January 31, 2020 The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia A Week in the Horn 31.01.2020
News in Brief
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia Heads of State meet in Eritrea
Africa CDC Briefs Media on the Outbreak of Novel Corona Virus…
… and Ethiopian Public Health Institute briefs media on Novel Corona Virus
Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi Hosts a Tourism Workshop
Ethiopia and Djibouti hold the 26th Joint Border Administrators’ Meeting
Africa and the African Union
Africa and the African Union
Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong accompanied by CDC deputy director gave a media briefing regarding the novel corona virus outbreak on Tuesday, January 28 in Addis Ababa. The briefing focused on addressing three major points. He tried to explain the nature of the virus and how it is transmitted and its current spreading status in the world and in Africa as well. (See article)
The Executive Secretary of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr. Workneh Gebeyehu, on Tuesday (January 28) inaugurated the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum 54 (GHACOF54) in Mombasa in the presence of the Guest of Honor, Mohammed Elmi, Chief Administrative Secretary in the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of the Republic of Kenya. GHACOF brings together climate scientists, meteorologists, media practitioners and experts in agriculture, food security, disaster risk management, water, livestock, conflict for seasonal forecasts three times a year and is organized by the Nairobi based IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC).
IGAD Security Sector Program (IGAD SSP) is commencing the National training for Somalia Imams’ on disengagement, deradicalization, rehabilitation, and reintegration (DDRR) approaches to counter terrorism in Djibouti at IGAD Head Quarter. It will be conducting between 26 January and 05 February 2020. The training is financed by the government Japan as a continuous support for a series of training for Somalia, which were held in Jig Jiga, Djibouti, Dire Dawa and Kismayo for Somali nationals that consist of the youth, religious leaders, clan leaders, public officials, civil society organizations and other related stakeholders.
The IGAD Special Envoy to South Sudan, Ambassador Ismail Wais and the Regional Special Envoys to South Sudan on Saturday (January 25) visited the Gorom training site in the outskirt of the capital Juba. Government and opposition armies will be trained at this center to become Special Forces for the protection of VIPs. The Special Envoys were briefed by officials and instructors who reported that the morale of the combined solders to be high and that training will coincide with the screening.
Thirty-five Military Officers from Ethiopia serving under sector three of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) on Friday (January 24) completed a three-day human rights training in Baidoa. The training was to boost their understanding and appreciation of International Human Rights Law and International Humanitarian Law which is vital for their duty tour in Somalia.
The Ethiopian Council of Ministers has decided to establish an artificial intelligence (AI) research and development center. The move was taken “to safeguard Ethiopia’s national interests through the development of artificial intelligence services, products and solutions based on research, development and implementation,” the Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement issued on late Friday (January 24).
Ethiopian Ministry of Health and Ethiopian Public Health Institute on Tuesday (January 28) have issued a statement regarding the status of monitoring and response mechanism of Ethiopia against ‘Novel Corona virus’. (See article)
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will carry out and support research works to guide and inform migration policies and practices in Ethiopia, according to an official press release published on Friday (January 24). The research will contribute to assisting Ethiopian migrants exposed to big risks of protection due to the irregular exodus, the IOM General migration director in Ethiopia, Malambo Moonga, said.
The United Nations Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has appealed for “robust support” to meet the humanitarian needs of about 735,000 refugees and some 500,000 refugee hosts in Ethiopia during the course of 2020. Kisut Gebregziabher, Spokesperson for the UNHCR Office in Ethiopia said on late Friday (January 24) that the UN refugee agency and its partners “are appealing for robust international support for refugee operations in Ethiopia with the launch of a funding appeal for 658 million U.S. dollars to assist over 735,000 refugees and more than half a million Ethiopian hosts in 2020.”
Qatar with the aim of exploring business opportunities, Qatar Development Bank (QDB), a development institution established to invest in and develop local ventures and support private sector companies in the State of Qatar, has held a matchmaking event in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The event was opened on Monday (January 27) at in Addis Ababa. It was aimed to offer both Ethiopian and Qatari business representatives from the private sector exposure to potential opportunities aiming to increase their footprints in both countries, according to the organizers.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) on Sunday (January 26) urged rapid control measures as Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are invaded by enormous swarms of desert locusts in one of the worst infestations the three African countries have experienced in history. “Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia are being invaded by enormous swarms of desert locusts in the worst desert locust infestation in 70 years in Kenya, and in 25 years for Ethiopia and Somalia,” the UNOCHA said in a statement issued on Sunday.
The meeting of Foreign Ministers of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) has continued for the third day. The three countries commenced their discussion in Washington DC on Tuesday (January 28) to finalize an agreement on the filling and operation of the dam. Ethiopian delegation led by Minister of Foreign Affairs, Gedu Andargachew, is attending the meeting. The delegation also included Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy, Dr Seleshi Bekele. Dr Seleshi said the meeting will focus on reviewing the legal write up of the agreement on filling and operation that started in Khartoum last week. The United States Secretary of the Treasury and the President of the World Bank (WB) are attending the meeting as observers.
Chinese investors ever-growing engagement across Ethiopia’s industrial parks is a manifestation of the undeniable and enduring economic and trade relations between the two countries, a highranking Ethiopian official said on Monday (January 27). “A large number of Chinese firms’ investment in various industrial parks in Ethiopia could be seen as an acknowledgment of the two nations’ strong and sustained bilateral relationship,” Temesgen Tilahun, deputy chief of the Ethiopian Investment Commission (EIC) said.
After eight years, Ethiopian government has resumed talks to join the World Trade Organization
(WTO), the Ethiopian Prime Minister´s Office stated on Wednesday (January 29). According to the communiqué, the first step towards such an objective was undertaken by Senior Advisor and Chief Trade Negotiator at the PM Office, Mamo Mihretu, who met with WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo in Geneva, Switzerland.
A physical rehabilitation centre which was built in Jigjiga town, Somali Region, with technical and material support of the ICRC was inaugurated on Wednesday (January 29). The centre will provide physical rehabilitation services, to persons with physical disabilities (PWDs) living in the region. According to Francois Friedel, Physical Rehabilitation Project Manager with the ICRC, PWDs in need of prosthetics, calipers and wheelchairs will get access to rehabilitation starting from January 2020.
The Ministry of Peace (MoP) and the business community on Saturday (January 25) held a consultative forum on nation peace building under the theme: “The Role of the Business Community for Nation Peace Building.” The forum was organized by the Ministry of Peace, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ethiopian Chamber of Commerce and Sectoral Association and Ethiopian Women Entrepreneurs Association.
Ethiopia and Germany on Tuesday (January 28) have launched a two-day expert level meeting in preparation for the first Joint Ministerial Commission. Participants deliberated on five areas of engagement that enhance Ethio-Germany bilateral relations- foreign and security affairs, economic
cooperation and development, migration, social development cooperation and economic affairs, energy and climate change as well.
New Zealand provided on Tuesday (January 28) an additional $1.6 million to support Ethiopia’s forthcoming election. Turhan Saleh, UNDP Ethiopia Resident Representative and Mark Ramsden, New Zealand Ambassador to Ethiopia and the African Union, signed the agreement. Saleh thanked New Zealand for joining a strong coalition of partners committed to help the National Electoral Board of Ethiopia (NEBE) deliver on a credible election. The Electoral Board recently proposed to hold a national vote on August 16, 2020.
An Ethiopian delegation led by Lemma Megersa, Minister of the National Defense Forces paid an official visit to France on Wednesday (January 29). He has met with France’s senior government officials. The visit is aimed at strengthening the partnership between the two countries in training and equipment supply for the Ethiopian Air and Naval forces.
Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo were in Eritrea on 27-28 January for talks with President Isaias Afwerki aimed at strengthening ties in the Horn of African region. The three had held talks in Asmara on a “wide range of issues.” (See article)
The Eritrean Embassy in the Sudan in cooperation with the Eritrean Sudanese Peoples Friendship Association on Saturday (January 30) organized discussion forum focusing on the development of relations and cooperation between the two peoples.
The 26th Ethiopia–Djibouti Joint Border Administrators’ Meeting was held on 14-16 January, 2020 in JigJiga, Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. The biannual meeting addressed ways to tackle human trafficking, strengthen security and improve transportation facilities between the two countries. (See article)
Djibouti hosted the 3rd world summit on Balanced & Inclusive Education which was held on 2729 January in its capital Djibouti. Ethiopian Minister of Science and Higher Education, Dr. Hirut Woldemariam has participated at the summit. Participants included ministers of education from Latin American, Caribbean, Asian and African countries, as well as representatives of international organizations. President Ismail Omar Guelleh opened the forum noting “balanced and inclusive education will lead to the accelerated implementation of the UN sustainable development program by 2030.”During the forum the Universal Declaration of balanced and inclusive education and the charter of the educational cooperation have been signed by the authorities participating at the Forum.
Kenya is set to increase its energy imports from Ethiopia as the two countries activate a bilateral agreement on power trade. Kenya and Ethiopia have a pact to trade in electricity at fairly low costs, but this has over time been hampered by lack of proper infrastructure. Kenya is, however, in the process of completing the Eastern Electricity Highway, which the Kenya Electricity Transmission Company (Ketraco) has termed a game-changer. The agreement enables Kenya to import or export to Ethiopia up to 400MW of electricity. The Energy and Petroleum Regulatory Authority (EPRA) on Tuesday (January 28) said Kenya will this year import 200MW from Ethiopia as among the major initiatives that are expected to tame electricity prices by limiting dependence on thermal power plants.
Kenya needs advanced drone technology to contain the desert locusts devastating farms and grazing fields in different parts of the country, experts have advised. According to Dr Muo Kasina, the chairman of Entomological Society of Kenya, the aircraft deployed by the Ministry of Agriculture to conduct aerial spraying are getting overwhelmed by the huge swarms. “The government needs to get help from countries with advanced drone technology like the United States, Israel, and Denmark to deal with the locust menace before it gets out of hand,” said Dr Kasina on Monday (January 27).
The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Kenya, Nairobi in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines Office in Nairobi hosted a Tourism Workshop on Thursday (January 30) 2020. More than 50 tour operators and travel agents from Kenya participated in the workshop. (See article)
Somalia’s upper legislative house on Wednesday (January 29) unanimously passed a resolution condemning the “deal of the century” floated by U.S. President Donald Trump for the Middle East. On Twitter, Senator Ilyas Ali Hassan announced that the chamber voted for the resolution against Trump’s proposal, which he said “claims non existence” of Palestine.”The house condemned the deal and voted on a resolution against it and we are not going to accept any deal which compromises the Palestinians’ rights to have a state with Jerusalem as its capital,” Ilyas said.
At least two people were killed and six wounded when a roadside bomb blast targeted a military vehicle near Bal’ad Middle in the Shabelle region on Friday (January 24), officials said. The vehicle was traveling from Jowhar, the administrative capital of Hirshabelle State, to Bal’ad district. The wounded soldiers were airlifted and admitted to Bal’ad district hospital, Mohamud Abdi Hassan, a police official said. Four soldiers sustained serious injuries and are currently receiving treatment, he said.
The Somali government on Saturday (January 25) vowed to intensify military operations against al-Shabab militant group which it said has weakened. Government spokesman Ismael Mukhtar Omar said the operations which are being carried out in collaboration with troops from the African peacekeeping mission and the U.S. highlight the increasing capability of the government security forces to secure the nation. “The inability of al-Shabab to prevent federal government of Somalia
operations in Jilib shows the fragile state that the terrorist organization is in,” Ismael said in a statement issued in Mogadishu.
During the Somalia Youth Investment Expo held on Monday (January 27, 2020) U.S. Ambassador Donald Y. Yamamoto joined Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire and announced a new joint effort would be held to support young entrepreneurs and innovators to contribute to Somalia’s stability and prosperity through employment, skills development, and entrepreneurship. This new effort will be implemented through the existing USAID-funded Growth, Enterprise, Employment and Livelihoods Program (GEEL) and is expected to create over 1,000 new job opportunities for Somali youth by developing the skills they need in today’s global economy.
The United States Africa Command has announced on Monday (January 27) that it in coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, conducted an airstrike targeting an al-Shabaab terrorist in the vicinity of Jilib, Somalia.“Airstrikes extend the reach and influence of government while creating conditions for development and a better future for Somalis,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director of operations, U.S. Africa Command. Initial assessment concluded the airstrike killed one (1) terrorist and no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrike.
The Sudanese government and the SPLM-N led by Malik Agar signed a framework peace agreement in Juba on Friday (January 24), ahead of comprehensive peace agreement with armed groups before mid-February. The purpose of the framework agreement with Agar group which is part of the Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) is to end the nearly 9-year armed conflict in the Blue Nile and South Kordofan states. The dispositions of the signed deal included the right to legislate in the two areas, land ownership, power and wealth sharing and principles of security arrangements.
The head of the Reconstituted Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (RJMEC) urged to start the screening process which is essential for the selection of troops before military training. Thousands of troops are now in the training centres after been transported from cantonment sites. However, the screening of troops has not begun yet. Speaking at the RJMEC meeting in Juba last week on Thursday (January 23), its chairman Augostino Njoroge voiced concern about the delayed screening and subsequent training of forces in South Sudan.
The South Sudanese foreign ministry has called on the African Union and the UN force in Abyei to investigate the bloody attack on a Dinka Ngok village carried out by the Misseriya armed which resulted in the death of 32 people. South Sudanese First Vice President Taban Deng on 23 January issued a statement calling on the Security Council and the African Union to endorse the proposal of the African Union High-Level Panel of 21 September 2012 to hold a referendum on Abyei without the participation of the Misseriya nomads. According to the Abyei Protocol, the parties have to agree on who is eligible to participate in the referendum, but Sudan and South Sudan failed to agree over who would have the right to vote.
South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir has given an amnesty to all the holdout opposition leaders involved in a peace process brokered by the Roman Catholic Sant’ Egidio peace group. In a republican order read on the state-run television on Tuesday (January 28) evening, Kiir granted a general amnesty to all the leaders of the South Sudan Opposition Movements Alliance (SSOMA). The presidential pardon comes as the government and SSOMA agreed on 13 January to resume talks “under the auspices of Sant’Egidio in consultation with IGAD” to achieve an inclusive peace in the country. Meanwhile, the National Salvation Front (NAS) on Wednesday (January 29) rejected the presidential amnesty for its leader Thomas Cirilo and other opposition leaders, terming it as a “public relations display”.
U.S. Congress members have urged President Donald Trump to not add Sudan to a newly expanded travel ban list to prevent potential terrorist acts. In a letter addressed to Trump on Friday (24 January), Karen Bass Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, and three other Congresswomen – Barbara Lee, Dan Kildee and Pramila Jayapal – called on the U.S. president to reconsider adding Sudan to the new travel ban. “We urge you to take Sudan off the list as it will negatively impact Sudan’s path toward democracy and peace,” wrote the Congresswomen in their joint letter seen by Sudan Tribune.
Sudan and South Sudan agreed on how to deal with the security issues in the border disputed area of Abyei, said the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) spokesman last week on Friday (January 24). Over thirty people were killed as a result of a revenge attack by the Misseriya tribesmen on 22 January. Following a meeting on Thursday with President Kiir, a leading member of the Sovereign Council in Sudan Mohamed Hamdan Daglo, “Hemetti” told reporters that the two countries agreed to establish a joint mechanism to protect civilians and to dispatch forces to be deployed near Abyei for this purpose.
A Sudanese senior official said that elements of the ousted regime planned to sabotage oil fields in East Darfur and West Kordofan states. “We received (security) reports that some members of the ousted al-Bashir’s regime plan to damage oil production areas by causing a rift between the local tribes in those areas,” said Hamid Suleiman the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Energy and Mining on Saturday (January 25).He stressed that the transitional government has taken the necessary measures to prevent such schema.
The Sudanese health authorities said they would start passengers screening at Khartoum airport for symptoms of coronavirus as of Sunday. The health authorities “will screen all arrivals to the country, because the entry of the disease is not confined to one line or one country,” Babikir alMaqboul, the director of the General Department of Emergency and Epidemic Control of the Ministry of Health, told the official Sudan News Agency, on Saturday (January 26).
Over 11,000 Sudanese have fled West Darfur to neighboring Chad following the tribal clashes between Arab tribes and Massalit during the last week of December 2019. According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), 54 people have been killed and 60 people injured as a result of the tribal violence. “Clashes in El Geneina, in Sudan’s West Darfur
State, have forced more than 11,000 people to flee as refugees into neighboring Chad since last month,” said the UN refugee agency.
The Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, led by Malik Agar, (SPLM-N Agar) announced the start of the cessation of hostilities’ implementation. The SPLM-N Agar and the Sudanese government signed a framework agreement for peace in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile states last week. The Movement’s deputy leader, Yasir Arman said on Tuesday (January 28) that the Movement and the government with the participation of a delegation from South Sudan held a workshop on the cessation of hostilities and humanitarian access organized by UNAMID.
U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan Donald Booth on Sunday (January 26) discussed the economic situation in Sudan with the Sudanese ministers of economy and mining. Booth arrived in Khartoum following talks with officials in Saudi Arabia and Qatar about ways to support the ailing economic situation in Sudan. The ministry of finance said that Minister Ibrahim al-Badawi discussed with Booth the economic reforms he plans to achieve through the 2020 budget, to address the financial structural imbalances. Also, al-Badawi called on Booth envoy to back their efforts for the removal of obstacles preventing bank transfers between the two countries.
Sudanese government and Darfur peacekeeping mission, UNAMID on Sunday (January 26) agreed to immediately reactivate a joint security mechanism to allow speedy security-related consultations and decisions. The agreement comes as a result of the repeated looting incidents of UN assets in West, South and more recently, North Darfur.
Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia Heads of State meet in Eritrea
The Heads of State and Government of Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia met in Asmara, on 27 January 2020. The three leaders issued a joint statement concerning their meeting where they have covered a range of issues to collaborate on, among others, on issues of economic and social development, security and in things that matter in fulfilling the aspirations of people in the Horn of Africa.
According to the statement, the three leaders held candid and extensive discussions on the situations in their respective countries, their tripartite cooperation and developments in the Horn of Africa region.
The three leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the Tripartite Agreement they signed in September 2018 and reviewed the outcomes of their considerable joint efforts towards its implementation.
The leaders also adopted a Joint Plan of Action for 2020 and beyond focusing on the two main and intertwined objectives of consolidating peace, stability and security as well as promoting economic and social development. They also agreed to bolster their joint efforts to foster effective regional cooperation.
On the security front, the three leaders formulated a comprehensive plan to combat and neutralize the common threats they face, including terrorism, arms and human trafficking and drugs smuggling.
Regarding economic and social development, they agreed to prioritize the mobilization of their bountiful human and natural resources; build, modernize and interface their infrastructure and develop their productive and service sectors. They also expressed their appreciation for, and their readiness to cooperate with, their friends and partners, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.
They have agreed to work for the realization of the aspirations of their peoples and to see a better Horn of Africa.
Africa CDC Briefs Media on the Outbreak of Novel Corona Virus…
Africa CDC Director John Nkengasong accompanied by CDC deputy director gave a media briefing regarding the novel corona virus outbreak on Tuesday, January 28 in Addis Ababa. The briefing focused on addressing three major points. He tried to explain the nature of the virus and how it is transmitted and its current spreading status in the world and in Africa as well.
He said, despite rumors no case has been confirmed in Africa so far. On the day of the media briefing, the Director said: “the virus is quickly spreading out of china where out of 4,474 infected cases 4,409 are located in China while the remaining infected people belong to different nations in all the continents except Africa and South America.” 107 died while 63 are reported to be healed, he added. The 63 infected persons that have been reported to be cured from the virus have healed through their natural immune system, he elaborated during the question and answer session with journalists.
He said Africa CDC has activated its Emergency Operations Center for the 2019-nCoV outbreak on 27 January 2020.The Organization has been also obtaining test kits for and working with laboratories in Member States to identify facilities that are able to receive and test specimens for novel corona virus infection, the Director added. He also said Africa CDC is holding weekly updates with national public health institutes in Member States. “Africa CDC will be working with Member States to support infection prevention and control in healthcare facilities and with the airline sector to support screening of travelers,” the Director told the media. He also said Africa CDC will continue to provide updated and relevant information to Member States as the outbreak evolves.
In addressing answers to the questions forwarded by the media on Africa and China CDC collaboration, the Africa CDC director said: “Africa CDC is working in collaboration with China CDC for sharing information on potential people suspected of being infected who are traveling from China to Africa” “Taking air traffic and vast population movements into consideration,” the director said, “ African countries need to be on the alert and strengthen their public-health surveillance and laboratory systems, coordinated by functional national public-health institutions,
in order to better prepare to prevent, rapidly detect and control any eventual spread of the novel virus on the continent.” The director also said in partnership with the Institute Pasteur Senegal, a non-profit foundation dedicated to the study of diseases and vaccines, the Africa CDC will hold a training for its 15 member states next week and maintain communications with the World Health Organization and other relevant bodies.
… and Ethiopian Public Health Institute briefs media on Novel Corona Virus
Ethiopian Ministry of Health and Ethiopian Public Health Institute on Tuesday (January 28) have issued a statement regarding the status of monitoring and response mechanism of Ethiopia against ‘Novel Corona virus’.
The institute declared that a National level Emergency committee in preventing the spread of Novel corona virus has been established under the auspices of Ethiopian Ministry of Health comprising members from Addis Ababa City administration, Ethiopian Airlines, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, Federal Police, the Red Cross Society, Ministry of Culture and Tourism, and Immigration office of Ethiopia. The Ethiopian Public Health Institute has also established a technical team to facilitate monitoring and response mechanisms in relation to the Novel Corona Virus outbreak.
Ethiopian health Institute and Addis Ababa City Administration Health Bureau have jointly established an Emergency Operation Center to identify cases and counter misinformation regarding the outbreak of the Novel Corona Virus, the Institute expressed in a statement. The statement also reads that the Ministry is actively gathering and releasing up-to-date information and is providing recommendations to prevent the spread of the virus.
The Ministry has been making regular contact with regional states and city administration health bureaus to alert them on the status of the virus and its prevention mechanisms per the recommendation of WHO. Training has been given to health professionals and stakeholders regarding relevant information on the virus. In addition to releasing relevant and timely information to the public and media outlets through relevant communication channels, the Ministry has reached a consensus to collaborate with Africa CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) and WHO to share advice and information on diagnostics for novel corona virus, the statement reads.
Ethiopian Embassy in Nairobi Hosts a Tourism Workshop
The Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia in Kenya, Nairobi in collaboration with Ethiopian Airlines Office in Nairobi hosted a Tourism Workshop on Thursday, January 30, 2020. More than 50 tour operators and travel agents from Kenya participated in the workshop.
The workshop had the purpose of familiarizing Kenyan tour operators and travel agents with the plethora of tourist destinations in Ethiopia. The companies were also briefed on the incentives provided by Ethiopian Airlines to encourage and to support tour operators and travel agents that make Ethiopia part of their tourism packages.
In his opening remarks, Meles Alem, the Ambassador of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia to Kenya reiterated the significance of the tourism sector to further bolster the longstanding relations between Ethiopia and Kenya on a more nuanced level. Ambassador Meles told the participants the fact that Ethiopia is home to several historical and natural tourist destinations and cultural attractions in all its four corners.
Ambassador Meles, alluding to the fact that Ethiopia has properly unexploited tourism potentials urged Kenyan tour operators and travel agents to work together with the Embassy to further expedite the opportunities. In addition, Ambassador Meles called upon the participants to facilitate the flow of tourists visiting Kenya to Ethiopia in collaboration with the Embassy and Ethiopian Airlines.
Yilma Goshu, Ethiopian Airlines Nairobi Area Manager, also furnished the workshop with a detailed presentation on the diverse historical, cultural, natural and topographic attractions of the “Land of Origins”.
Both Ambassador Meles and Yilma tried to provide the enthusiastic Kenyan tour operators and travel agents with a vicarious taste of Ethiopia, a country portrayed by many as a land of captivating contrasts and extremes, of a medley of spectacular topography and climatic ambience.
With the aid of videos and photographs, the participants were given a chance to have a highlight of Ethiopia’s untapped potentials in the “smokeless industry” ranging from the alpine wonders of Ras Dashen in the Semien Mountains National Park to the volcanic miracles of the Danakil Depression to the enchanting Sof Omar Caves. They were also briefed on major historical heritage sites such as the Aksumite Obelisks, the Rock-Hewn Churches of Lalibela, Tiya Archeological sites and many other cultural attractions.
The workshop created an unprecedented opportunity not only to bring together experienced Kenyan tour and travel agencies to eye the boom in the tourism sector in Ethiopia but also familiarize them with the ease of travel to Ethiopia via the e-Visa service and the huge investments committed to the development of a state-of-the-art airport facility – Bole International Airport – and hospitality amenities such as the recently inaugurated five star Skylight Hotel by Ethiopian Airlines.
In general, the workshop enabled the Embassy to network with the tour operators and travel agents for further collaboration and future engagements. It also gave the participants the opportunity to have their questions answered on several issues of concern.
Ethiopia and Djibouti hold the 26th Joint Border Administrators’ Meeting
The 26th Ethiopia–Djibouti Joint Border Administrators’ Meeting was held on 14-16 January 2020 in JigJiga, Somali Regional State of Ethiopia. The biannual meeting addressed ways to tackle human trafficking, strengthen security and improve transportation facilities between the two countries.
The Ethiopian Delegation was led by Almaz Mekonnen, State Minister for Ministry of Peace of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia. In her remarks, she underscored the fact that Ethiopia and Djibouti have enjoyed excellent and longstanding friendly relations, have advanced common positions and common vision on regional and global affairs; cooperated on security matters and fought terrorism side by side; and have been working in close coordination and cooperation on variety of issues in the frame work of the UN, AU, IGAD and other bilateral mechanisms.
The State Minister also stated that the Joint Border Administrators forum, which is one aspect of the bilateral mechanisms of cooperation, was established to facilitate smooth interactions among the two communities living along the common border area and to work on wider issues of mutual cooperation to enhance and consolidate the bilateral relations.
One of the speakers during the occasion, President of the Somali National Regional State, Mustafa Mohamud Omer said that the bilateral tie between Ethiopia and Djibouti transcends border administration for Ethiopians and Djiboutian are tied in blood. He underscored the need to strengthen and cherish the partnership and cooperation which is created by this bond of relationship.
Likewise, Moumin Ahmed Cheikh, Minister of Interior of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of the Djiboutian delegation, on his part, stated that the purpose of the Joint Meeting was to strengthen and consolidate the people to people tie and to cement the special relationship between the two sisterly nations. He emphasized on the fact that the link between Ethiopia and Djibouti goes far beyond the commercial and economic interest. The minister further stressed the importance of addressing pending issues that have been raised on previous meetings.
The two parties discussed on agendas classified into two clusters – political and security matters. Focusing on economic and social matters, they discussed Border trade, Customs and illicit trade, Transport (Movement of Vehicles and Bus Service), Health related issues, and Agriculture and Livestock issues as well. Regarding security, the two sides deliberated to cooperate on matters of mutual interest as in safeguarding border security, controlling Immigration and Movement of people and combating human trafficking, and irregular migration.
The two sides have agreed to strengthen the existing border control mechanisms and the capacity of sub-committees previously established for that purpose. They have also agreed to enhance joint patrols along the common border and strengthen control of check points and sea outlets, create better awareness build the capacity of the relevant stakeholders as well as the people living along the common border. To further enhance conducive and peaceful environment on the common border, the two sides also agreed to expedite the process of establishing the Balho-Elidar border post and to establish a joint technical committee to combat irregular migration and human trafficking. They have also agreed to expedite the construction and maintenance work on the Dikil
Galafi road, to exchange information on incidents and wrongdoings along the transport corridor and take appropriate actions accordingly among others.
High-level government officials and military officers from Ethiopia and Djibouti attended the three-day joint meeting.