January/February 2002


Eritrea and Ethiopia to comply with UN decision: Eritrea and Ethiopia have assured a 15-member UN Security Council mission, led by Ambassador Ole Peter Kolby of Norway, that they will accept the ruling of an international commission on the delimitation of the border separating their countries. The Security Council's mission ended on February 25 after its members met Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawei and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki to discuss the peace process following the end of the border war. Kolby noted that during meetings, "both leaders stated their desire to continue to work closely with the United Nations…" for the realization of peace. The commission's decision, which was expected to be announced on February 26, was delayed until sometime in March due to logistic problems. (CNN on line February 25; Walta Information Centre, February 23; Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea, February 24)

11th MCC meeting: The eleventh meeting of the Military Coordination Commission (MCC) was held in Djibouti, on February 5. The chairman of the meeting, Force Commander of the United Nations Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE), Major-General Patrick Cammaert, explained that since the last meeting, UNMEE improved its monitoring of a set of "blind spots" in the TSZ and of working relations with Eritrean liaison officers and local commanders on the ground. The meeting attended by Major-General Cammaert, representatives from the African Union and military delegations from Ethiopia and Eritrea, also discussed UNMEE's freedom of movement around north of the TSZ, which remains unresolved, and localized incidents such as those involving local herdsmen and instances of cattle-theft.

( UNMEE press release, February 5)

Kenya MPs against importation of oil from Sudan: Five Members of Parliament (MPs), called on their Government to reconsider its position on the importation of oil from Sudan after a four-day fact finding mission in Sudan. The MPs stated that involvement in the oil business with Sudan would compromise Kenya’s drive to achieve peace in Sudan and also injure Kenya’s position in the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD). Pointing out that the revenue from oil will definitely be channeled into building the government's war machine, the MPs said Kenya has a moral obligation to safeguard the interests of the people of Southern Sudan. (The East African Standard, February 15)


Eritrea back home after 20 years: On February 16, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) repatriated 109 Eritreans from refugee camps in Sudan after over 20 years of exile. The public relations office of the Eritrean Relief and Refugees Commission said about 40,000 citizens have so far been repatriated from Sudan since the process began in May 2001. (Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea, February 18)

IGAD and Sahel and Sahara Community appeal for no action against Somalia: The Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) and the Sahel and Sahara Community appealed to the international community to avoid military action in Somalia against terrorism and to cooperate with the Transitional National Government, which had affirmed its readiness to fight against terrorism. A statement issued by the headquarters of both organizations appealed to the OAU, the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Conference and the UN to support Somalia in the light of the circumstances it was going through. (Al-Ra'y al-Amm web site, February 22)


World Bank commits US$ 500 million to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa: On February 7, the World Bank approved an additional US$ 500 million for the second stage of its Multi-Country HIV/AIDS Program for Africa (MAP), bringing the amount of its no-interest HIV/AIDS loan to Africa through this program to US$1 billion in the course of the current financial year. The loan will increase access to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support programs in at least a dozen more countries. (WIC, February 08)


Djibouti and Eritrea to cooperate: Djibouti and Eritrea signed a cooperation accord at a joint Ministerial Consultative Committee held from 25-27 January. Djibouti agreed to resume bilateral cooperation as relations improved between the two countries following a frosty period created in 1998 when Eritrea accused Djibouti of favoring Ethiopia. (Shaebia web site, January 29; UN Integrated Regional Information Network, January 28 )

50 POWs Repatriated From Eritrea: The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) under its auspices, repatriated 50 Ethiopian prisoners of war (POWs) from Eritrea and 60 Eritrean POWs from Ethiopia in January and February 2002. A press release from ICRC also disclosed that it has organized the repatriation of 1,816 Eritrean and 1,381 Ethiopian POWs, since the signing of the peace agreement. (WIC, February 18, 15 & January 16)




Cargo spilled in port: Due to the leak of dangerous pesticides in the port of Djibouti, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) stated on February 19 that over US$ 800,000 is needed to decontaminate the port. The cargo, belonging to Ethiopia Electric Power Corporation (EECP), contained hazardous chemicals and was spilled onto the ground inside the Port of Djibouti, on February 4, causing serious human health and environmental problems. According to FAO the party responsible for the damage should be " identified and held responsible". On the other hand, the EECP reported that it has sent a team of experts to the area to investigate the matter. (ADI news agency web site, February 20 & 5)

UNIDO signed agreement: The Djibouti Minister of Trade and Industry, Saleban Omar Oudine, and a high-ranking official from the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Youssef Sabri, signed a declaration in relation to the UNIDO Integrated Programme for Djibouti. The UNIDO team, following requests by the Djibouti authorities, presented to the Djibouti government and the private sector, the final document of the integrated programme that outlines areas that need support in the development of the industrial sector. (ADI news agency web site, February 2: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services)

Djibouti gets US$ 11 million loan: The World Bank approved a US$ 11 million loan to Djibouti. In response, a Djibouti government official said the loan "… will give public funds a shot in the arm since it will bail out the different pension funds". The loan is approved within the framework of the World Bank's financial support policy. (ADI news agency web site, Feb 17)



Assembly ruled out political parties: The Eritrean National assembly agreed not to allow political parties to be created at this time. The assembly however, agreed to having a one-party election as opposed to the planned multi-party election that was due to take place in December 2001. The National assembly during its session held at the end of January and start of February, upon agreeing against the establishment of political parties, decided to postpone ratification of a law intended to define the rules for their establishment. Regarding the freedom of the press, the assembly said a new committee would look at the future of the press in Eritrea, as all private newspapers have been closed since September. (BBC on line, February 1)

UNFPA sign a US$ 10.5 million agreement: The Eritrean government and the United Nations Population Fund, UNFPA, on February 27, signed a US$ 10.5 million aid agreement, which will be implemented in five years time. (Shaebia web site, March 2: BBC Monitoring Services)

Denmark to stop aid: On January 30, Denmark announced its decision to stop aid to Eritrea, under the allegation that the Eritrea government assaults "democratic principles and human rights". The move, which is part of a new Danish policy to "reorient" its assistance to promote sustainable development through "poverty-oriented economic growth", will end bilateral cooperation with Eritrea in 2005 and start radically reducing assistance in 2002. (New Vision, February 1)

Eritrea and Israel sign agreement on air transportation: Eritrea and Israel signed a cooperation agreement on air transport on February 18. The agreement, Eritrean Transport and Communications Minister, Andemikael Kahsay said will open doors for starting passenger and cargo flights between Asmara and Tel Aviv. The air rout is also expected to play a role in exporting Eritrean products and easing the ever-increasing demand for air transport in the country. (Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea, February 19)



ADB approves over US$ 200 million debt relief to Ethiopia: The African Development Bank Group (ADB) approved a US$ 216.47 million debt relief to Ethiopia under the enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative. An ADB press release said the main objective of the ADB Group’s medium-term assistance strategy in Ethiopia is poverty reduction through boosting food security, agriculture and road development as well as rural energy supply. ADB also contributes to programs that aim at empowering the poor and women, improving good governance and rural infrastructure as well as promoting the private sector by supporting macroeconomic reforms. (Ethiopian Herald, February 23)

EU granted over US$ 400 million: The European Union (EU) signed an agreement to provide US$ 483.3 million grant to Ethiopia over the next five years. The grant will be used for transport infrastructure, Macro-Economic Support, Food Security, and other programs that include capacity building for governance particularly in the areas of legal and judicial reform, civil service reform and decentralization. The grant agreement is included in the EU's Country Strategic Paper (CSP), which was jointly prepared by the Ethiopian government and the commission over the period of the last year and a half. (WIC, February 27)

Yemen lift ban: Following a three-day official visit, Yemeni Vice-Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation, Abdulmalik Alareshi announced, on February 1, that his country has lifted the ban it imposed on the importation of livestock and meat from Ethiopia due to Rift Valley Fever. On the occasion, the Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture and Yemen agreed to establish a joint Agricultural Technical Committee that will speed up the implementation of existing agricultural cooperation between the two countries within a month. (ENA, February 3)


25 Ambassadors appointed: On February 18, the Government of Ethiopia appointed 25 ambassadors to its mission across the worldEthiopian President Girma Wolde-Girogis conferred the ambassadorial title on the appointees at a ceremony held at the National Palace. (Addis Tribune, February 22)


Water Recourses plans to invest US$ 8.6 billion on water: The Ministry of Water Resources plans to undertake a 15-year water sector development programme (WSDP) with an outlay of over US$ 8.6 billion. The Ethiopian Sector S trategy and Development Programme Coordination office stated that the sum, which is planned to be secured from the government and donors, will be used for hydropower generation, safe drinking water provision as well as irrigation schemes construction and capacity building. (ENA, January 24)


95 People died of Meningitis:

The Ministry of Health reported that around 95 people died from meningitis and 1,636 others have contracted the disease since it broke out last September in some parts of Ethiopia. The office of the Diseases Prevention and Control Department within the Ministry, said that since the outbreak, a number of temporary health posts that had been set up to help provide vaccines to patients, have vaccinated 750,000 people in different woredas of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples State against the disease. (WIC, February 25)



The Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Committee has revamped their web site. Their web can be accessed at the following address: http://www.telecom.net.et/~dppc/




US suspends talks after bombing on civilians: Following an attack by a Sudanese government helicopter on civilians waiting for food aid on February 20 at Bieh village (southwest of Khartoum), the United States suspended talks with Khartoum on ending the civil war. The Sudan ruling party, who claims to be investigating the attack, criticized the US move as "hasty" and lacking good intentions for the realization of peace. However, Sudan Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said his government is optimistic that the US will reverse its decision of pulling out of the peace process very soon. The attack that killed 17 people and injured many others, was followed by an announcement from the Sudanese government two days later that it had captured a rebel-held airport in the oil-rich Unity province, south of Khartoum, which was used by rebels to attack oil fields and was in the same area where the Sudanese army helicopter killed civilians. Similarly on February 11, the Sudanese government bombed civilian populations in the southern state of Bahr al-Ghazal as people were gathering to receive food aid. The Sudanese government expressed its "profound regrets" over the bombing, blaming it on a "technical error", and pledged that there would be no repeat of the incident. (Reuters, February 26; AFP February 26 , 22 & 14; AP , February 25)


UNICEF signed a US$ 132.8 million agreement: On January 17, the Sudanese government and UNICEF signed an agreement for the implementation of a new cooperation programme at a cost of US$ 132.8 million dollars during the period from 2002 to 2006. The five-year programme includes the establishment of health, water and education projects in various localities, provinces and states in Sudan.(SUNA News agency, January 17)


Journalist fined: Nhial Bol, Managing Editor at the English-language Khartoum Monitor, was released from prison after his newspaper paid a US$ 7,600 fine imposed by the Khartoum Criminal Court. The court, on January 16, found Bol guilty of alleging that the government allows ethnic Arabs to use its trains to transport slaves abducted from the Bahr al-Ghazal area of southern Sudan. Condemning the arrest and the fine, the international press freedom watchdog Reporters Without Borders, sent a letter to Sudan's Internal Affairs Minister Abdel Rahim Mohamed Hussein. (AFP, January 17: Reuters, January 18)


Cease-fire being observed: European Union ambassadors said that the ceasefire in the Nuba Mountains, reached on January 22 during US-brokered talks in Switzerland, is being observed by both the Sudanese People Liberation movement and the Sudanese government. The ambassadors who visited the area agreed that support should now be focused on moving the ceasefire into a comprehensive and sustainable peace. The ceasefire is one of several confidence-building steps proposed by a US mediation effort launched in September. Similarly, an advisor to the Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir also said the agreement is being implemented satisfactorily. (AFP, February 19; Suna news agency, February 17)

Britain appoints special envoy: Sudan welcomed a decision by British Prime Minister Tony Blair to appoint Jack Straw as a special envoy for peace in Sudan. Sudan said that it will fully cooperate with all sincere efforts to achieve a just and lasting peace in the land. Britain on the other hand, stated that it is determined to help Africa and Sudan in particular achieve peace. (PANA, February 9; Foreign & Commonwealth Office, February 12)



Demolition left 3000 homeless: On 27 February, a municipal council bulldozer flattened 4,500 structures of the Mworoto slums in Tudor and Kaa Chonjo slum villages leaving 3,000 families homeless. The demolitions that sparked an outcry from politicians and human rights groups as being a criminal and inhumane act were halted by the government of Kenya and are awaiting discussion by members of the city’s beautification committee. The chairman of the opposition National Labor Party of Kenya, Kennedy Kiliku, on the other hand described the demolitions as a political move aimed at removing upcountry communities before the general election. Kiliku called on opposition politicians to visit Mombasa to protect people from having their houses demolished. Opposition also described the act as a crusade against non-coastal people that aimed at chasing away potential opposition voters and an attempt to start new tribal clashes to disrupt the general election. (Daily Nation web site, March 1; East African Standard web site, March 2 & February 28)


35,000 children to die of malaria: The Kenya Medical Research Institute (Kemri) said on February 22 that approximately 35,000 children aged below five will die as a result of malaria related complications this year. The high projected incidence is attributed to the fact that over 70% of the country's population is located in high-risk malaria areas. The institute, disclosing that the Government needs about US$ 23 million to implement the various interventions, said due to lack of funding the government is not yet in a position to implement them. (The East Africa Standard online, February 23)


Kenya's ruling parties to merge: The Kenya African National Union (Kanu), and the National Democratic Party (NDP) announced their plan to merge. The announcement came in a statement from President Daniel arap Moi, leader of Kanu, and Raila Odinga leader of the NDP. The move follows last year's coalition agreement between the two parties, when Odinga became Kenya's first non-Kanu Minister. Party officials will meet to work out a joint manifesto before elections are due to take place in December. Odinga said the merger would definitely happen within the next six months. (BBC on line , January 2)

Oppositions demand early poll: Opposition parties, including the Democratic Party and official opposition leader, Mwai Kibaki, and the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, James Orengo, demanded that elections be held six months early so that a new government can pull the country out of the current economic crisis. Kibaki said, commenting on the election expected in December, "we in the opposition have been working closely on strategies to win the coming elections and are ready at any time to face the challenge," (BBC on line, January, 2)

US$ 25 million loans for development: The African Development Bank (ADB), and the Government of Kenya signed a US$ 25 million loan agreement towards the District Rehabilitation Project in Kenya, which aims to support economic and social development in Kenya by improving the transportation system. The project also strives to alleviate poverty in rural areas by improving access to basic social and economic services and income generating activities. (KBC radio, February 19)

WTO to give over US$ 12 million: The World Trade Organization [WTO] has pledged to give Kenya over US$ 12.5 million to assist in the implementation of existing WTO obligations. WTO Director General, Mike Moore, said the funds will be used in training government technical staff to enable them to participate more effectively in future multilateral trade negotiations. (KBC radio, February 7: BBC Monitoring Services)



 Over 40 killed in renewed fighting in Bardhere: At least 40 people were killed and another 50 wounded in renewed fighting in Bardhere, west of Mogadishu, on February 18, when heavily armed Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council (SRRC) militiamen entered Bardhere, forcing the pro-government Juba Valley Alliance (JVA) out of town. According to reports from the area, both sides are still in Bardhere, with no sign of either party fully controlling it. The fighting which is said to be the heaviest in the region since the start of the civil war has led to temporary relocation of international staff of all UN and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to Nairobi. Moreover, due to the fight, telecommunications in the town of Baidoa, northwest of Mogadishu, had been cut off from the rest of Somalia. Similarly, in late January several days of factional fighting had left more than 50 people dead, 60 injured and four villages burnt to the ground, in the central Mudug region, north of Mogadishu. Even though there is not clear evidence on what triggered the fight, reports suggest that the fighting was between the Jiddoh and Jareer sub clans over land in the drought-hit valley of the Lower Shabelle River. A separate bout of violence earlier in January had broke out in Coriolei district, south of Mogadishu, leaving 15 people dead and 20 wounded. (IRIN, February 19; Mudugonline web site, February 18: BBC Monitoring Services; BBC on line, January 26)


PM escapes attack: On February 2, shortly after visiting Italian officials left the Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah’s residence of Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG), a hand grenade attack left four people hurt. Farah, escaped injury from the blast and security is now stepped up at the Prime Minister’s residence and also at other members of the (TNG). No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. (BBC on line, February 2)

Prime Minister names cabinet: The Prime Minister of the Transitional Government of Somalia, Hasan Abshir Farah, announced on February 16, at the presidential palace of the Transitional National Government (TNG), his new 31-member cabinet. The appointment of the cabinet had been postponed for several months as the TNG sent messages calling on opponents to join the government so as to give the reconciliation process a boost. The newly elected cabinet includes Husayn Muhammad Usman Jimbir, a former senior member of the opposition Somali Reconciliation and Reconstruction Council (SRRC). (Radio Banaadir, February 16, IRIN February 18)


New bank and internet for Somalia: A new telecommunications company and bank opened after two months of void created due to the closure of the Somalia internet company and the al-Barakaat banking group by the United States, which accused them of financing Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. (BBC on line, January 22)




The designations employed and the presentation of material in this document do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.


Information in this update has been obtained from official and private media reports, U.N. agencies and NGO sources. No claims are made by the UN-EUE as to the accuracy of these reports.



March 5, 2002

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