ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: IRIN News Briefs [19990810]

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: IRIN News Briefs [19990810]

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA: IRIN News Briefs, 10 August 1999

Expert committee submits proposals for ending border conflict

A technical document detailing implementation of the OAU Algiers summit proposals for resolving the conflict - worked out by a group of experts from Algeria, the OAU, the UN and US - was on Friday presented to both Ethiopia and Eritrea, with OAU sources expressing "cautious optimism" about its acceptance. The proposals contained a call on Eritrea to redeploy its forces outside the areas it occupied after 6 May 1998, and for Ethiopia to redeploy thereafter from positions taken after 6 February this year and which were not under its administration before 6 May 1998, media sources reported. Both sides have also been asked to agree to the deployment of OAU military observers and the delimitation and demarcation of the entire 1,000 km border with the help of UN experts.

Asmara accepts "technical arrangements" for peace

Eritrea on Sunday officially accepted the OAU proposal on technical arrangements submitted to both Ethiopia and Eritrea. President Isayas Afewerki has sent written acknowledgement of his country's acceptance to Algerian President and current OAU chairman, Abdelaziz Boutelflika, and "pledged its full cooperation with the OAU and the UN in implementing the three agreements - the Framework Agreement, the Modalities and the Technical Arrangements - as the sole basis for resolving the dispute", an official press release received by IRIN stated.

Meles seeks clarification of details by OAU

Ethiopia stated in a press release on Monday that it had "requested clarification on the technical arrangements" and would make its position known once these had been received. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told an OAU delegation led by the special envoy of the Algerian president, Ahmed Ouyahiya, "the clarification it had requested and queries it had presented would enhance and assist in implementing the OAU peace proposal", Ethiopian television reported.

US Ambassador says hopes of peace are high

US Ambassador to Ethiopia David Shinn has said he believes the chances of a solution to the Ethiopia-Eritrea conflict are high. "My view is the probability is quite high, certainly better than 50 percent, but how much better than 50 percent I don't know", Shinn - who is soon to finish his posting and return to the US - stated in an interview with the 'Addis Tribune'. He added that "once that happens, assuming it happens, you will then see an uptake in US-Ethiopian relationship programs that have been on sort of a plateau over the last year plus."

Shinn also called on the Ethiopian government "to make every effort to ensure equitable treatment for the opposition parties" in elections scheduled for next year, saying those parties who take the initiative to register for the elections "must have access, for example, to those kinds of media outlets that the government party has ... There must be a system in place so that they feel that they have an honest chance of achieving some electoral victories."

ETHIOPIA: Food needs for war-displaced reach critical stage

WFP has stated that the need for cereal contributions for an emergency operation for Ethiopians displaced by the war has reached a critical stage. In an emergency report received by IRIN, it also said it was distributing food aid to 1.5 million beneficiaries affected by failed 'belg' rains - up from 1.2 million originally planned due to cereal production falling shorter than estimates had suggested.

In all, donors had pledged about 360,000 mt of food aid as of July, from an estimated government requirement of 550,000 mt for five million people affected by drought, according to according to the FAO's annual report on food supply and crop prospects in Sub-Saharan Africa, received by IRIN on Tuesday. The north-western Amhara Region, with some two million vulnerable people, was worst affected, it said, adding that early prospects for the main 'meher' season were uncertain, despite beneficial rains in June and July, because of delayed soil preparation and farmers having been forced to plant low-yield, short-cycle crops.

ERITREA: Food situation "very tight" for border communities

In Eritrea, despite a satisfactory harvest in 1998, the food situation was very tight for people displaced by the war with Ethiopia, particularly for farmers around Gash-Barka and Debub, according to the FAO report. Inadequate rainfall on the Red Sea and adjoining areas would also mean serious shortages of grains and pasture in the provinces of Semenawi and Keih Bahri, while an army worm infestation had particularly hit Anseba province. Some 16,000 mt from a food aid requirement had so far been pledged, the report stated, adding that food would continue to be provided to 268,000 war-affected people, including 21,5000 deportees from Ethiopia, in a joint WFP/FAO emergency operation.

British MPs criticise government for arms export

A British parliamentary group, the International Development Committee, has criticised the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the British government for granting two arms export licences to Eritrea, saying it had "yet to take on board effectively the human rights and conflict concerns which are at the heart of development policy." The licences had been granted despite concerns expressed by development officials, with DTI officials claiming that licences were not issued for military or dual-use exports if the equipment could be used for "internal repression or external aggression", Reuters news agency reported. The International Development Committee said Britain, one of the world's biggest arms exporters, should liaise more closely with other industrialised nations to stem the flow of weapons to developing countries.

Health ministry joins global 'Roll Back Malaria' initiative

The Ministry of Health has prepared a five-year malaria control programme and is to implement it on a nationwide basis, with special emphasis on malaria endemic zones, under the WHO's 'Roll Back Malaria' initiative. The programme was finalised at a conference in Mendefera in the Debub zone which was attended by 200 participants, including senior government officials, zonal medical officers and village health agents, as well as international agencies and NGOs including: WHO, UNICEF, UNDP, the World Bank, Italian Cooperation and USAID, a health ministry press release stated.


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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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