HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19990727]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN News Briefs [19990727]

HORN OF AFRICA: IRIN New Briefs, 27 July

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: Sides reportedly ready to implement peace accord

The OAU says both Ethiopia and Eritrea are ready to implement the peace agreement aimed at ending their border conflict. In a statement, received by IRIN on Monday, the OAU said Algeria - which currently holds the OAU chairmanship - sent an envoy to the two countries at the head of a delegation which noted the "clear disposition" of both sides to implement the deal. In this regard, both countries agreed to send delegations to Algiers on Wednesday to finalise technical arrangements for the OAU Framework Agreement and the Modalities for its implementation, the statement said.

US special envoy, Anthony Lake, who has also been shuttling between the two countries has reportedly achieved "great progress" in his mediation efforts, news organisations said. Diplomats were quoted as saying there was more optimism than at any time since the war broke out in May 1998.

ETHIOPIA: Ties with Sudan "normalised"

Sudanese Foreign Minister Dr Mustafa Uthman Ismail, who met his Ethiopian counterpart Seyoum Mesfin in Nairobi last week, said they agreed on the full normalisation of bilateral relations, the Sudanese news agency SUNA reported. He said officials of the two countries would soon exchange visits.

ERITREA: Some malnutrition among displaced people

Humanitarian sources say the rains so far have been satisfactory, particularly in the highlands. However, there are reportedly signs of malnutrition in displaced people's camps, especially among children who have been displaying the symptoms of reddish hair. Denmark, USAID and the Netherlands have extended funding to UNICEF for support to the IDPs, including supplementary feeding. WFP also reports that US $1 million has been released from its "Immediate Response Account" to acquire 3,000 mt of sorghum and 600 mt of pulses.

SOMALIA: New militia group emerges

Fighting has been reported in the southwest Shabeellaha Hoose region between forces loyal to faction leader Hussein Aideed and a new militia group known as the Digil Salvation Army (DSA), according to the 'Qaran' newspaper on Monday. The DSA was reportedly pushed back and has set up a base near Dhiinsoor. Meanwhile, another paper 'Xog-Ogaal' reported fierce fighting in the southern Jubbada Hoose region between allied forces and militia loyal to General Muhammad Said Hirsi Morgan who were trying to retake Kismaayo. Morgan and his militiamen are now said to have been driven out of the town of Badhaadhe towards the border area with Kenya.

Aideed rejects Egal conference proposal

Hussein Aideed meanwhile has poured scorn on attempts to organise a national reconciliation conference by President Muhammad Egal of Somaliland, AFP reported. "Unless Muhammad Ibrahim Egal abandons the idea of secession from the rest of Somalia, I will not attend any conference hosted by him," he said in a statement. He claimed the reported conference was "a ploy" by Egal for international recognition of Somaliland.

"Worst-case scenario" unfolding, UN says

A UN report points out that the "worst-case scenario" is unfolding in Somalia, particularly in central and southern areas where two-thirds of the population live. A mid-term review of the Consolidated Inter-Agency Appeal (CAP) says the prospect of a serious humanitarian disaster still looms, due to an expected poor July harvest in the "breadbasket" areas of Bay and Bakool, and continuing civil unrest. The report underlines the "two faces" of Somalia: chronic crisis in central/southern areas, and relative stability and early development in northern areas which give a "ray of hope" for the future.

The latest report by the UN Country Team (UNCT) for Somalia substantiates the mid-term review, stressing the urgent need for a sustained humanitarian response in southern and central areas. The economy remains depressed due to the collapse of the banana trade and counterfeit Somali shillings flooding the market, impoverishing still further an already chronically-poor population. Rainfall in the Shabelle valley last month was below normal, resulting in scarce water availability, particularly in the pastoral areas. Rainfed crops are also suffering and commodity prices are high.


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Item: irin-english-1303

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Copyright (c) UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 1999

Editor: Dr. Ali B. Ali-Dinar, Ph.D

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