Addis Ababa (AFP) African nations mediating South Sudan’s peace efforts must not “squander” the opportunity of a renewed push to end the country’s war, the head of an international ceasefire monitoring team said Saturday. Festus Mogae, a former president of Botswana who leads the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC), urged members of the eight-nation IGAD trade bloc to work together. Mogae said Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda must “maintain a unified approach, demonstrate one voice (and) challenge those who peddle self-interest” in the implementation of aRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Former Brazilian president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Saturday that efforts to block him from seeking re-election were only making him stronger, in a video address at the African Union summit. Lula lashed out at authorities who blocked him from travelling to the summit in Ethiopia where he was due to attend a meeting organised by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, a day after his graft conviction was upheld. The corruption ruling strikes a blow to 72-year-old Lula’s hopes of running in this year’s presidentialRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Feted for turning around tiny, conflict-torn Rwanda, President Paul Kagame will have to tackle the far larger task of reforming the African Union as he takes over as chairman at its main annual summit. The reform agenda proposed by Kagame and backed by AU leadership will dominate a summit in Addis Ababa on Sunday and Monday, where heads of state and government are also expected to make a joint denunciation of Donald Trump’s reported slur on their countries. Representing 55 countries, leaders will also juggle questions crucialRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Drone strikes by the United States military are “wiping out” Shabaab militants in Somalia, the head of the African Union mission in the country told AFP in an interview Friday. The US has stepped up its operations in the war-torn Horn of Africa nation, targeting the Al-Qaeda linked Shabaab, which has fought for the last decade to topple Somalia’s internationally backed government, and a separate self-proclaimed branch of the Islamic State. “These drone attacks and others are wiping out al-Shabaab in good numbers. And that is goodRead More
Burayu (Ethiopia) (AFP) Ethiopia’s government needs to hold negotiations with the country’s most-popular opposition parties or risk the return of destabilising protests, veteran dissident Merera Gudina said in an interview, days after leaving prison. A cause celebre for opponents of Ethiopia’s government during his time behind bars, Merera is the only prominent opposition politician to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that his administration would release an unspecified number of the many dissidents jailed in the country. The announcement came amid continuing anti-government unrest inRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Under a blazing sun, a procession carrying a replica of the Ark of the Covenant marched on a path of red carpets through the streets of Ethiopia’s capital, sending believers to their knees in reverence. The occasion was Timkat, the Ethiopian Orthodox Church’s celebration of Jesus Christ’s baptism that began Thursday afternoon and concluded Friday. Held annually and second in importance only to Christmas in the eyes of the church, the tradition sees the replica Ark that every Ethiopian Orthodox church normally keeps out of public viewRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Prominent Ethiopian opposition leader Merera Gudina was freed from jail on Wednesday after the government dropped charges against him as part of a wider prisoner amnesty, state media reported. In his first comments after his release, Merera vowed to stay active in politics and urged Ethiopia’s all-powerful government to hold “honest negotiations” with the country’s many opposition parties. Merera is the first high-profile dissident to be freed since Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn announced earlier this month that Ethiopia would release an unspecified number of jailed “politicians.” TheRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) An Ethiopian court has sentenced prominent dissident Bekele Gerba and three other opposition figures to six months in jail for singing a protest song in court, a defence lawyer told AFP on Friday. The four, all members of the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC), have been in pre-trial custody since their arrest in late 2015 when a wave of anti-government protests broke out. Bekele, the deputy OFC chairman, and the three other party officials broke into song on Thursday after the judges ruled against his request toRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) Ethiopia’s parliament has passed a law banning the adoption of Ethiopian children by foreigners, a government spokesman and diplomats told AFP on Wednesday. The vote follows an April moratorium on foreign adoptions issued by Ethiopia’s government which led to the suspension of dozens of cases, including some of parents who had already completed the legal adoption process. A spokesman for Ethiopia’s ministry of women, children and youth affairs confirmed the passing of the law on Tuesday without providing further details, but local media reports lauded the moveRead More
Addis Ababa (AFP) South Sudan’s government and main armed groups on Thursday signed a ceasefire agreement during peace talks in Ethiopia, the latest push to end a devastating four year war in the country. “With effect from 00:01 hours (South Sudan local time) on the 24th day of December 2017, a Cessation of Hostilities (CoH) shall come into force, and the parties shall cease all hostile military actions and operations,” read the agreement seen by AFP. The agreement says all forces should “immediately freeze in their locations”, halt actions thatRead More