June/July 2001


TNG says it was wrong to accuse Ethiopia: Following months of accusation, the Somalia’s Transitional National Government (TNG) Foreign Minister, Ismael Hurreh Bubah, admitted that it was wrong to accuse Ethiopia of interfering in its internal affairs. Ismael pointed out that the accusation was based on exaggerated and wrong information. He said "… I believe there are no Ethiopian troops out there and Ethiopia has assured us of that. The TNG believes Ethiopia is committed to the peace and stability of Somalia". Meanwhile Ethiopian Foreign Minister Seyoum Mesfin said, at the end of a session with members of the Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC), there is hope for lasting peace in Somalia. The meeting was held following an invitation by the Ethiopian government which is acting as a facilitator in the reconciliation of the Somali factional groups, based on the mandate given to it by the Inter-Governmental Authority for Development (IGAD). (BBC News Online, June 15; Walta Information Center web site, June 26; People’s Daily Online, June 27)

Sudan to export oil to Kenya and Ethiopia: Kenya made it official that oil companies can import oil at zero tariff from Sudan. Reports however indicate that Washington is unhappy with Kenya doing business with Sudan, which it accuses of harboring terrorists. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, Walter Kansteiner, after a meeting with Energy Minister Raila Odinga announced that Washington "will encourage American companies to come to Kenya and invest in power generation to boost the energy sector." In related developments, Ethiopia is in preparation to import 120 tonnes of butane from Sudan next year. (AFP, July 4; Kenya Broadcasting Corporation TV, July 10: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services; IPS, July 13)

UNHCR speeding up repatriation: In an effort to repatriate up to 20,000 Eritreans to their homes before the planting season that is expected to start in mid-July, the United Nations Higher Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has speeded up its repatriation program. UNHCR has repatriated up to 10, 500 Eritreans from camps in Sudan, since May 12. The returnees were either living in exile for decades or had fled to Sudan during the Ethio-Eritrea war. (Xinhua, July 3)


Seventh MCC meeting held in Nairobi: The Seventh meeting of Ethiopia and Eritrea Military Coordination Commission (MCC) was held in Nairobi on June 27. The meeting, attended by Senior military officials from Ethiopia and Eritrea, representatives of OAU and the United Nations peacekeepers, discussed the formation of sub-committees of the MCC, collecting bodies of the dead soldiers and free movement of UN peacekeeping soldiers. Regarding the formation of sector MCCs the Ethiopian delegate confirmed its willingness while the Eritrean delegation said it is premature. (UNMEE press release, June 28)

Eritrea and Sudan sign cooperation agreement: The Eritrean ruling party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ) and the Sudanese ruling party, the National Congress signed an agreement on June 8. The agreement calls for the establishment of a joint high-level committee of the two parties (to be headed by the heads of the party) and the establishment of security, political, economic, social and cultural affairs committees. (Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea, June 8: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services)

Osman Atto accuses Eritrea of fueling hostilities: The Somali warlord Osman Hassan Ali "Atto" accused the Eritrean government of supplying weapons to Somalia's Transitional National Government (TNG). Atto charged Eritrea of ignoring the arms embargo passed by the UN Security Council and fueling hostilities in Somalia. He said Egypt, Yemen and Djibouti are also exporting arms to the TNG. Subsequently, Atto accused the TNG of promoting hostilities by concentrating on importation of weapons, rather than dialogue. (AFP, June 7)

UNMEE reopens bridge: United Nations Mission for Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE's) Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General, Ian Martin, officially reopened the bridge that crosses the Mereb River between the towns of Rama, in Ethiopia, and Adi Quala, in Eritrea. Mr. Martin stated that the bridge would help UNMEE carry out its monitoring duties in the area. He also pointed out that the reopening of the bridge (that was destroyed during the two-year conflict) can be used in the future for free movement of people of the two countries. (UNMEE Press Release, July 7)

3,200 Ethiopians repatriated: 3,200 Ethiopians, who were living in Eritrea, were repatriated to Ethiopia under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross on June 9, 15 and 22. (Voice of the Tigray Revolution, Mekele, June 9 & 22: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Service; Radio Ethiopia, June 15: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Service)

91,000 refugees repatriated: The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) announced the completion of the voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees from two camps in eastern Ethiopia, on June 30. The agency has repatriated, as part of a voluntary scheme, 91,000 refugees from Teferi Ber and Darwanaji camp to northwest Somalia since 1997. UNHCR said in its press release that the few refugees who are not repatriated will undergo screening conducted jointly by the government of Ethiopia and the UNHCR and will possibility be moved to other camps. (AFP, July 3)

Ethiopia submits compensation claim: The Ethiopian Foreign Ministry submitted claims on the border issue with supporting evidences and analysis to a neutral border commission on a meeting held in Hague from July 1 to 3. The compensation commission that was set up to settle frontier disputes with Eritrea has held debates and discussions in the meeting on the procedural matters presented by the two countries. An Ethiopia government official said Ethiopia would submit compensation claims to the commission in December. (Walta Information Center web site, July 7; AFP, July 8)


FRDU members appointed ministers: The Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh appointed Ismal Ibrahim Houmed and Obtan Gota Moussa, members of the Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRDU), as ministers of Justice and of Youth, Leisure and Tourism, on June 6. The appointment followed the May 12 peace accord that called for more representation of the Afar ethnic group, signed between the government of Djibouti and the FRDU. Meanwhile, more than 1,200 rebels of the FRDU turned in their weapons to government authorities. (AFP, June 6 & 7)

Djibouti and Libya sign a joint communiqué: Djibouti and Libya issued a joint communiqué on June 19. The communiqué was signed in an effort to consolidate ties of friendship, deepen bilateral relations and develop cooperation between the two fraternal countries in all fields. The two leaders, Djibouti President Ismael Omar Gelleh and Libya President Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi also held consultation on various Arab, regional and international issues that are of common interest. (Jana news agency, June 19: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services)


Slow response on appeal worries government: The government of Eritrea showed concern over slow response of donors that stood at 25,000 MT of food from a total of 223,000 MT requested at the Humanitarian Appeal of 2001. Government of Eritrea and humanitarian organizations believe that a quick response would help facilitate the resettlement of IDPs to start normal lives. Meanwhile, a report from Anseba Zone indicated that the area is suffering from drought and still has not received any substantial amount of rainfall. The World Food Program (WFP) Post-Distribution Monitoring team has confirmed the drought in Asmat and Selaa subzones where 27,869 person benefited from their assistance. (FEWS, Food and Security update, June 14)

Government forms demobilizing commission: The government of Eritrea formed a demobilizing commission that will deal with reintegrating members of the army into the society. (Eritrean radio, June 7: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services)

Eritrea announces death of 19,000 soldiers during the conflict: Eritrean President Issaias Afworki announced that 19,000 Eritrean soldiers were killed during the two-year border war with Ethiopia. The announcement, which is the first official tally of the losses incurred by Ethiopia troops in the recent border conflict, was made on the country’s Martyr’s Day on June 13. (AFP, June 21)

China to sign grant agreement and cancellation of debt: In accordance with China’s pledge to cancel US$ 1.2 billion owed to it by African nations and to provide substantial development assistance, it has cancelled US$ 3 million owed to it by Eritrea. China also declared its decision to provide Eritrea with US$ 3 million dollars to finance development projects in the country. (Shaebia web site, June 15)

President remarks on criticism: In accordance to accusations made by 15 senior members of the Eritrean ruling party, the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ), on President Isayas Afewerki wielding of power being illegal and unconstitutional, Yemane Gebreab, head of the PFDJs political affairs gave a briefing on June 2. Yemane said the first priority of the government at present is to redeem the country's economy and resolve the prevailing differences among its leaders. President Isayas on the other hand assured the people that they will give their judgment on the comments made by the PFDJ members. (AFP, May 30, Asmarino web site, June 5 & 19)


World Bank Approves US$ 150 million Loan: The World Bank has approved a US$ 150 million Economic Rehabilitation Support Credit (ERSC). The Credit is to be used to stabilize the Ethiopian economy that has suffered from two years of conflict with Eritrea, drought and a decline in terms of trade. It will be used to improve governance through cross-cutting public sector reforms, the strengthening of public expenditures policy and management and the fostering of private sector development and increasing export competitiveness. The bank in its press release said that the credit is consistent with the Interim Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (I-PRSP) noting that Ethiopia has resumed its economic and social reform efforts following the signing of the peace agreement with Eritrea on December. (Addis Tribune, June 15)

National strategic vision on HIV/AIDS launched: The president of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Dr Negaso Gidada, officially announced the launching of the national strategic vision which is instrumental in curbing the spread of HIV/AIDS in the country. The strategic framework document which is designed for the coming five years, contains the guideline and principle of the government and the National Aids Council (NAC) and also outlines the priority areas for intervention and the institutional arrangement to conduct the program. (Walta Information Centre web site, June 8 )

US$ 497 million Debt Cancelled: As part of the Italian governments decision to relieve highly indebted poor countries of about US$ 4.1 billion, it has announced a debt cancellation of US$ 375 million to Ethiopia. The government of China also promised to write off over US$ 122 million debt owned to it by Ethiopia. (AFP, June 22; Ethiopian radio, June 22: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Service)

Ethiopia receives relief food from donor countries: The Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Commission (DPPC) disclosed that 1,956,990 of the 2.8 million quintals of relief grain pledged by governments and international agencies has been shipped to the country, between March and June 20. The government of Sweden has consigned all of the quarter of a million quintal of grain it pledged to offer this year, the United States of America on the other hand has delivered about 1.4 million of the 1.9 million quintals of grain it pledged. Meanwhile, the governments of Austria, Finland and Ireland and the European Union have made pledges totaling 1,140,500 quintals of grain. (Walta Information Centre web site, June 28)

Government fight against corruption: The Ethiopian Peoples' Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) declared in a statement released on July 7 that the desire to prosper through nepotism and corruption by members of the government is hindering the flourishing of democracy and a free market in the country. The statement, therefore, called on the people of Ethiopia to rally behind it in its effort to create a transparent system at all levels to stamp out corruption. In a related development, the commissioner of Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission has said preparations are underway to include ethics and anti-corruption courses in the country's school curriculum. Accordingly, a draft manual is being prepared and enriched through discussions at workshops and forums. (Walta Information Centre web site, June 23; ENA, July 7)



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/



Egypt and Libya propose a new way out for peace: The Sudanese government, Sudan's southern rebels and main northern opposition groups have backed Egyptian-Libyan peace proposal that aims at ending the 18 years of civil war. The Popular National Congress (PNC) also welcomed the initiative even though it was not invited by Egypt and Libya to reconcile with Sudanese government at a meeting held in Cairo. The initiative was addressed to the Sudanese government, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), an umbrella movement for the southern and northern opposition groups, and the popular Umma opposition party. The proposal calls for an enlarged government inclusive of all political groups, guarantees of human rights and freedoms of political organization and expression, constitutional reform, equal distribution of national wealth and a national army. It also calls for resuming the peace process, forming a transitional cabinet of all political forces, specifying date and arrangements of new general elections, and an immediate cessation of all forms of hostilities in a bid to achieve national reconciliation in Sudan. Consequently, the government of Sudan said it is ready to give up power if it loses the general election. (AFP, June 28 & 29, July 10 & 14; AP July 1; Xinhua, July 9)


Annan urges for peaceful solution: U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan said fighting in Bahr el-Ghazal, (southern Sudan) has resulted in the migration of thousands of Sudanese into government-controlled areas and given rise to fears of food shortages in the region. Annan said the fighting could aggravate the food shortage in the country as the fighting came when farmers were planting for the next harvest and in what is generally seen as the country's bread basket. He also urged the parties in the conflict to settle their defenses peacefully. (Xinhua, July 6; DPA, July 6 )


Boston group pays freedom of 4,000 slaves: A Boston-based American Anti-Slavery Group and the Christian Solidarity International human rights group in Switzerland purchased the freedom of 4,000 Sudanese women and children slaves. The slaves, who were returned to their villages and families, are mostly southern Sudanese who were kidnapped into slavery by northern Sudanese. (UPI, July 13)


Sudan lifts visa ban: Following a meeting with visiting US humanitarian aid official Andrew Natsios, Sudanese Foreign Minister Mustafa Ismail said his country has agreed to lift a 3-year-old ban on entry visas for US officials. Ismail said the decision will hopefully push forward cooperation between the two countries in the humanitarian field. The ban was imposed after the US made a missile raid on a pharmaceutical plant in Khartoum in August, 1998. (AFP, July 15)


US response to appeal: In response to appeals by the UN and other humanitarian groups, the United State is sending 40,000 tonnes of food aid to help avert famine in drought-stricken parts of the country. The appeal was made for an estimated 600,000 people. (AFP, July 7)

Faculty burnt down by student riot: The faculty of Arabic and Islamic studies of the Nile Valley University in Berber, north Sudan, was burned down in a riot by students, on June 20. The police put the situation under control and arrested a large number of students for suspected involvement. The University Vice-Chancellor Faisal Abdallahhad ordered the suspension of studies in the faculty. (AFP, June 21)

International organizations evacuate as fighting advanced: Due to an attack by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army to capture the key town of Wau, southern Sudan the United Nations and international organisations, with the exception of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), had evacuated their international staff. However, on July 8 a United Nations official announced that UN personnel are returning to Wau. Other international organization have not yet reported returning to the town. Meanwhile SPLA claimed that they are about 10 kilometres outside of Wau and control the last stretch of railroad and most of the six major roads that intersect there. The Sudanese government on the other hand claimed that the pull-out is unjustified and evidence of the international community’s support for SPLA. Wau is located at a highly strategic crossroads in Bahr el-Gazal province and around some of the foreign oil fields which the SPLA has vowed to capture so as to cut off the government from an important source of revenue. (AP June 18; AFP, June 19 & July 7)

Food insecurity on the rise as a result of insecurity and poor rains: Malnutrition rates are on the rise in Bahr-el-Ghazal and Jonglei regions. In Bahr-el-Ghazal, the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) offensive and intensified Government of Sudan aerial bombardment has led to serious food insecurity as tens of thousands of people flee their homes. Poor rains and delays in the planting season are also expected to lead to an extension of the hunger gap by one to two months in Aweil and Gogrial. Poor rains in Kapoeta County, Eastern Equatorial, means that pasture conditions will deteriorate and hinder the attempts of recovery from the past three consecutive years of drought. (FEWS, Food and Security update, June 15)



Food security: Food security has shown a favorable unexpected reversal in central and western Kenya’s high potential and largely arable lands. However, absence of seasonal rainfall during May rain in the northwestern pastoralist area has placed recovery in jeopardy. (FEWS, Food and Security update, June 14)

Cholera and Typhoid threatening lives in Kenya: At least 20 people died of Cholera in Wajir district in three days. MP Adan keyanan said the situation has been exacerbated due to luck of qualified medical personnel and inadequate sanitary facilities in the area. Similarly, over 100 high school students were taken to Siaya District Hospital following an acute typhoid outbreak. In Yala sub-district, the number of students treated for typhoid has increased to an average of 48 persons per day. (East African Standard web site, July 1 & 3; KTN TV, July 4: Quoted by BBC Monitoring Services)


Moi proposes death penalty: Kenyan President Danial arab Moi proposed death penalty (hanging) for people who intentionally infect others with HIV/AIDS. The proposal was welcomed by the Kenyan Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA), who asked Attorney-General Amos Wako to incorporate President Moi's proposal on stiffer sentences for rapists and those who deliberately infect others with HIV in the Criminal Law Amendment Bill 2000. Religious leaders, however, opposed the proposal saying life is God-given and no authority has the right to take it. (The Nation web site, July 2)



Security concerns delay UN plan: A United Nations plan for a peace-building mission to Mogadishu has been postponed until the safety of the war-ravaged city improves. UN representative to Somalia, David Stephen also declared a UN suspension of relief operations in the city. The measure was taken due to the kidnapping of four UN employees in March by government opposition in Mogadishu. They were later released unharmed by their captors. The mission plan was to have involved financial and technical support for the government of President Abdiqasim Salad Hassan. (Los Angeles Times, July 3; Las Vegas SUN, July 3; Ayaamaha web site, July 5)

Tens of thousands face hunger: The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) warned that tens of thousands of people could face acute hunger due to inadequate rains of the Gu rainy season in the south-central Somalia. WFP's country representative for Somalia, Kevin Farrell, said preliminary indications showed that only 30 to 40 percent of the normal Gu harvest which accounts for 75 percent of Somalia annual crop production is expected. WFP reports from the affected areas indicate that even if the rains improve in the next few weeks, it is already too late for most crops to recover. A WFP field staff reported that army worms and crickets have damaged a large proportion of the crop that withstood the drought. (United Nations, June 4)

SRRC opposes OAU: Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) opposed the Organization of Africa Unity (OAU) for granting recognition to the Transitional National Government of Somalia and for giving it a seat after 11 years in the OAU Summit that started on July 9. A statement released by the SRRC, said the move is illegal and a violation of the aspirations of Somalia people and would provoke political complications and contribute to the deterioration of the conflict situation in Somalia. SRRC co-chairman Abdullah Shiek Ismail said in a letter sent to the OAU secretary general Salim Ahmed Salim "…in the absence of the legitimate government, the SRRC legally and politically urges that the seat of Somalia at the OAU forum should remain vacant until all-inclusive government parties is established in conformity with previous OAU resolutions." (AFP, July 6)

Opposition fights with TNG: Fighting between militiamen loyal to the Transitional National Government (TNG) and militiamen loyal to warlords Hussein Mohammed Aidid and Osman Hassan Ali Atto ( both opposed to the TNG) killed 10 people and injured 25 between July 14 and 15. The fight started when a convoy carry food aid from Saudi Arabia was attacked by opposition militias on the road leading to Mogadishu from the town of Afgoye. Similarly, following deployment of government troops in Sana, fighting erupted between fighters loyal to warlord Musa Sudi Yalahow and gunmen loyal to the TNG. The fight that claimed 20 lives on July 14 reportedly started because Yalahow’s men were angry by the support that residents of the area expressed for the TNG. (lasvegas sun website, July 14; BBC, July 16)

SRRC accuses Saudi Arabia: The Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council accused Saudi Arabia of destabilizing Somalia by funding arms purchases of the Transitional National Government (TNG). Chairman of SRRC, Abdullahi Sheikh Ismail, claimed that Saudi Arabia assistance of US$ 2 million to the TNG is being used for killing Somali women and children and creating havoc in the country. The groups also urged the Arab League to delay plans to send US$ 400 million pledged for Somali reconstruction. (CNN, June 25; AFP, June 25)

97% voters endorsed referendum: On May 31, the people of the self-declared republic of Somaliland voted on a constitutional referendum. The Somaliland government said on June 5 that 97 percent of voters had endorsed the constitution. The referendum, which includes an article on independence, was opposed by the Transitional National Government, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) and the United Nations. However, observers from the US-based Initiative and Referendum Institute (IRI) said they were impressed with the level of effort the government and the people put forth in seeing that the election was conducted in a fair and open manner. But it said it was too early to definitively state whether or not the referendum on the constitution had achieved its goal. (BBC News Online, May 31; IRIN, June 6)



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.



July 18, 2001

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