the Government had used the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO), to selectively neutralize only certain armed groups while leaving others untouched. The Russian Federation’s representative cautioned against artificially expanding mandates by assigning non-core tasks, and questioned burdening missions with social and humanitarian tasks that were difficult to realize and posed no threat to international peace and security. China’s representative said operations must respect the sovereignty and values of the host country, including when it requested an exit strategy. He noted that nine of the current 16 operations were in Africa, and called for increased assistance to the continent, highlighting the African Union’s considerable success in its peacekeeping missions. Expressing support for Africa’s peacekeeping capacity building, he said the United Nations should provide more support, with a view to creating a stable funding mechanism.
Ethiopia’s Permanent Representative, Ambassador Tekeda Alemu, stressing the need for frank discussions, recalled the essential guidance for the review on reforming UN Peacekeeping Operations two years earlier. This had been the need for peace operations to change and adapt themselves to ‘new circumstances and to ensure their increased effectiveness and appropriate use in future.’ HIPPO had made a range of important recommendations aimed at enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of peace operations, both at the strategic and operational levels. The review had certainly lived up to expectations. Therefore, said Ambassador Tekeda, “what we really need to do now is not so much to reinvent the wheel but scrupulously implement the HIPPO recommendations”.
Recognizing the Secretary-General’s commitment to implementing the necessary structural reforms in line with the HIPPO recommendations, and the concrete steps he had started to take to improve the peace and security architecture of the United Nations, to make it “fit for purpose and deliver results in the most efficient and cost-effective manner”, Ambassador Tekeda called on the Council to support the Secretary-General fully. Some of these undoubtedly important reforms could not be carried out without bringing all member States on board, he said. Building the necessary consensus might be frustrating, he said, but it was absolutely necessary because, “many of the constraints to improving peace operations are political in nature, and must be addressed through political will to find compromise and to respond to long-standing challenges.” He added that this was the very reason to work in close consultation and partnership with the Troop Contributing Countries (TCCs) and other relevant stakeholders.
Ambassador Tekeda pointed out the need to have a clear political strategy to effectively respond to the peace and security challenges of today. He emphasized the significance of investing in conflict prevention. It wasn’t only a matter of being cost-effectiveness; most importantly it had to do with saving lives: “the main raisons d’être of this organization, saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war.” Whenever these efforts fail, he advised, “We should be able to use the range of tools available in a pragmatic and flexible manner taking into account the realities on the ground.”
Ambassador Tekeda stressed the need for clear political strategy and guidance for peace operations to specific conflict situations. He noted that if this was provided, peace operations could and indeed did deliver better results. The same was true for an exit strategy, he added, as long as it is “aligned with a proper transition from conflict to sustainable peace.”
Whatever, the Council did in striving to ensure greater efficiency and effectiveness of peace operations, he said, it was imperative that it should be cognizant of the specific context under which any mission was operating and the strategic end aim. “There should not be a one size fits all approach, which may end up having undesirable consequences,” he emphasized.
Another important point, Ambassador Tekeda raised, was the need for global-regional partnerships. This was no longer a matter of choice but of necessity. He said such partnerships were “instrumental not only in enhancing the responsiveness of the United Nations in addressing conflict situations but also ensuring greater efficiency and effectiveness.” Ethiopia, as one of the leading troop-contributing countries, he said, attached great importance to strengthening UN peace operations in all aspects. He noted Ethiopia’s longstanding contributions to UN peacekeeping operations were “dictated by a strong conviction in multilateralism and collective security.” This was attested not only by its history and track record over the past seventy years, but also by the performance of thousands of Ethiopian peacekeepers “who are currently operating in some of the most volatile conflict situations, paying sacrifices for the cause of regional and international peace and security.”
Ambassador Tekeda concluded by notifying the Council of Ethiopia’s readiness to organize a High-Level Open Debate at the level of Heads of State and Government in September, during its Presidency of the Council. This would mark two years since the high-level review on peace operations and was an appropriate moment to facilitate serious discussion on following up the implementation of the HIPPO recommendations and chart the best way forward.
An Ethio-China Investment Cooperation Forum held in Addis Ababa
An Ethio-China Investment Cooperation Forum was held this week on Monday (April 10) at the Hilton Hotel in Addis Ababa. The Forum brought together representatives from more than 60 Ethiopian companies and from over 30 companies and businesses from China’s Hunan Province.
Among those present were Ms Aisha Mohammed, Minister at the Ministry of Construction; Dr Arkebe Equbay, Chairperson of the Board of Ethiopian Industrial Parks and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister with a ministerial portfolio; Dr Fitsum Arega, Commissioner of the Ethiopian Investment Commission; the Vice Governor of Hunan Provincial People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China, Mr He Baoxiang; and Ambassador La Yifan, Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The event saw the signing of four economic cooperation agreements between Ethiopian government officials and Hunan State officials. One, signed by Vice-Governor He Baoxiang, was for the construction of the Ethiopia-Hunan Industrial Park to be built at a cost of more than US$250 million in Adama. Industrial Park Development Corporation CEO, Sisay Gemechu said the Ethiopia-Hunan Industry Park would be financed by a loan obtained from Exim Bank of China. The park, which is due to begin in the second half of this year, is expected to be completed within a year and a half.
The Ethio-Hunan Adama Park will specialize in the production of machinery, construction and agricultural equipment. Among the first companies to take up space in the park will be four major companies from Hunan: Foton, Sany, TBEA and Hunan Changgao. Foton, for example, has fixed assets of over US$4.77 billion and nearly 40,000 employees. It is ranked fourth in China’s auto industry and first in China’s commercial vehicle segment, with a brand value of US$13.037 billion. Pan Linjian, Foton Senior Sales Manager said the company would make “a quick move to Ethiopia soon after the investment is approved.” It intended, he said, “to export products to eight other COMESA countries and have a total investment capital of US$481 million.”
The other agreement signed during the Forum covered a Memorandum of Understanding on the establishment of an Ethio-Hunan Bilateral Economic Steering Committee, a Joint Declaration of Collaboration among the Commerce Department of Hunan Province and Ethiopia’s Ministries of Industry and Education, and UNIDO, and another Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between Ethiopian Insurance Corporation (EIC) and Chinese enterprises.
Hunan Vice-Governor, He Baoxiang, said the investors in his state had shown interest in working in Ethiopia in various development and investment spheres. The agreements would enable the investors to benefit from the incentives given by the government of Ethiopia, he added. Hunan Province has, in recent years, grown to become an important center for steel, machinery and electronics production in China. It has four economic and technological development zones: Changsha National Economic and Technology Development Zone; Changsha National New and Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone; Changzhou Export Processing Zone; and Zhuzhou National New and Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone. All of these are home to major global companies such as the SANY Group, Foton and Zotye Vehicle Technologies.
Opening the Forum, Dr Arkebe said the commitment of Chinese investors to engage in various investment sectors would create additional capacity for the development of Ethiopia’s industrial parks. He noted that in the last two years, substantial progress in economic ties between Ethiopia and China in general and Hunan Province in particular had been registered with a number of mutual visits and fora. He underlined the government’s priority of building industrial parks covering a variety of industrial sectors. Commissioner Dr Fitsum Arega also briefed the gathering on Ethiopia’s huge investment opportunities and incentives which, he said, would offer companies and investors a very strong competitive advantage. The country’s Foreign Direct Investment had gained momentum in the past eight months and, he said, the contribution of investors from China had been immense. The Forum also heard a number of other presentations from representatives of Chinese investments already operational in Ethiopia, including the Ethio-Hunan (Adama) Industrial Park, Changsha Overseas Investment Co. and Homes Industrial International Construction Co. Ltd.
During his visit to Ethiopia, Vice Governor He Baoxiang also met with Prime Minister Hailemariam. They discussed issues related to enhancing cooperation between Ethiopia and Hunan Province in areas of industrialization, tourism, energy, agricultural modernization and infrastructure as well as science and technology.
UNOCHA’s latest report on responses to the drought in Ethiopia
The latest report from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) was published on Monday (April 10). Overall, with back-to-back seasons of poor or non-existent rainfall in 2015, exacerbated by the strongest El Niño phenomenon on record in the same year, Ethiopia had suffered the worst drought in decades in 2016. While the country continues to respond to residual needs from the past drought, below average rains in the southern and eastern parts of the country, caused by the negative Indian Ocean Dipole, have left 5.6 million people in need of humanitarian assistance in 2017. It repeats that some US$948 million is urgently required to respond to the new humanitarian needs.
The report notes that “with the Government of Ethiopia in the lead” humanitarian partners are responding to the Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD) outbreak in Somali region. It says that as drought conditions worsen in Somali region, an increasing number of AWD cases are being reported daily in the region. The risk of morbidity and mortality is among vulnerable and malnourished children. At least 40 woredas across seven zones (out of a total of 99 woredas in the region) are currently affected. The report says the Federal Ministry of Health has deployed some 1,000 health professionals drawn from the Ministry and other regions to support the Somali regional government. In addition, to strengthen Government coordination systems, a team of international humanitarian partners, led by the World Health Organization, is now based in Somali region. The speed and geographical spread of the outbreak coupled with poor sanitation and hygiene; limited access to water; logistical challenges; and low community awareness has posed challenges to effective AWD response in the region.
The UNOCHA report also notes that preparation and planting for the belg season was in progress in SNNPR though the rainfall performance was mixed. It said of the 1,065,610 hectares of cropland planned for the belg season in SNNP region, about 79% was cultivated and, so far, only 21% planted. There had been a late start and the overall poor performance of the rains so far meant the crops require good and continuous rainfall through July/August. The belg crops had been affected by an Army Worm outbreak in several woredas of Bench Maji, Kaffa, Sheka, South Omo, Gamo, and Wolaita zones. Chemical spraying and other traditional measures were underway to control the infestation. UNOCHA noted the lowlands of Gamo Gofa, South Omo, Segen, Wolaita zones; Loka Abaya and Boricha woredas of Sidama zone; and five kebeles of Basketo special woreda registered below normal rains; but near-average to average rainfall was reported in midland and highland areas of Bench Maji, Dawuro, Gedeo, Guraghe, Sidama, Hadiya, Keffa, Kembata Sheka Tembaro and Wolaita zones.
The OCHA report also noted that Germany pledged an additional US$106 million for the Horn of Africa Drought last week when Economic Cooperation and Development Minister, Mr Gerd Müller, announced that his Ministry would provide the additional funds in support of drought-hit countries in the Horn of Africa. This brings the total fund provided by Germany to drought response effort in the Horn this year to 300 million euros. Mr Müller pointed out that despite early warnings, international funds were usually only released after disaster has struck, and after many people have already suffered and lost lives and livelihood. The Minister stressed the need to establish a permanent United Nations Disaster Fund and called on European and other Governments to mobilize funds in support of the Government and the people of Ethiopia.
On his two-day visit to Ethiopia last week, Mr Müller visited drought-hit areas in the Somali region where some 1.7 million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Accompanied by journalists, BMZ officials, German Embassy partners, GiZ and KfW, UNICEF, WFP, and UN-OCHA officials and the Somali Regional President and regional government officials, Mr Müller visited the Urban WASH program (borehole and water trucking) in Kebri Dahar as well as the Waaf Dhuug Resettlement Site for drought-displaced people in the Somali Regional State. Waaf Dhuug hosts 4,500 host community and 3,882 drought displaced people, of whom more than 85% are women and children from surrounding grazing areas. The site was established in January 2017 and is one of the 58 Temporary Resettlement Sites the Somali Regional Government has established by in response to the drought emergency.
One result of Mr Müller’s visit to the region was that Germany’s Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, pushed for an EU meeting to discuss assistance for people hit by the hunger crisis in East Africa and Yemen. Mr Müller had earlier described the international community’s reaction to the crisis in the region as “scandalous”, because nobody was coming to the aid of Africa’s hungry. Following pressure from Germany, a meeting was convened in Brussels to mobilize assistance for the estimated 20 million people facing acute hunger in East Africa and Yemen. Mr Gabriel, in Brussels, said, “We now know that a catastrophe is looming and nobody can say they have no idea as to what awaits people in the afflicted regions.” There was no question of being taken by surprise as in 2010-11 when 260,000 people died in Somalia.
After the meeting, the EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner, Frederica Mogherini, thanked Germany for proposing the meeting. “It was brief, but important,” she said and certainly necessary for raising awareness of the need to help regions hit by civil war or drought, such as Somalia, South Sudan, northern Nigeria, Kenya and Ethiopia. “We urge our partners across the world to come and help,” Mogherini said, “But we have to improve coordination. The catastrophe which is being forecast can’t be allowed to happen,” she added. Ms Mogherini said the EU would make an additional 183 million euros ($195 million) available for aid. The United Nations, however, estimates that around a billion euros will be needed by mid-year if the afflicted regions are to receive the assistance they need. Access is particularly difficult in Somalia because part of the country is controlled by al-Shabaab, and in South Sudan where conflict prevents access in many areas.
Meanwhile Mr Müller’s “Marshall Plan for Africa” is demonstrating another level of possible response. He describes the plan as an “expression of our will and our optimism that we can truly find a path to peace and development in our cooperation between Europe and Africa.” Launched in January, this has the twin objectives of increasing trade and development on the continent and hopefully reducing mass migration flows north across the Mediterranean. Mr Müller argues that “Africa’s fate is a challenge and an opportunity for Europe. If we do not solve the problems together, they will come to us at some point.”
The Plan has 10 principles, including a new equal relationship with the continent, the creation of African solutions to Africa’s problems, job creation for the youth, a focus on entrepreneurship instead of aid, the avoidance of exploitation of African resources without real benefit, among others. It emphasizes that “Human dignity shall be inviolable” and it underlines the importance of investing in the youth, together with Germany’s commitment to invest and help create employment. The Plan also envisions a shift of development funding to leverage private capital: “Public funding can be used to directly boost private investment in Africa… Every euro of tax revenue can leverage many more euros in private capital. And then investing becomes attractive even for large institutional investors such as insurance companies or pension funds,” said Mr Müller. It also calls for the forging of “incentive-based reform partnerships with the reform champions among African states, thereby creating incentives for faster, sustainable development.” Mr Müller pointed to Ethiopia’s industrial parks as great examples and hoped the Ethiopian textile industry, with the right combination of investment, would help create the jobs of the future. He said: “The textile industry of Ethiopia has 50,000 people working in it today and maybe in five years, 5 million can and will work in the industry.”
After meeting representatives of the African Union, last week, Mr Müller also proposed a training campaign in Addis Ababa and urged multinational corporations to “stop the exploitative use of African resources.” The idea is to reward reform: Countries that fight corruption, build tax systems, invest in education and promote gender equality can expect more support from Germany. In conversation with the African Union Commission’s Deputy Commissioner, Kwesi Quartey, Mr Müller stressed, “I don’t mean to presumptuously tell you how it should be done,” but he hoped his suggestions would find their way into future negotiations between the European Union and African nations. Africa is the focus of the current German G20 presidency and the “Marshall Plan” is expected to figure prominently at the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. The European Union is also working on a new Africa strategy ahead of the EU-Africa Summit, scheduled for November.
UNSC to discuss the deployment of the Regional Protection Force for South Sudan
The United Nations Security Council is set to meet this month to consider the Secretary-General’s 30-day assessment on South Sudan. This focuses on the deployment and future requirements of the Regional Protection Force (RPF), the possible obstacles to setting up the force and the impediments to the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) in carrying out its mandate. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and head of UNMISS, David Shearer, will brief the Council which this month is chaired by the US and its Permanent Representative, Ambassador Nikki Haley.
Meanwhile, the UNHCR, underlining the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan, revealed this week that over 60,000 South Sudanese had entered Sudan in the first three months of 2017, fleeing famine and war. The UN refugee agency added: “The number of new arrivals has surpassed expectations, signaling a likely worsening situation in South Sudan.”
The UNHCR had expected no more than 60,000 for the whole of the year; it is now anticipating a much larger and continuous influx of South Sudanese refugees throughout this year. It is concerned about a drop in the funding available to meet needs. Aid agencies currently estimate at least 5 million people, more than 40% of the nation’s population, need urgent assistance. Given this grave humanitarian situation, the Government of Sudan over the weekend revealed plans to open a third road corridor to transport aid to affected populations in South Sudan. The two countries signed a Memorandum of Understanding in July 2014 to deliver food assistance to vulnerable South Sudanese communities either along the River Nile or by road. The World Food Program, welcoming the new proposal, said it would allow the transport of food overland from El-Obeid in central Sudan to Bentiu in South Sudan’s Unity State.
In response to the worsening humanitarian and security situation, the IGAD Assembly of Heads of State and Government, holding its 30th Extra-Ordinary Summit on March 25 in Nairobi, called for the unconditional and swift opening of all possible humanitarian corridors to allow safe access to affected populations in all areas of South Sudan. The Assembly also called for all necessary measures to be taken to save lives and prevent any extension of famine. The Assembly condemned the proliferation of armed groups in South Sudan. It urged all armed elements to renounce violence as a means of solving the problems of South Sudan. It also called on all factions to immediately stop fighting. In response to this call and to the worsening humanitarian situation affecting the people of South Sudan, the Government agreed to announce a unilateral ceasefire and grant amnesty to those who renounced violence. The Assembly, welcoming the position taken by the Government of South Sudan, urged all actors to join in the national dialogue. On March 31, the head of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission, Festus Mogae, met with South Sudan’s rebel leader, Riek Machar, in Pretoria, South Africa, on Friday last week (March 31), to discuss President Kiir’s calls for a unilateral ceasefire and a national dialogue.
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