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News in Brief

Africa and the African Union

The Assembly of Heads of State and Government of IGAD Plus held its second Extraordinary Summit on Friday last week (August 5) in Addis Ababa, to discuss the situation in South Sudan. The meeting endorsed calls for a Regional Protection Force to be deployed in Juba. United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, expressed his support for such a force to be sent to Juba.

Ethiopia

The annual conference of Ambassadors, Consuls General, and Directors General was held this week, with deliberations focusing on the thematic areas and strategic pillars that the Ministry intends to target and address during the current fiscal year (2008-2009, Ethiopian calendar. 

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia organized a day of “Thank You!” event for the Addis-based Diplomatic Corps for their continuous support to Ethiopia’s election as a non-permanent member of the UNSC at a reception held on Thursday (August 11, 2016) at Sheraton Addis.

The National Disaster Risk Management Commission on Friday (August 12) said the impact of the El-Nino-induced drought has been scaling down. Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner of the National Disaster Risk Management Commission pointed out that the rehabilitation activities that the government has overseen over the past months allowed those who were in need of food aid to become self-sufficient.

The Joint meeting of African and Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development commenced this week on Wednesday (August 10) in Addis Ababa. Participants of the forum will deliberate on issues of population, public health, global partnership and food security. Speaking at the tree-day joint forum, Honorable Abadulla Gemeda, Speaker of HPR noted that Ethiopia’s success in achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs) could serve as a model to other countries.

Somalia’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud who had been to Jigjiga, Ethiopian Somali Regional State this week (August 10) noted that Ethiopia’s federalism, and the structure of governance is a model to other countries. During the experience sharing tour, the Somali President took note of the successes the Ethiopian Somali Regional State has witnessed in the areas of peace, development and good governance.

Ethiopia will be hosting the 66th Session of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Regional Committee for Africa (RC 66) from 19th to 23rd of August 2016, at the United Nations Conference Center (UNCC) in Addis Ababa

Ethiopia’s endeavor to designate the Gada system as United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage list is moving on a right track signaling fruitful results, said on Wednesday (August 10) the Oromia Regional State’s Culture and Tourism Bureau Head, Getu Weyesa.

Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia is working to make sure that 438 Ethiopian migrants jailed in Zambia and Zimbabwe are repatriated.

Eritrea

President Isaias officially opened the Eritrean National Festival 2016 on Saturday (August 6) in Asmara. Being held under the theme “Festival: the Foundation of Unity and Diversity”, the festival will continue till August 14, highlighting Eritrea’s natural and cultural resources with pavilions that reflect the cultural diversity, artistic performances, creative works and innovations as well as exhibitions of different products.

Early this month, Abraham Tesfalul Zere, the executive director of PEN Eritrea, which works on behalf of Eritrean writers and journalists targeted by the government, whether abroad or in Eritrea, including the many jailed journalists there, expressed his concern over the way Eritreans were suffering from “a culture of fear that goes beyond borders.” 

Kenya

A State House spokesperson says US Secretary of State John Kerry will visit Kenya August 21-22. Talks with President Kenyatta and Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohamed are expected to cover the situation in South Sudan and security in Somalia. On his visit last year Mr. Kerry urged Kenya not to close Dadaab and called on South Sudan’s warring leaders to form a transitional government. He is also expected to encourage the government to carry out electoral reforms, as well implement agreements over drug trafficking and corruption.

Deputy President William Ruto has travelled to Brazil to support the Kenyan team at the Olympics. His visit also underlines that Kenya values its relationship with Brazil. Brazil opened a diplomatic mission in Nairobi in 1967; Kenya opened its embassy in Brasilia in 2006.

Somalia

Following their meeting last week, the Somali National Leadership Forum issued a communiqué detailing a new timetable for the Somali Federal Elections, postponing the parliamentary elections from August to October, and the Presidential election to October 30.

Two of the presidential candidates challenging President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, Abdirahman Mohamed Farole and Ali Haji Warsame, have protested the extension of the President’s tenure from September 10 to October 30, calling it  “unconstitutionally inconsistent”. They claim the extension gives the President and other current office holders “unfair opportunities”. They call for the Parliamentary Speaker, Mohamed Sheikh Osman Jawari, to assume the presidency until the election on October 30.

AMISOM’s Police Component graduated 199 police recruits this week in Baidoa, capital of the South West State. The recruits, the third group to graduate in the state in the last 18 months, had completed a three-month intensive training program. The number of police officers who have completed the training program is now 600.

Mohamed Hussein Odowaa, Federal Minister of Interior said after National Leadership Forum meeting that he was “very optimistic” that a regional state made up of Hiiraan and Middle Shabelle regions would now be formed before the election. He said the ministry would now be arranging meetings between politicians and intellectuals from the two regions to discuss the formation process.

The first U.S. ambassador to Somalia in 25 years met with Foreign Affairs Minister Abdisalam Omar Hadliye in Mogadishu and presented his credentials on Tuesday (August 9). He said the appointment of an ambassador to Somalia was “a sign of the strong bonds between the two countries,”  and he was pleased to have the opportunity to help the people of Somalia build a peaceful nation with a stable democratic government.

South Sudan

The UN Secretary-General issued a statement on Sunday (August 7) welcoming the communiqué of the IGAD Plus Summit and called on all South Sudanese leaders to set aside their personal differences and demonstrate their commitment to the implementation of the Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan. He said he remained deeply concerned about the continued fighting and called for an immediate end to the hostilities. He called on all parties to uphold their responsibility to protect civilians and demanded that they take immediate steps to hold accountable those responsible for criminal activity.

Sudan

Four Sudanese opposition groups, following discussions with the head of the African Union High Implementation Panel, Thabo Mbeki, signed the Roadmap for Peace in Addis Ababa, on Monday (August 8). The four, part of the opposition umbrella, Sudan Call, agreed to sign after receiving reassurances from AUHIP over its major concerns.

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