UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA - AFRICAN STUDIES CENTER
** EDITORIAL PRINCIPLES **
The Horn of Africa Bulletin (HAB) is an international media review, compiling and recording news and comments on the Horn of Africa. Reports published in HAB represent a variety of published sources and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors.
Readers are always referred to the original sources for complete versions. When HAB uses a secondary source, the secondary source is given first, followed by the primary source in square brackets. Some items are re-titled to best reflect the content of chosen excerpts. Sections marked with "/HAB/" are introductions or comments made by the editors. Square brackets are used to indicate changes/ additions made by the editors. (Square brackets appearing within a secondary source may also indicate changes made by a previous editor.)
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** ABBREVIATIONS **
Abbreviations of sources used in this publication:
AA - Africa Analysis; AB - African Business; AC - Africa Confidential; AED - Africa Economic Digest via RBB; AFP - Agence France Presse, Paris; AGKED - Arbeitsgemeinschaft Kirchlicher Entwicklungsdienst, Informationen zum Horn von Afrika; AI - Amnesty International; AN - Africa News; ANB - African News Bulletin; APS - Africa Press Service; AR - Africa Report; ARN - Arab News; CSM - Christian Science Monitor, World Edition; DN - Daily Nation; DNR - Dagens Nyheter; DT - Daily Telegraph via RBB; EC - Ethiopian Commentator; EH - Ethiopian Herald; EN - Ethiopia News; ENA - Ethiopian News Service; EP - Eritrean Profile via Eritrea-L; ER - Ethiopian Review; FOA - Focus on Africa; GI - Guardian Independent; GW - Guardian Weekly; HRM - Human Rights Monitor; IHT - International Herald Tribune; IND - The Independent via RBB; ION - Indian Ocean Newsletter; KT - Kenya Times; LICR - Lloyd's Information Casualty Report via RBB; LWI - Lutheran World Information; MD - Monday Developments; MEED - Middle East Economic Digest via RBB; NA - New African; NFE - News from Ethiopia; NN - NordNet; NNS - NGO Networking Service's Monthly Update via NordNet; NYT - New York Times; RBB - Reuters Business Briefing; SCSG - Scottish Churches' Sudan Group Newsletter; SDG - Sudan Democratic Gazette; SHRV - Sudan Human Rights Voice; SN - Sudan Embassy News; SNU - Somalia News Update; SSV - Southern Sudan Vision; STD - Standard; SU - Sudan Update; SvD - Svenska Dagbladet; SWB - BBC Monitoring Summary of World Broadcasts via RBB; UNIC - United Nations Information Center, Sydney, via NN; WH - The White House via <email@example.com>; WP - Washington Post.
Radio stations are abbreviated as follows:
RE - Radio Ethiopia, Addis Ababa; REE - Radio Ethiopia External Service, Addis Ababa; RFI - Radio France Internationale, Paris; RH - Radio Hargeisa, Voice of Republic of Somaliland; RMO - Radio Mogadishu; RMV - Radio Mogadishu, Voice of the Great Somali People; RNU - Radio National Unity, Omdurman; RSR - Republic of Sudan Radio, Omdurman; VBME - Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea, Asmara; VOA - Voice of America; VOEN - Voice of Ethiopia National Service, Addis Ababa.
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** E D I T O R I A L **
ETHIOPIA AT THE CROSSROADS
Elections on May 7 ended four years of transitional governance in Ethiopia. The ruling EPRDF won a "landslide victory" over a number of new ethnically based parties. Meles Zenawi will no doubt be the new Prime Minister over the Federal Republic of Ethiopia. Election turnout was reasonably good and the procedure was declared free and fair by the international monitors that were allowed to monitor the election. The Ethiopian people have had a chance to voice their preferences in democratic multi-party elections, and their choice is clear.
Or is it? The procedures at the polls might have been fair, but there are serious question marks for the process leading up to election day. All the major opposition parties boycotted the elections and the Ethiopians were left with a choice that in reality was not much of a choice: most parties belonged to the EPRDF umbrella organization. In an effort to undermine genuine parties outside of the government's control, the EPRDF has created its own parties in all regions giving only a semblance of diversity. Against this background, the rhetoric of "landslide victory" has an unsavory taste of old centralized power structures, a one-party state with a silenced opposition.
The international community has tried to bring aboard the opposition to take part in the elections. However, both the government and the opposition sent their "hardliners" to a meeting in Washington in February, making it very hard to find any common ground.
Four years ago, when Mengistu was chased out by the joint armies of EPRDF, EPLF and OLF, Ethiopia embarked on a unique and daring experiment towards a decentralized state, where all the peoples of Ethiopia would have a place. The last century had experienced an increased dominance of Addis Ababa and a small cultural and intellectual elite under the emperor, followed by the terror regime of Mengistu Hailemariam. All power was centralized, and unity was enforced from above in all matters: politics, culture, ethnicity and language. This dominance and obsession with unity had resulted in 30 years of war. Now, finally, there was peace and each Ethiopian could be proud to be both Ethiopian and, for example, Oromo, Gurage or Somali. Each Ethiopian could also be proud of his or her own language, culture, etc. People out in the regions were to be granted participation in the decision- making process even up to secession from the state. Eritrea opted for secession and a new positive joint cooperation based on free choice developed between the two former enemies.
Not all welcomed this change. Some saw the separation of Eritrea as a great loss. Especially in Addis Ababa, the discontent among the former urban power elite was strong and vocal, as they now saw their privileges vanish. They had largely been spared form the tangible prices of war, and in this new situation, they did not seek to find a way forward but opted for confrontational politics and a propaganda war, provoking ethnic opposition and even risking to precipitate another armed conflict.
In trying to get one of the world's poorest countries back on its feet again, the challenges facing the transitional government have been tremendous, and so far the record is impressive in many areas, such as the economy, rural development, agriculture and trade. The verbal commitment is still strong to equal opportunities for all, a high standard of human rights, and a true decentralization of the decision-making process. So, why do we increasingly see these old centralized control mechanisms in function? Why is it that the government does not dare let a true opposition group exist in the country without criminalizing them? Why is the state-controlled press sounding more and more like the usual propaganda machine, while the editors who dare criticize are imprisoned for printing matters that can "harm" the state? Why does the government take a defensive position instead of trusting its own constitution? Were are the voices of wisdom within the government today?
The positive, peaceful developments within Ethiopia have not only been of importance to Ethiopia, but have shown that there is hope for Africa in general. And there is hope for Africa; there is hope for Ethiopia. As a matter of fact, it is this very sense of hope which Ethiopia has given us that has raised our expectations and led us to voice our concerns over recent developments.
The leaders of the opposition parties carry a heavy responsibility. The Oromos were marginalized during the earlier regimes. They would be wise not to fall into the trap of armed conflict again. Maybe there will be a period of less tension now that the government has had its victory? Maybe there will be a greater willingness to go the extra mile and meet the opposition halfway in a new spirit of openness?
A new and democratic way of life in Ethiopia will not come overnight. Let us hope that moderate voices within the government will keep it on the track of its stated objectives of equal opportunities for all and resist the shortcuts that are offered by violence and oppression. Let us also hope that the opposition parties will use this time to act positively and nonviolently within the country while getting ready to fight in a democratic way when the next elections come around.
BBC Monitoring scans international media live, to provide economic and political news from over 140 countries. Reports drawn from radio, television and news agencies are published in the authoritative "Summary of World Broadcasts".
SWB will keep you up to date with major events as well as those "hard to get at" stories often missed by other sources.
Summaries of news bulletins or, in the case of important speeches and events, the complete texts are published with no editorial comment so you can be sure the news you receive is impartial and accurate.
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service on the Internet. Sample pages can be seen on the World Wide Web:
For further information please contact The Marketing Department, BBC Monitoring, Caversham Park, Reading, RG4 8TZ, UK. E-mail: 100431.2524@compuserve. com, Tel: +44 (0)1734 469289 or Fax: +44 (0)1734 463823.
** H O R N O F A F R I C A **
CLANDESTINE AND UNOFFICIAL BROADCASTS
(SWB 16 Mar 95)
The following list gives brief details of broadcasts by political, humanitarian or international organizations to countries covered by Part 5 of the SWB and supersedes that published in ME/1748 on 23rd July 1993. Stations are listed under their target country. In general, transmissions from state- owned stations and from licensed commercial broadcasters have been omitted.
Monitoring of some broadcasts has been irregular and inclusion of a station or programme in this list does not necessarily mean it was confirmed as active at the time of publication...
Voice of the Broad Masses of Eritrea is the official radio of Eritrea, based in Asmara. For over a decade prior to the defeat of the Mengistu government in May 1991 it had operated on a clandestine basis in support of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) and other opposition groups.
Free Radio Voice of Ethiopian Unity was first monitored on 17th November 1993 broadcasting in Amharic via a transmitter also used by Radio Moscow's Amharic service. It is hostile to the Ethiopian and Eritrean governments. The radio gave a P.O. Box address in Washington DC, USA. In its mode of operation, political line and contact address it is very similar to the Voice of Ethiopian Patriotism, a station monitored in October and November 1992, also broadcasting from transmitters in the former Soviet Union. Free Radio Voice of Ethiopian Unity was heard again in October 1994, having been unheard since January 1994.
Radio Torch (Amharic: Fana) is operated by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF, the ruling coalition). It was inaugurated on 7th November 1994. Radio Torch appears to have replaced two earlier EPRDF stations - Voice of the Ethiopian People for Peace, Democracy and Freedom, and Voice of the Broad Oromo Masses (see below) - which broadcast in Amharic and Oromo respectively from shared transmitter facilities. The broadcasts of Radio Torch echo the line taken by Radio Ethiopia, the government station in Addis Ababa.
Voice of the Broad Oromo Masses. A former clandestine radio during the Mengistu regime, which continued broadcasting from Addis Ababa after his downfall. It has been replaced by Radio Torch (see above). The radio supported the Oromo People's Democratic Organization (a component of the ruling EPRDF).
Voice of the Ethiopian People for Peace, Democracy and Freedom. A former clandestine radio during the Mengistu regime, which continued broadcasting from Addis Ababa after his downfall. It has been replaced by Radio Torch (see above). It supported the EPRDF.
Voice of the Tigray Revolution. A former clandestine radio during the Mengistu regime, it now operates from Mekele (capital of Tigray region, northern Ethiopia) and supports the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), a component of the ruling EPRDF.
Voice of Oromo Liberation broadcasts on behalf of the Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) and in opposition to the Ethiopian government. In February 1995 the radio was heard again for the first time in over two and a half years, broadcasting via a private shortwave station in the USA.
The previous series of broadcasts by Voice of Oromo Liberation, which began in June 1988 and was last heard in June 1992, emanated from a transmitter in Sudan, and the cessation of these broadcasts was linked at the time to an improvement in relations between the Sudanese and Ethiopian governments.
Unconfirmed reports at the end of March 1993 said that Voice of Oromo Liberation had resumed broadcasting via the facilities of WWCR (Worldwide Christian Radio), a shortwave station in Nashville, Tennessee, USA.
In February 1995 Voice of Oromo Liberation was heard broadcasting via the facilities of WHRI (World Harvest Radio International), a shortwave station in Indiana, USA. Its broadcasts, in the Oromo language, included commentaries critical of the Ethiopian government and calling on the Oromo people to wage an armed struggle against it.
Radio Mogadishu, Voice of the Somali Republic. A shortwave station loyal to Ali Mahdi Muhammad, the self-styled "president of the Somali Republic". Believed to be based in the Kaaraan district of northern Mogadishu, Ali Mahdi's stronghold. First heard in March 1992.
Radio Mogadishu, Voice of the Somali People. A shortwave station loyal to the Somali National Alliance led by Gen Muhammad Farah Aydid. First heard on 19th July 1993, it replaced the main Radio Mogadishu mediumwave station destroyed by UN/US forces on 12th June 1993. Until April 1994 it described itself as "Voice of the Great Somali People". It is assumed to be based in southern Mogadishu.
Radio Free Somalia/Voice of Free Somalia. A shortwave station broadcasting from Gaalkayo in the Mudug region of northeast Somalia. It began broadcasting on 18th August 1993, in Somali and English. The radio was set up with assistance from radio amateurs from Australia. It has described itself as "free from politics" and not part of any group or organization. After being off the air for a period, the station was monitored again in December 1994.
Radio Manta ("Radio Today") was the UN station in Mogadishu during the period of UN involvement in Somalia which ended in March 1995. Initially named Radio Rajo ("Radio Hope") and set up by the US Operation Restore Hope in January 1993, it changed its name to Radio Manta in May 1993 following the handover of the international operation in Somalia from the US-led Unified Task Force (Unitaf) to the United Nations Operation in Somalia (Unosom).
Radio Hargeisa, Voice of the Republic of Somaliland. Self- explanatory name. Operates a low-powered shortwave transmitter. A Hargeisa newspaper reported in November 1994 that the Somaliland government had purchased a new "high- powered national radio station".
Radio Awdal (region in northwestern Somaliland).Shortwave station run by the Gadabursi clan in the town of Boorama, northwest of Hargeisa and close to the Ethiopian border.
AFRICANS DECIDE TO BOOST REGIONAL LINKS AT IGADD SUMMIT (Reuter 18 Apr 95, by Tsegaye Tadesse) ADDIS ABABA - Six leaders in a regional Eastern Africa grouping put aside their differences on Tuesday and agreed on a declaration to strengthen their ties.
Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi was joined by presidents Daniel arap Moi of Kenya, Omar Hassan al- Bashir of Sudan, Hassan Gouled Aptidon of Djibouti and Isayas Afewerki of Eritrea and Ugandan vice- president Specioza Kazibwe for the one-day summit.
The meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, chaired by Moi, was held after various disputes among the members of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD).
But conference sources said the leaders appeared to have avoided an airing of their biting differences.
Eritrea cut diplomatic relations with Sudan last December.
Uganda and Sudan accuse each other of backing rebels in their own countries and last week engaged in tit-for-tat expulsions of diplomats.
Kenya and Uganda are at loggerheads over a guerrilla movement Kenya says is based in Uganda and wants to topple Moi's government. Uganda denies it hosts such a group.
"Aware of the vital need for a more expanded cooperation among our countries, with a framework of an expanded and revitalised IGADD, a ministerial committee shall be set up to undertake a thorough study," the declaration said.
That committee will be composed of foreign ministers and other relevant ministers members from each member state and will hand in its recommendations at the next IGADD summit in Khartoum in September, the declaration added.
It said a revitalised IGADD would boost trade, transport and communication, contribute to joint development strategies and promote investment.
It was unclear whether the regional summit discussed the 12- year civil war in southern Sudan, one of the group's principal regional concerns...
IGADD was set up in 1986 by the six states originally to coordinate measures to combat drought and desertification.
OAU CELEBRATES 32ND ANNIVERSARY
(Reuter 24 May 95, by Tsegaye Tadesse)
ADDIS ABABA - The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) marked its 32nd anniversary on Wednesday, celebrating the "sparkle" of newly-liberated South Africa but lamenting the dark side of wars in parts of the continent.
OAU Secretary-General Salim Ahmed Salim, in a message to celebrate Africa Day which marks the founding of the pan- Africa body in Addis Ababa, said South Africa was already bringing its economic talent to the continent.
He said it was "also making a valuable contribution in the task of searching for peace in Angola, Rwanda, Burundi and elswhere in the continent."
But he also remembered the conflicts which tortured Africa in the past year, including Burundi, Somalia, Liberia, Angola and Sierra Leone.
He said economic reforms, though they had been painful, were beginning to bear fruit.
"We see the positive results of greater efficiency and private sector participation in the economies of our countries," Salim said.
"The removal of rigidities have stimulated greater economic activity and opportunities for individual and corporate participations," he added.
But he added: "Access of the majority of the African people to education, health care, drinking water, shelter and other soical amenities have decreased.
"The income gap between the rich and poor is widening, posing a long-term threat to social harmony."
He urged African countries to promote regional trade and economic co-operation, saying the continent had to liberate itself from dependence on the outside world.
Leaders of OAU states will hold their annual summit in Addis Ababa from June 26 to June 28, OAU officials said.
** D J I B O U T I **
ADDHL - Djibouti Association for the Defense of Human Rights
DRA - Djibouti Relief Association
FDF - Front of Democratic Forces
FRUD - Front for the Restauration of Unity and Democracy
FNS - Force Nationale de Securite
MND - Mouvement National Djiboutien
MSR - Mouvement pour le Salut et la Reconstruction
MUD - Movement pour l'Unite de la Democratie
PCRD - Parti Centriste et des Reformes Democratiques
PND - Parti National Democratique
PRD - Parti du Renouveau Democratique
RPP - Rassemblement Populaire pour le Progres
UDD - Union des Democrates Djiboutiens
UDSJ - Union for Democracy and Social Justice
UMD - Union des Movements Democratiques
** DOMESTIC NEWS **
WAR OF SUCCESSION
(ION 15 Apr 95, p.1)
The current fighting between Issa dignitaries in Djibouti is beginning to overshadow the older split between Issas and Afars which had dominated the country for years during the civil conflict between the government and the Afar guerrilla. The increasingly open clash between two clans for control of power, in the run-up to picking a candidate to succeed head of state Hassan Gouled, has just marked up a new instalment in the inglorious soap opera: the abrupt dismissal of port and maritime affairs minister Moussa Bouraleh Robleh on April 6. He was fired by presidential decree as president Gouled recovered at Arta. Robleh is an Issa-Dalol of the Horoneh subclan (like president Gouled's wife Aicha Bogoreh) and a staunch supporter of the president's principal permanent secretary Ismail Gedi Hared and the justice minister Moumin Bahdon Farah. The two officials are united in a common front against Ismail Omar Gelleh, Gouled's nephew and powerful chef de cabinet. Bouraleh Robleh was apparently dismissed for apponting four of his close supporters to top posts in Djibouti Port Authority, at end- March or early-April, taking advantage of the absence of its director Aden Ahmed Douale (an Issa Mamassan, like Gouled)...
The French government has been following the bun fight very closely, particularly as Ismail Omar Gelleh has never really been liked in Paris although the French secret service (Direction General de la Securite Exterieure, DGSE) claims he is a person who has always kept his word in dealings with the French. Moumin Bahdon is also suspect in Paris because of his stormy nationalism and his links with the Arab world. Apart from Djibouti's recent moves closer to Saudi Arabia (ION No. 656), DGSE has reported an upsurge of radical Islamism in the country. The end-March visit of DGSE boss (and former prefect of Reunion Island) Jacques Dewatre to Djibouti is seen as a move to understand the situation more clearly...
EX-REBELS IN DJIBOUTI'S COALITION GOVERNMENT
(Reuter 9 Jun 95, by Christophe Farah)
DJIBOUTI - President Hassan Gouled Aptidon has appointed two former Afar rebels in Djibouti's first Coalition government as part of a peace agreement ending a three-year uprising in the tiny Red Sea state.
Naming the coalition government on Thursday, Hassan Gouled appointed Ali Mohamed Daoud, chairman of the former Afar rebel Front for the Restoration of Unity and Democracy (FRUD), as minister of health and social affairs.
FRUD Secretary-General Ougoure Kifle Ahmed was given the ministry of agriculture and water resources in the cabinet which was cut from 18 ministers to 16 to curb official spending.
Officials said the prime task of the new cabinet was to promote reconciliation to strengthen the peace pact signed last December between the northern guerrillas and Somali- dominated government.
Under a peace pact in December, FRUD undertook to abandon armed resistance and transform itself into a political party so the former Afar rebels would share power with Issa Somalis.
Hostilities in the arid state effectively ended in July 1992 followed by months of secret talks leading to the peace pact.
Setting its priorities, Hassan Gouled said in a decree the new cabinet must revive the ailing economy and build efficiency in the country still reeling from the three-year conflict and economic problems.
Prime Minister Barkat Gourat Hamadou, one of the architects of the peace agreement, was among six ministers who retained their posts, but his mandate was strengthened to include development.
The finance and economy portfolios were combined in one ministry under Mohamed Ali Mohamed, economy minister in the outgoing government.
The port and maritime affairs ministry was integrated in the transport ministry under Salah Omar Hildid, former chief administrator of Djibouti town. Four other newcomers joined the government.
Mohamed Moussa Chehem took over the foreign affairs and international cooperation ministry. He was minister of planning, lands and cooperation in the outgoing cabient.
He replaced Abdo Bolock Abdo who appointed to the youth, sports and cultural affairs portfolio.
DJIBOUTI TEACHERS END STRIKE
(Reuter 7 May 95)
DJIBOUTI - Trade union leaders and education ministry officials reached agreement in Djibouti on Sunday to end a week-long strike of an estimated 1,000 primary school teachers, the ministry said.
The teachers had demanded better working conditions and benefits -including the continuation of traditional free housing.
About 30,000 schoolchildren affected by the strike are expected to go back to school on Monday.
** ECONOMICS AND DEVELOPMENT AID **
GOOD PORT AUTHORITY RESULTS
(ION 15 Apr 95, p.7)
Despite a decline of 25 percent in first-half 1994, activities of Djibouti Port Authority over the whole year were down only 4 percent on 1993 figures, with 1.3 million tons of freight handled (including 350,000 million tons of petroleum products). An analysis by the French embassy's trade counsellor said that port traffic had been maintained at that level thanks to the development of terminal container operations, the increase of transshipments (60 percent of port activites), and the recent spate of exports from neighbouring Ethiopia. However, imports dropped off 21 percent, with a good part of the international food aid sent to Ethiopia moving through the Eritrean port of Assab, the embassy man reported. Keeping the port authority's activities up to a sound economic level is clearly linked to its role as a gateway for Ethiopia, and perhaps also due to a recent partnership agreement signed with the port authorities of Nantes and St Nazaire in France.
[ION editorial comment:] Djibouti port authority's bete noire remains its heavy debt, following a loan (for the equivalent of FF.90 million) made by Italy where the first repayments fall due this year, although the Authority is trying to have the timetable rescheduled. French observers consider that a number [of] projects under the third phase of the port authority's development being financed by Kuwait are non- priority matters which will nevertheless add their weight to the port authority's debts.
FRENCH AID TO REPAIR SEWERAGE SYSTEM
(ION 22 Apr 95, p.7)
Caisse Francaise de Developpement has signed a financial protocol worth some FFr.22 million with the Djibouti government for sewerage work in Djibouti. The project covers 58 hectares in one of the most densely populated districts of Djibouti Old Town: 4.5 km of sewerage collectors will be built or repaired, with the nearby rail track being displaced over a distance of 270 metres while the work is carried out.
A WEE STEP WITH THE IMF
(ION 13 May 95, p.5)
Djibouti's council of ministers of April 30 decided to slash 798 million Djibouti francs (FFr. 26.6 million) from the state expenditure budget as from July first, and undertook to take measures to increase public revenues. The decisions stem from the recommendations of a mission from the International Monetary Fund which visited Djibouti at the end of April to present its comments on the document drafted by the Djibouti authorities for a conference of fund donors planned to be held in Geneva (ION No. 668). The council also postponed this conference until the month of October, although it had originally been planned for last April and had already been postponed once.
[ION editorial comment:] The French authorities were considering the conference to be a premature initiative so long as Djibouti was refusing to negotiate with the IMF, whose recommendations were the traditional ones (control of government expenditure, demobilization of the armed forces, increase in public revenues). An IMF delegation is expected to go to Djibouti again in June, to go more deeply into discussion on this subject. But already observers have noted a change in the attitude of head of state Hassan Gouled who is believed to have at last come round to the idea of negotiations after having refused them for a long time. Nevertheless, the country's public finances are in a parlous state...
DJIBOUTI JOINS WTO
(Reuter 31 May 95)
GENEVA - Ten new members, all poorer states from the African region, joined the new World Trade Organisation on Wednesday, bringing its total membership to 96.
The latest admissions, approved at a session of the WTO's ruling General Council, were Botswana, Central African Republic, Djibouti, Guinea Bissau, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Maldives, Mauritania and Togo...
The WTO, launched on January 1, is replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) which had 126 members.
The WTO is eventually expected to include 150 countries.
SAUDI ARABIA ALLOCATES 5M DOLLARS FOR INFRASTRUCTURE AND
SCHOOLS (SWB 6 Jun 95 [RFI in French, 31 May 95])
Saudi Arabia has allocated to Jibuti funds worth 1bn Jibuti francs, or 5m dollars, to finance infrastructure work and to buy equipment for schools, France Internationale Radio reported.
** E R I T R E A **
ARDU - Afar Revolutionary Democratic Union
ARDUF - Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front
CERA - Commission for Eritrean Refugee Affairs
CRS - Catholic Relief Secretariat
ECE - Evangelical Church of Eritrea
EDLM - Eritrean Democratic Liberation Movement
EDM - Eritrean Democratic Movement
ELF - Eritrean Liberation Front
ELF-RC - ELF-Revolutionary Council
ELF-UO - ELF-Unity Organisation
EPLF Eritrean People's Liberation Front
ERRA - Eritrean Relief and Rehabilitation Association
ERD - Emergency Relief Desk
PFDJ - People's Front for Democracy and Justice
PGE - Provisional Government of Eritrea
PROFERI - Programme for Refugee Reintegration and
Rehabilitation of Resettlement Areas in Eritrea
** DOMESTIC AFFAIRS **
ERITREA AND DEMOCRACY
(ANB 15 Apr 95 [Sunday Standard, Kenya, 19 Mar 95])
In a recent interview President Afweki was asked about political pluralism in Eritrea. The President replied: "Let me answer in this way: we have a saying in our tradition, `your shoe has to fit the size of your feet'. I have for a long time heard about this talk of political pluralism in Africa. But need we buy that thinking wholesale? My personal feeling is that you have got to scrutinize the implications of imposing alien political ideals onto your people. We cannot, as Africans, afford to be fooled by big banner headlines of multi-partyism in Africa. Of course we would like to have democracy and democratic institutions, diversity in thinking and dissenting views at every cadre of our socio- political life. But that does not mean that we import gadgets from outside and experiment with them on our societies... As of now, all Eritreans, within and without the country, share that common preoccupation of ensuring Eritrea's economic take-off. We will allow all to contribute and participate in all facets of our national life."
ERITREA PUTS LIBERTY ON HOLD IN RUSH TO BUILD A NEW COUNTRY (Guardian via RBB 23 May 95, by Alan Zarembo) Asmara--On a bustling street in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, it is easy to miss Yoel Afworki's shop. A metal garage door blocks the storefront. A faded sign reads: "Closed by administration of the police."
Like other Jehovah's Witnesses, Mr Afworki, aged 24, refused to fight in Eritrea's liberation war against Ethiopia, abstained in the 1993 independence referendum and shunned national service.
"I'm not against the government, I'm against politics," he explains. "If I enter politics, I will make enemies."
He has. In December, the government stripped the Witnesses of citizenship. They can no longer hold government jobs, or Eritrean passports.
The crackdown shows a hidden side of Africa's newest nation: a government dedicated to a Singaporean- style of control, and a society so fiercely nationalistic after a 30-year war that few people object.
Few Eritreans sympathise with the Witnesses. Berhane Araia, aged 52, was jailed three times under Mengistu Haile Mariam, the Ethiopian dictator his brother died fighting. "Our people struggled, sending their blood and bones for freedom," Mr Araia says. "The Jehovah's Witnesses never sent anybody. They refused to struggle for their country."
Four years after their victory, Eritreans are rebuilding with the same perseverance, sacrifice and discipline with which they won the war.
It seems an African anomaly. The average income is among the lowest in the world yet refuse trucks stop at most homes in the capital twice a week. New red buses cruise the streets. People can walk after dark without fear of crime.
There is a reason why there are no beggars. A few miles from the centre of Asmara, 400 people are held in what was once a tuberculosis clinic. The 1994 United States Human Rights Report calls it ostensibly a facility for beggars, the homeless and mentally ill. Inside are ragged and deformed people, some hunched naked in the gloomy hallways.
One Western diplomat called Eritrea's new leaders "control freaks". They respond to such criticism with disdain. During the war, Eritreans abroad funded the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF). The West refused to help. The former Soviet Union backed Mengistu's murderous campaign.
President Isaias Afwerki vows that the constitution now being drafted will allow opposition parties which are not based on ethnicity or religion. There is little open debate and no private newspapers, although the government says a new bill will call for mixed ownership of the media. Presidential and parliamentary elections are promised by 1997.
For now, the only political party is the People's Front for Democracy and Justice, as the EPLF was renamed last year.
It is doubtful that the government would face any serious opposition even if other parties were tolerated, and the cabinet is balanced between Christians and Muslims.
The most serious risk to stability now comes from fighters who need jobs. In the last two years, 40,000 soldiers have been demobilised. About 10,000 more will follow this year. Veterans are national heroes, but respect alone cannot satisfy them...
NINETY-ONE "CRIMINALS" GIVEN AMNESTY TO MARK INDEPENDENCE DAY
(SWB 23 May 95 [VBME in Tigrigna, 20 May 95])
The Ministry of Internal Affairs, today said that the Eritrean
government has declared an amnesty for 91 criminals who were
the stooges of the colonial regime on the occasion marking
Eritrea's Independence Day. The ministry in its statement said
that the government was releasing the criminals taking into
consideration the prevailing peace, stability and the
responsibilities of a citizen in the rehabilitation and
reconstruction of the nation...
PRESIDENT ANNOUNCES HUGE CUT IN CIVIL SERVICE
(SWB 6 May 95 [VBME in Tigrigna, 3 May 95])
A statement issued by the Office of the President regarding the restructuring, strengthening and salary scale of the civil service:
It is well understood that building a nation, managing the nation's economy properly and improving people's living standards requires an appropriate administrative system...
The government of the state of Eritrea has been investigating ways of establishing a positive and productive government and government institutions. To enable the government to deliver all that is expected of it, it should have a devoted, competent, able, productive and well-paid civil service...
On the basis of the recommendations made by the task force, all ministries and government institutions will be restructured again. Out of around 30,000 civil servants, including those in the education and health ministries, about 10,000 staff will be subject to retrenchment from the civil service. Out of these 10,000, about 6,500 people, who are not combatants, will be subject to retrenchment after receiving six months'pay. The remaining combatants [about 3,500] will, after the necessary screening, either be redeployed in the Ministry of Internal Affairs or Defence - because these two ministries are not affected by this new restructuring process - or they will be demobilized...
[Dated] 2nd May 1995.
ERITREA TO HAVE SIX ADMINSTRATIVE REGIONS
(EP 20 May 95)
The National Assembly yesterday resolved that Eritrea will henceforth have six administrative regions. At its 6th regular session on 19th May 1995, the Assembly took note of the following historical facts:
* The former division of the country into 8 administrative regions during Italian rule, 5 under the British administration and 9 under Ethiopian rule; * The aim of all these moves was to serve the interests of the authorities of the day; specifically that of "divide and rule" policy;
* The administrative systems that existed over the past four years were not in tune with the prevailing freedom and sovereignty nor were they in conformity with our future aspirations and goals. In fact, these systems were a hinderance to our cherished objectives as a free people;
* The new administrative structure needs to serve the nation's reconstruction programs and promote the new political order we plan to institute.
According to the new Assembly resolution, Eritrea will have the following administrative regions:
Region 1 - The area extending from Ras Dumera in the south to Tio district in the north, with Assab as its capital.
Region 2 - The area from Marsa Fatma district in the south to Ras Kasar in the north including the sea coast and the islands; this region also incorporates most parts of Sahel, and the eastern parts of Akeleguzai, Hamasien and Senhit, with Massawa as its adminstrative center.
Region 3 - Most part of Senhit, northern part of Barka and some parts of Sahel and northern Hamasien, Keren being its capital.
Region 4 - The whole of Gash-Setit, most part of Barka and western parts of Hamasien and Seraye, with Barentu as its capital.
Region 5 - Most parts of Akeleguzai and Seraye as well as southern Hamasien, with Mendefera as the adminstrative center.
Region 6 - Asmara and the area within 20 to 30km radius, Asmara being its capital.
CCE'S CIVIC EDUCATION PROGRAM DESCRIBED EFFECTIVE
(EP 13 May 95)
The Constitutional Commission of Eritrea has completed the four-month civic education program which makes up the second phase of its task. This was disclosed at a meeting jointly chaired by CCE Executive Council members, Ato Zemhret Yohannes and Ato Mussa Hassen Naib, and attended by members of civic education committees (CECs) from all provinces. Participants at the meeting held last Saturday at Asmara Chamber of Commerce assessed the results of the more than one thousand seminars conducted all over the country which over half a million people attended. CEC members said they were convinced that the program had attracted large numbers including those who live in remote areas. Though the participation of women in the seminars was minimal, the meeting concluded that the overall effort of the CECs was succesful.
At a provincial and sub-provincial level the CCE has established a total of 73 Civic Education Committees.
The first phase of the task of the CCE was to organize the structures of the Commission and to conduct introductory seminars. Its second phase, which consisted of conducting Civic Education seminars, has just been completed. The third, and most important, phase will consist on distributing information on constitutional issues for public debate. The last phase is to propose the final draft of the document to the approving body.
ERITREAN NATIONALIST HERO DIES AGED 90
(SWB 17 May 95 [VBME in Tigrigna, 15 May 95])
Veteran politician and founding member of the Eritrean nationalist movement, Wolde Ab Wolde Mariam, 90, died on 15th May in a hospital in Asmara, Eritrean radio reported.
The government has announced that 16th May will be a national day of mourning, it said.
CHURCH KEEPING PACE WITH TIMES
(DM April-June 95, p.11)
Abune Menkerios, head of the Eritrean Orthodox Church, is set to modernize the ecclesiastical administration "within the framework of tradition". Elections are planned for the first Eritrean patriarch to be consecrated by the Coptic Pope. But first a constitution is to be drafted for the Eritrean Church as are salary scales, pensions and regulations for ordination. The Abune also wants to see seminaries established with modern curriculum aimed at building a Church for the contemporary world.
** REINTEGRATION AND AGRICULTURE **
HOMES FOR RETURNEES
(DM April-June 95, p.7)
The Commission for Eritrean Refugee Affairs (CERA) and the Norwegian Redd Barna have begun work on a project to build 300 houses for returnee families in Sahel province. The 1 million birr project is scheduled for completion in three months...
(DM April-June 95, p.9)
War veterans, returning refugees and internally war and famine displaced people have recently finished a six- month course in Keren. Subjects offered included pottery, iron-melting, mechanics, typing, dressmaking and sewing. The l98 participants, who included 91 women, were given 400 birr a month wage to enable them to take part in the OBS funded training scheme which was run in cooperation with CERA.
(EP 6 May 95, by Jacky Sutton)
"Promoting the Reintegration of Former Female and Male
Combatants in Eritrea' was the title of a recent report prepared by a team from the German Development Institute (GDI) which analyzed the [activities of Mitias], the ERRA department dealing with Reintegration of ex-fighters, and the contributions made by donors. It represents a timely intervention in the national reconstruction process.
The report was introduced by Dr. Nerayo Teklemichael, the director of ERRA. He pointed out that donors had been slow to contribute to the reintegration of the demobilized ex- fighters. This, he said, not only affected their estimated 12,000 dependents but also meant that a valuable resource was in danger of being wasted. Of the estimated $48 million needed for reintegration, he noted, just $8 million has been pledged by donors. It soon became clear that the root cause of problems faced by ex-fighters was money; lack of money was complicated by lack of skills and changing social contexts...
The report highlighted seven areas where the potential for effective intervention was being held back. These concerned the institutional capacity of Mitias itself; the situation for women ex-fighters, the development of small scale enterprises, the exploitation of agriculture and marine resources, vocational training and the situation of disabled ex-fighters. It then gave a comparative analysis of the reintegration experiences of other sub-Saharan African countries and made recommendations to the reintegration program and to donors.
Mitias employs 20 staff members in Asmara and 45 people in the provinces. The overwhelming majority are ex-fighters...
As the egalitarian, non-monetized society of the field disintegrates, said the report, ex-fighters are least able to cope. The counselling capacity of Mitias was overstretched and the burden would grow. They recommended the counselling unit in Mitias to include at least one woman. The issue of women ex- fighters was defined as one of Mitias' priorities in 1995.
The report argued for a two-pronged strategy involving consideration of women's issues in general and affirmative action. Access to projects could be improved if adequate childcare was provided; quotas for projects were set (a figure of 30% was cited, reflecting the proportion of women in the armed struggle); appropriate training was given; and the management of projects was less male-dominated. It also pointed out that Mitias can play a vanguard role in introducing new income-generating activities to women and raising women's self-confidence and public awareness.
Disabled ex-combatants endure harder conditions concerning jobs, housing, transport and health than their former combatants, said the report... About 3, 000 severely disabled need permanent help, of which the majority still live in a temporary camp...
Eritrea, concluded the report, has taken a positive approach towards the process of demobilization and rehabilitation, in fact, the best approach in Sub Saharan experience so far. It said Eritrea has several advantages over other African countries implementing demobilization and reintegration schemes. Self-reliance, respect from and of their society, commitment and victory are assets that cannot be wasted. In order to capitalize on these comparative advantages, donors and government institutions must coordinate their efforts and focus on putting their skills to work for their benefit and for the good of society as a whole.
ALIGIDIR AGRICULTURAL PROJECT
(EP 13 May 95)
Preparations are in full swing to reap a bountiful harvest from the Aligidir Agricultural Project this year, according to the project's manager, Ato Gebremeskel Hailu. The farming plots are being readied for cultivation, fertilizers applied and related measures put in place. Besides, anti-pest devices to protect cotton plantations have been arranged and plans finalized to build storehouse facilities.
Last year, the Aligidir Agricultural Project had a harvest of 43,000 quintals of cotton as well as 22,000 and 77,000 quintals of sorghum and sunflower respectively.
2000 hectares of planted land at Alighidir Agricultural Development Project will be distributed on May 26 to 1000 ex- fighters demobilized in the second phase, according to Ato Tekle Mengistu from the Office of Rehabilitating Demobilized Fighters (ORDF).
Each demobilized fighter will be given 2 hectares of planted land by the Ministry of Agriculture and a one-year food ration by the Eritrean Relief and Rehabilitation Agency (ERRA).
Ato Tekle pointed out that those settlers who proved to be hard working in this production season will get additional farm land for the next season.
COMBATING DESERTIFICATION, URGENT MEASURES FOR AFRICA
(EP 29 Apr 95, by Idris Awad)
A two-day workshop on April 20 - 21 discussed the implementation of the UN Convention on Combating Desertification and the resolution on urgent measures to be taken for Africa.
Over 100 people from Eritrean ministries, humanitarian organizations and local and provincial administrations participated in the workshop. Also present was an expert from the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development. The objective of the workshop was to examine precautionary measures and information gathering to combating and confront desertification in Eritrea...
The workshop was held in the context of the current efforts to combat drought and desertification in the greater Horn of Africa and the continent in general. These endeavours enjoy the backing and financial support of the UN...
Actions at national level since October, 1994 are:
* Eritrea signed the UN Convention on Combating Desertification (CCD) in Paris on 14 October, 1994
* Eritrea appointed a national focal point for the CCD. This is the coordinating body of the National Environmental Management Plan (NEMP-E)
* Eritrea collects and collates information on drought and desertification in Eritrea, a process which started with the initiation of the NEMP-E
* Concerned bodies discussed drought and desertification with local people in a search for approaches to these problems
* There are preparations for national awareness days to combat desertification in Eritrea.
** FOREIGN RELATIONS **
NEW PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF ERITREA PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
TO UN (UNIC 11 Apr 95 [UN document BIO/2948, 10 Apr 95])
Amdemicael Kahsai, the new Permanent Representative of Eritrea, presented his credentials today to Secretary-General Boutros Boutros-Ghali. Simultaneous with his United Nations posting, Mr. Kahsai will serve as Ambassador to the United States....
OAU OFFERS TO MEDIATE IN ERITREA-SUDAN DISPUTE
(SWB 14 Apr 95 [KNA news agency, Nairobi, in English 12 Apr
95]) Text of report by the Pan-African news agency, PANA, carried by the Kenyan news agency KNA on 12th April
Khartoum, Sudan [no date, as received]: The Organization of African Unity (OAU) has offered to mediate the rift between Sudan and Eritrea that has resulted in the cutting off of diplomatic ties, PANA reported yesterday.
Diplomatic ties between the two neighbouring states were cut off late last year after Eritrea accused Sudan of harbouring Muslim fundamentalist rebels trying to topple its government...
ECONOMIC AGREEMENT WITH ETHIOPIA
(SWB 18 Apr 95 [REE in English, 7 Apr 95])
Prime Minister Tamirat Layne has said that the joint agreement recently signed between Ethiopia and Eritrea is a landmark for upholding the common interests of the peoples of the two countries. Prime Minister Tamirat, who chaired the recent high-level joint ministerial conference and signed the agreement on the Ethiopian side, indicated that the joint meeting has laid the basis for the attainment of long-term objectives.
He said the signing of the free trade zone agreement to promote cooperation between the peoples of the two countries in the trading sector in particular and the consensus reached after re-evaluating the documents previously agreed upon are important achievements...
Eritrea's vice-president, Muhammad Ahmad Sharifo, also made a statement expressing his satisfaction with the joint agreement. He reaffirmed the readiness of his government and the people to make unreserved efforts for their implementation.
ERITREA AND THE BIRR
(AA 21 Apr 95, p.16)
Foreign currency is still scarce in Asmara, although the city's private shops are well-stocked with consumer luxuries imported from abroad. The parallel market is quiet and many of the shipments arriving at the docks in Assab are financed by traders overseas or by expatriate Eritreans.
Official exports do not generate much revenue - a mere Br 180m ($30.2m) in the year to last June. But private transfers, mainly in the form of remittances from the large Eritrean diaspora in the Gulf and the US, reached almost Br lbn.
Yet even with funds flowing into the country on such a large unofficial scale, there is still an underlying thirst for dollars here...
The slow progress of separating the statistics on Eritrea from those of the old unified Ethiopia is far from complete and it is not yet possible to get reliable data on the money supply. However, interest rates are lower than those in Ethiopia. A good customer of the Commercial Bank here could reasonably hope to borrow overdraft funds at less than 8%, compared with more than 12% in Ethiopia.
Both countries share the same currency - the birr - and deposit funds seem to have been seeping out of Eritrea into its larger neighbour.
However, the monetary authorities are confident that capital inflows will compensate for this trend. Their vision of Eritrea as a regional trade and services hub requires exchange rate flexibility and the question of abandoning the Ethiopian birr in favor of an independent national currency is now firmly on the agenda...
NON-ALIGNED MOVEMENT AGREES TO ADMIT ERITREA AS NEW MEMBER
(Jakarta Post via RBB 22 Apr 95, by Meidyatama Suryodiningrat)
BANDUNG: Senior officials of the Non-Aligned Movement agreed yesterday to admit the newly independent African state of Eritrea into the organization.
"Eritrea has been officially instated as the next newest member," said NAM's chief executive assistant Nana Sutresna at the end of the first day of NAM's senior official meeting. "So now the total number of members is 112."...
JAPAN TO PROVIDE AID TO ERITREA
(Jiji Press Newswire via RBB 8 May 95)
Tokyo - Japan will provide economic assistance to Eritrea to help build the newly independent country, Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Yohei Kono said Monday afternoon.
Kono made the pledge in a meeting with his Eritrean counterpart Petros Solomon at the Foreign Ministry...
MINING - A NEW BATTLE-ZONE FOR RIGHTS
(AED 10 Apr 95, by Francis Kokutse)
Once a killing field, Eritrea has now become a treasure battle-ground. The new found peace has created the environment for investors' interest.
The interest generated has made some of the former fighters regret the years they spent fighting, which according to a former member of the Eritrean Liberation Front (ELF) "did not give us any substantial benefit."...
With independence came the realisation that the country is the poorest country in Africa with an annual income of between $75-$150 per head.
Underneath this poverty is the fact that Eritrea has a collection of natural resources that await study and exploitation. The country's historians say copper ore and gold were mined from the Eritrean plateau before the arrival of the Italians whom they said continued to exploit these resources. The liberalisation war brought to an end all efforts to explore and exploit these resources.
Independence and the end of the armed conflict turned the attention of foreign mining companies to Eritrea.
Mining analysts in London said there is no longer the fear of entering Eritrea and this new found peace has enabled the country to attract investors to exploit its gold mines which according to local folkore were the site of legendary King Solomon's mines.
So far, about 20 companies including Western Mining, BHP, CRA, Anglo American Ashanti and Billiton are known to be preparing their bids for approval to operate in the country...
The problem that is likely to come up is the fact that there are no available data on the geological information, because of the thirty years of civil war. Documentations on former mines and where they are sited as well as prospects remain scanty.
However, the country's mines department claim that prime ground for gold and volvanogenic massive sulphide lies in the country's dominant Neoproterozoic, Pan-African basement.
Mining sources say between 1931 and 1940, the country's 21 mines produced about 1,700 kg of gold. After the second world war, four of these operations produced 1,100 kg from 1953 to 1962. Mining activities then ceased because of the civil unrest that had engulfed the country...
MINING LAW PROMULGATED
(ION 15 Apr 95, p.7)
Eritrea has completed promised new mining legislation by promulgating Mining Proclamation 68/1995, Mining Income Tax Proclamation 69/1995, and Mining Operations Regulations 19/1995. The law declares that "all mineral resources in Eritrea are public property" and recognizes "the sovereign rights of the State to ensure the conservation and development of the mineral resources for the benefit of the people". The Eritrean authorities also admit the importance of private investment: Recognizing the risky nature of mining investment, the Eritrean Mining Law encourages both foreign and local investments by providing a liberal reward for those who venture to explore and mine Eritrea...
ELF AND ACCOR GO PROSPECTING
(ION 3 June 95, p.7)
A delegate of French oil major Elf recently carried a prospecting mission in Eritrea, apparently in the framework of discussions of petroleum exploration permits. French multinational hotel group Accor has been offered a partnership project to build a luxury hotel in Eritrea.
** E T H I O P I A **
AAPO - All Amhamra People's Organisation
ALF - Afar Liberation Front
ARDU - Afar Revolutionary Democratic Union
BPLM - Benishangul People's Liberation Movement
CAFPDE - Council of the Alternative Forces for Peace and
Democracy in Ethiopia
COEDF - Coalition of Ethiopian Democratic Forces
CRDA - Christian Relief and Development Association
ECS - Ethiopian Catholic Secretariat
EDC - Ethiopian Democratic Organization Coalition
EDUP - Ethiopian Democratic Unionist Party
EECMY - Eth. Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus
ENDP - Ethiopian National Democratic Party
EPDA - Ethiopian Peoples' Democratic Alliance
EPDM - Ethiopian People's Democratic Movement
EPRDF - Ethiopian People's Rev. Democratic Front
ESDL - Ethiopian Somali Democratic League
ESDM - Ethiopian Somali Democratic Movement
GDU - Gamo Democratic Union
GPDF - Gurage People's Democratic Front
HPDO - Hadia People's Democratic Organisation
IFLO - Islamic Front for the Liberation of Oromia
IGLF - Issa Gurgura Liberation Front
KPC - Kembata People's Congress
OLF - Oromo Liberation Front
ONLF - Ogaden National Liberation Front
OPDO - Oromo People's Democratic Organisation
ORA - Oromo Relief Association
SEPDC - Southern Ethiopian Peoples Democratic Coalition
SPDO - Sidama People's Democratic Organisation
TPLF - Tigray People's Liberation Front
WSLF - Western Somali Liberation Front
** NATIONAL ELECTION **
OPPOSITION BOWS OUT OF ELECTIONS
(Reuter 5 May 95, by Peter Smerdon)
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia's opposition parties have announced a boycott of the country's first multi- party general election, assuring victory for the ruling coalition.
The ruling Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), which ousted Marxist dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam four years ago, is expected to dominate the new national parliament and regional councils after Sunday's vote.
President Meles Zenawi, the head of the EPRDF, is almost certain to become the new prime minister of an Ethiopia divided into nine ethnically-based federated states with a national parliament.
The restructuring of Ethiopia, giving regions the right to secede if a majority of people vote for it, is a bold political experiment to face up to ethnic divisions that have bedevilled many African states since independence from colonial powers.
The head of an opposition coalition of more than 30 parties on Thursday dismissed Sunday's elections as a sham designed from the start to put back into power the Tigrean victors who finally ousted Mengistu and ended 17-years of harsh rule.
"We don't consider it a democratic election," Beyene Petros, chairman of the opposition Coalition of Alternative Forces for Peace and Democracy in Ethiopia (CAFPDE), told a news conference.
"A democratic election should always have an alternative for the people to choose from. This is an exercise where the same party and its surrogates, given several different names, are seeking a vote of confidence...
"For us to take the slightest part in this would amount to trampling on the democratic ideals of our people," he added.
Beyene leads the Southern Ethiopian People's Democratic Coalition (SEPDC) which in March refused the appeals of Western donors, especially the United States, to join the elections.
Speaking for opposition groups including the main Coalition of Ethiopian Democratic Forces and Oromo Liberation Front (OLF) - both based in exile - Beyene said the polls were an EPRDF farce and more repression of opponents was bound to follow.
Ethiopia, one of the world's poorest countries, has an estimated 55 million people - half below the age of 20...
OVER 1,000 OBSERVERS TO BE DEPLOYED FOR 7TH MAY ELECTIONS (SWB
6 May 95 [RE in English, 4 May 95])
An official of the National Electoral Board [NEB] has said the number of foreign and local election observers to be deployed to the polling stations for next Sunday's [7th May] elections has reached more than 1,000.
Mr Samson Getahun, legal affairs department head of the National Electoral Board, said 884 local and 247 foreign observers are expected to observe Sunday's elections. He said there are also election observers sent by the OAU and the European Economic Community [as heard]. Mr Samson added that observers from America, Britain, France, Norway, Spain, Canada, Austria, Belgium, Russia, the Netherlands, Sweden, Italy, Greece, Finland, Australia, Germany and Japan have collected observers'identification cards from their respective embassies...
WINNER TAKES ALL
(AC 26 May 95, p.5)
Largely peaceful, well organised and fair, said foreign observers disappointed by the shortage of opposition. The main opposition coalition boycotted the polls; parties which stood complained the playing-field was not level. The deadline for registration was extended by two weeks but numbers were down from 22 million in June's Constituent Assembly elections to about 16 million, partly because of the opposition boycott. In Addis Ababa the delay pushed up registration sharply, from 220,000 on 20 April to 566,000 by electon day. Turnout, as in June 1994, was high.
Results were as expected. EPRDF parties and leaders did exceptionally well. In Region Two (Tigray) the Tigray People's Liberation Front took all seats for the regional council and Federal Assembly. President Meles Zenawi, the EPRDF Chairman (who will become executive prime minister when the federal assembly meets) took 27,772 votes in Adua, against a teacher who got 131 votes. The Amhara National Democratic Movement of Tamrat Layne (the transitional government's Premier) swept the board in Region Three (Amhara), with Tamrat himself getting 37,431 votes in his South Gondar constituency. The third main EPRDF party, the Oromo People's Democratic Organisation, had a similar landslide; turnout was said to be over 95 per cent in many Oromo areas.
In Addis Ababa, two of the 23 federal seats went to independents, one an outspoken critic of the EPRDF, Major Adamse Zeleke; the EPRDF took the rest. In the regional council elections, all 92 seats went to the EPRDF, despite the capital's reputation as a centre of opposition. Of the 280 candidates, 71 were independent, 84 were from the opposition Ethiopian National Democratic Party. Observers had expected a few ENDP victories to `demonstrate the point of democratic competition', as one diplomat put it. Most losing candidates publicly welcomed the results but one member of the transitional government's Council of Representatives, Meshesha Birru, who lost in Addis Ababa, complained of intimidation of ENDP members. Other leading figures in the Council of Representatives also failed to get seats, inlcuding its Vice- Chairman, Fekadu Gedamu, and Secretary, Tesfaye Habiso...
PRESIDENT MELES ON ATTEMPTS TO INVOLVE OPPOSITION PARTIES IN
(SWB 30 May 95 [RE in Amharic, 27 May 95])
Excerpts from recorded news conference, broadcast by Ethiopian radio on 27th May, given by President Meles Zenawi to mark the fourth anniversary of the seizure of power by the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, EPRDF
[Meles] ... According to what was said earlier, it was only the EPRDF who contested the elections. However, we tried our level best to ensure that the opposition forces took part in the elections. We had several rounds of talks with the opposition forces abroad in the presence of foreign mediators. Some of them said they were ready to take part in talks but, in the end, they backed out. But the rest, right from the start, said they were not willing to take part in the elections. You can take a horse to water, but I do not think that you can force it to drink. The forum was open to all. Those who wanted to take part in the forum did so, but you cannot force those who refuse to take part in the forum, and if you try to persuade them it will be undemocratic. Therefore, those who refused to take part in the process might perhaps change their minds and try again next time, so I cannot say much.
However, the recent elections were not contested by the EPRDF alone. There were independent candidates and they were strong contenders and in some areas they even won... Besides, there were also political parties who contested the elections, and some were successful. Therefore, we cannot say that there was no opposition at all. The widely known opposition forces abroad did not contest the elections. The government tried its best. And the government cannot do anything when they refuse to take part in the process of their own volition and by their own decision...
Regarding the transition of power, the procedures for handing over power to the new government are clearly stated in the constitution. First, elections for federal parliamentary seats should take place in all regions. Elections for the regional councils should also take place in all regions. After the conclusion of the federal and regional council elections, the two councils will then elect the head of state and the prime minister of the country. Then the new government can be formed. That is when the handing over of power can take place. With the delay and postponement of elections in some regions, we can assume that the process of handing over power may be delayed as well...
The EPRDF will have a majority in the next parliament. But, out of the nine regions in Ethiopia, five are under [the control of] other organizations or parties. So, in practical terms, it is very difficult to say that, in the next five years, the country will be governed by one party. Federal government will be in the hands of the EPRDF, which will also govern in areas it won, including Addis Ababa, but the rest of the country will not be under the EPRDF's administration in the next five years...
OAU SAYS ELECTIONS FREE AND FAIR
(Reuter 15 May 95)
ADDIS ABABA - The Organization of African Unity (OAU) said on Monday that landmark elections held in Ethiopia a week ago, which were largely boycotted by opposition parties, were free and fair...
DATE SET FOR ELECTION IN REGIONS TWO, FIVE, AND 13
(SWB 1 Jun 95 [RE in Amharic, 30 May 95])
The elections for the parliamentary and regional councils in Regions Two, Five and 13 have been set for 11th Sene 1987 [Ethiopian calendar: equivalent to 18th June 1995]. The Ethiopian National Electoral Board set the date for the elections in those regions during an extraordinary meeting today after ascertaining that the neutral election officials it had deployed had started their work...
ONLF ALLOWED TO REGISTER FOR ELECTIONS
(Reuter 5 Jun 95)
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia said it would allow the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) party to register for elections to be held in the ethnic Somali region on June 18, state radio reported on Monday.
The National Electoral Board instructed polling officials to allow ONLF candidates to register to run in polls for both the national parliament and regional assembly.
The move follows an extraordinary congress of the ONLF last month at which the party dissolved its entire central committee and set up a new body, accusing exiled members of warlike attitudes.
The ONLF has in the past clashed with national troops from the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF)-led government...
** ETHNIC REGIONS **
WHO'S WHERE IN ETHIOPIA
(AC 14 Apr 95, p.3)
Some of Ethiopia's regions have changed during the last year. There are now ten regions instead of the previous 14. The regions and their capitals are the following:
Region 1--Tigray; capital, Mekelle.
Region 2--Afar; capital, Asaita.
Region 3--Amhara; capital, Bahir Dar.
Region 4--Oromo; capital, Addis Ababa.
Region 5--Somali; capital, Jijiga.
Region 6--Benshagul; capital, Asosa.
Region 10--Southern Ethiopia People's Administration; capital, Awasa.
Region 12--Gambela; capital, Gambela.
Region 13--Harar; capital, Harar.
Region 14--Addis Ababa.
The `Bantu' areas that constituted Regions 7-11 (Gurage/Hadiya/Kembata; Sidama; Wolaita; Omo; Keffa) now form Region 10. Harar is a small city state of some 40,000 people. Addis Ababa is a separate region and the federal capital but is also the capital of Oromo. The Agau areas are now included in Amhara.
INSECURITY IN OGADEN REGION
(ION 3 Jun 95, p.5)
A vehicle escorted by government military and carrying a team from the Western Gode Water Works Project is reported to have been attacked by rebels in Ogaden Region (Region Five, Somali) two weeks ago. One employee, Shek Ahmed, was reported wounded but government troops apparently killed one attacker. Eyewitness accounts reaching Addis Ababa from Gode say that local civil servants feel so insecure that some are considering abandoning their jobs and returning to Addis even if this means their being unemployed.
NEW DEAL FOR AFARS
(ION 3 Jun 95, p.2)
The Afar Democratic Movement founded in Addis Ababa in February by Ahmed Mohamed Ahaw, a son of the Sultan of Biru in the north-western Danakil region, has changed the whole political landscape in Ethiopia's region Two (Afar) and on into Afar regions of Eritrea.
Three Afar movements of different importance have co-existed on the Eritrean-Ethiopian border since the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) took power in Addis Ababa in 1991. The most important, Afar Liberation Front headed by the ageing sultan Ali Mirah, collaborated with Ethiopia's central regime while still keeping some independence. But today ALF is split by dissension between the sultan and his son Anfareh (ION No. 670) and again between Anfareh and his brothers. EPRDF had favoured the emergence of a second movement, Afar People's Democratic Organization, originally called Afar Democratic Union and set up in Tigre during the l990s. Afar Democratic Union had decided at a Mekele congress in February 1992 to rename itself Afar People's Democratic Organisation and to become a component part of EPRDF, but it never really caught on in the Afar region. The third piece of the jigsaw, Afar Revolutionary Democratic Union headed by Mahamooda Gaas, seems to be better established on Eritrean territory and is calling for autonomy of the Danakil region from the Asmara government (ION No. 498).
The missing piece is the survivors of Ugugumo (for Revolution), an extreme-left Afar Group which initially entertained a tumultuous relationship with the Ethiopian revolution of l974 before becoming the "pilot fish" of the autonomous Afar region set up in l987 under the administrative reforms of former head of state Mengistu Haile Mariam. This current of political thought "vanished" following the collapse of the Mengistu regime but has now resurfaced in modified form through Afar Democratic Movement...
** HUMAN RIGHTS **
ETHIOPIA WANTS GENOCIDE CHARGES UPHELD IN TRIAL
(Reuter 23 May 95, by Tsegaye Tadesse)
ADDIS ABABA - Ethiopia's chief prosecutor appealed on Tuesday to the Central High Court to uphold charges of genocide and murder against former members of the Marxist junta which took power in the 1974 revolution.
The court reconvened after a two-month break to allow prosecutor Girma Wakjira to prepare arguments against the 33 defence lawyers representing the 47 "dergue" members on trial.
Twenty-two of the defendants are being tried in absentia, including Mengistu Haile Mariam, the dictator who was ousted by guerrilla forces in May 1991 and now lives in exile in Zimbabwe.
The court adjourned again until October 10, saying it needed time to study a 46-page document presented by the prosecutor which rejects objections by the defence against the charges. The trial started last December...
ACCOUNTABILITY PAST AND PRESENT: HUMAN RIGHTS IN TRANSITION
(AI April 95, AFR 25/06/95)
The Ethiopian authorities are prosecuting officials of the former government for gross human rights violations, but the Transitional Government has not acted with equal determination against abuses by its own forces...
The Transitional Government took on the crucial task of bringing to justice officials of the former government responsible for gross human rights violations. The trials have started after long delays and will continue for some years. If they are fair and do not result in executions - which are themselves violations of human rights - they will send a message to all perpetrators of human rights violations that they cannot expect impunity and will be held accountable for their actions.
However, the transitional period has also seen many new abuses of human rights. Thousands of opponents of the Transitional Government were detained without charge or trial between 1992 and 1994. The majority have now been released but there are still hundreds of political detainees. Some political prisoners have possibly been given unfair trials; as more detainees are being brought to court this is of growing concern. Some detainees are prisoners of conscience, including journalists and members of non-violent opposition parties.
Dozens of government opponents have "disappeared". People have been held in secret detention centres, and torture has been inflicted on suspected members of opposition groups. A number of defenceless civilians have been shot dead by the security forces. Abuses have also been committed by armed opposition groups.
The Transitional Government has not been consistent in its approach to accountability for human rights abuses. It has not done enough to stop and prevent human rights violations, especially in the context of the Oromo Liberation Front's continuing armed opposition. The international community too has paid insufficient attention to continuing reports of violations. The important message of the trials of former officials will be undermined unless decisive action is taken to stop human rights violations perpetrated by those in power now...
This summarizes a 58-page document (23,360 words), Ethiopia: Accountability past and present: human rights in transition (AI Index: AFR 25/06/95), issued by Amnesty International in April 1995. Anyone wanting further details or to take action on this issue should consult the full document.
/HAB/ For more information, contact Amnesty International, International Secretariat, 1 Easton Street, London WC1X 8DJ, UK or send an email to Ray Mitchell (firstname.lastname@example.org).
ETHIOPIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL REPORT DISQUALIFIED BY SWISS AMBASSADOR (NNS Feb-Mar 95)
A report entitled "Democracy, Rule of Law and Human Rights in Ethiopia - Rhetoric and Practice", has been produced by the Ethiopian Human Rights Council. The report aims to outline the state of human rights in Ethiopia since Imperial times.
In a strongly worded letter, the Swiss Ambassador who had funded the project distances the Government of Switzerland from the findings and criticises the report because it fails to "let the facts speak for themselves without portraying them as sinister machinations of an entire political structure." He also states "the EHRCO may not question a government's good or bad faith but only judge it factually by its legislation ... and by its mode of implementation of any such law. Any attempt to generally disqualify a government whose activities you are determined to monitor, will only disqualify your organisation as what you want it to be: a non-partisan, factual and constructively critical watch-post".
The EHRCO held a press conference subsequent to the letter's publication where it announced that it would respond to the criticism in writing.
** REGIONAL RELATIONS **
/HAB/ For Ethiopian--Eritrean relations, see p. 9.
ETHIOPIA DEMANDS IMMEDIATE RELEASE OF KIDNAPPED DIPLOMAT
(SWB 12 Apr 95 [RE in Amharic, 10 Apr 95])
The Ethiopian charge d'affaires in Somalia has been kidnapped from his Mogadishu home. The Ethiopian government has called for the immediate release of the diplomat. According to the Foreign Ministry, the diplomat was kidnapped and taken to an unknown destination by members of Sulayman clan, who had the contraband goods they were trying to bring into Ethiopia intercepted by border patrols around Negele [town in southern Ethiopia] recently...
/HAB/ A ransom of USD 120,000 was demanded by the kidnappers, but on May 1, Mr. Yamani was released, reportedly without any ransom having been paid. Elders, intellectuals and members of the Somali National Alliance obtained the release.
ETHIOPIA, SUDAN END TALKS ON NILE WATERS AND ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES (SWB 22 Apr 95 [Sudan TV, Omdurman, in Arabic 20 Apr 95]) Talks between Sudan and Ethiopia on the issue of the Nile waters and environmental protection ended this afternoon at the Ministry of Irrigation and Water Resources conference hall.
It is worth recalling that the talks lasted a week. A final statement was signed focusing on technical cooperation in hydrological studies, the equitable distribution of the Nile waters, protection of wildlife and forests and the River Nile catchment areas in Ethiopian territory...
MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING SIGNED WITH SUDAN (SWB 6 May 95 [Suna news agency, Khartoum, in Arabic 3 May 95]) [No dateline as received]: Sudan and Ethiopia yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding which provides for the strengthening of relations between the two countries, the consolidation of bilateral cooperation and the implementation of the agreements concluded between the two sides at [various] times.
Mr Abd al-Wahhab Ahmad Hamzah, minister of state at the finance ministry, signed on behalf of the Sudanese side and Mr Abdullah al-Basha [as received: listed as Adiala Basha], Ethiopian [vice] minister of trade and finance [signed on behalf of Ethiopia]...
As for Mr Abdullah al-Basha, the Ethiopian [vice] minister of trade, he said his country was keen to strengthen and develop relations with Sudan and to overcome all obstacles hampering the implementation of previous agreements.
RWANDA'S BIZIMUNGU VISITS ETHIOPIA
(Reuter 15 May 95)
ADDIS ABABA - Rwandan President Pasteur Bizimungu arrived in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Monday for talks with Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi, the state Ethiopia News Agency (ENA) reported.
Ethiopia is among the few African countries with troops serving as a peacekeeping force under the United Nations in Rwanda.
It was not clear how long Bizimungu planned to stay in Ethiopia or what the subject of talks with Meles would be.
** INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS **
DENIAL OF TOURIST VISAS TO ETHIOPIAN PILGRIMS LEADS TO DIPLOMATIC CRISIS
(SWB 10 Apr 95 [Voice of Israel external service, Jerusalem, in English 8 Apr 95]) Israel is refusing to give tourist visas to Ethiopian pilgrims after it emerged that hundreds of them did not go back to their country.
The problem has intensified on the eve of Easter when, normally, large numbers of Ethiopian pilgrims arrive. The issue is leading to a crisis between the Israeli and Ethiopian governments. The Ethiopians claim Israel is preventing freedom of worship and access to the holy places in Jerusalem. Interior Minister Baram and Deputy Foreign Minister Beilin are dealing with the problem.
RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY WANTS RIGHT TO SELL ARMS
(Reuter 4 May 95)
MOSCOW - Russian Defence Minister Pavel Grachev said on Thursday his ministry should be given the right to sell arms, saying potential buyers were being put off by the current weapons sales system, Interfax news agency said.
Grachev told a government meeting that long-standing foreign clients such as Ethiopia were starting to turn away from Russian arms producers because they had no idea who to order from and who would deliver the weapons.
"The fault lies with the excessive bureaucratic system set up to trade weapons," the agency quoted Grachev as saying...
Russia exported arms and military equipment worth around $1.7 billion in 1994, compared with an average $14 billion a year before the former Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991...
NORWAY'S AMBASSADOR TO ETHIOPIA PRESENTS CREDENTIALS
(ION 13 May 95, p.8)
Norway's first ambassador to Ethiopia to be based in Addis Ababa presented his Letters of Credence to head of state Meles Zenawi at the end of April. Zenawi has called on Norwegian businessmen to invest in Ethiopia's mining sector but ambassador Holmsen has indicated that Norwegian aid will be directed mainly at "promoting a culture of democracy, health matters and family planning, and the management of water resources."...
** FOOD SECURITY **
FRANK DISCUSSION ON THE FAMINE: "TEN YEARS AFTER" MEETING
(NN/africa.horn 9 Apr 95 [NNS])
As part of the national commemoration of the famine a decade ago, IAG [InterAfrica Group] with the Economic Commission for Africa and the Relief and Rehabilitation Commission organised a meeting of Ethiopian and international experts to look at past experiences and discuss possible future strategies for dealing with famine...
Papers presented at the conference are available from NNS as follows: Keynote Address, Prime Minister Tamrat Leyne; Reflections on the 1984-85 famine, Dr Solomon Inquai (for REST); Post famine challenges and the role of the international community, Reginald Herbold Green (Institute of Development Studies, UK); Better late than never, Oxfam's experience in working in famine situations, Odhiambo Anacleti (OXFAM UK); Do we see famine as it is? The experience of people living in TPLF controlled areas during the 1985 famine, Barbara Hendrie (University College, London); Food Security and Response to Famine: the role of the International Community, Melaku Ayelew (RRC); Humanitarianism Unbound (basis for speech), Alex de Waal (African Rights), Causes and Nature of Famine, Berhane Gizaw (former RRC).
/HAB/ Also available from NNS is the "Addis Ababa Statement on Famine in Ethiopia: Learning from the Past to Prepare for the Future", 18 March 1995. For more information contact NNS Co- ordinator, IAG, PO Box 1631, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Tel (+251) 1-518790; Fax (+251) 1-510064; Email: (Vanessa_Sayers@padis.gn.apc.org).
BORDERS FARMERS HELP OUT AFRICAN DROUGHT VICTIMS
(Scotsman via RBB 1 May 95, by William Chisholm) Two farms in the Borders have provided practical lambing experience for an Ethiopian doctor who is involved in his country's fight against famine.
Dr Kassaye Hadgu, who is studying tropical veterinary medicine in Edinburgh, will use the knowledge he gained on the East Nisbet and Dolphinston farms, near Jedburgh, to enhance Ethiopia's dairy goat development project.
The farmers Bob Wager and Sandy Scott are members of Scotland's only branch of Friends of Farm Africa, which was set up in the Borders two years ago by Martin and Ruth Johnson, of Rutherford, Kelso.
The Borders support group has more than 100 members drawn from the farming community and the professions...
The dairy goat development project has so far allowed 1,000 very poor women in Ethiopia to keep dairy goats to produce milk for the family and provide milk and surplus animals for sale.
Dr Kassaye told The Scotsman yesterday: "There has been a drought in my country this year, but the women who have goats were able to remain at home and survive.
"Normally they would have fled to the towns, creating additional problems for the food aid agencies."...
Mr Johnson has visited Ethiopia, where he assisted with food and agricultural research management. He believes that the four Farm Africa projects involving forestry regeneration, dairy goats, a farmers' research scheme and development of sustainable systems, hold the key to the country's future well- being...
SWEDEN BACKS ETHIOPIA'S RURAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN
(Reuter 20 May 95)
ADDIS ABABA - A senior Swedish official on Saturday said his country is drawing up a special programme to assist agriculture in northern Ethiopia...
Bo Goransson, director-general of the Swedish International Development Authority (SIDA), told reporters he had seen first hand what was needed in the northern Wollo region on a five- day trip.
He said liberal economic policies introduced by the government of leader Meles Zenawi had resulted "in a marked improvement of the overall economy of the country".
Sweden has given $1.1 billion to Ethiopia since 1966, aiding health, education and emergency funding for successive governments...
"Ethiopia's new development strategy which makes agricultural development the vehicle for industrialisation is sound," he said...
SHABELLE RIVER FLOODS
(DHA Situation Report DHAGVA - 95/0249, 7 Jun 95)
1. Intense rainfall of early May flooded Shabelle River, causing extensive damage in Kelafo, Mustahil, Ferfer, and Burukur of Gode Zone in Ethiopia's Region 5.
2. Floods killed 27 and affected 93,875 in 168 villages. Serious damage to roads and bridges was reported. Many villages were cut-off for many days.
3. Flood water has receded by now, and emergency phase is generally considered to have passed...
** DEVELOPMENT AND ECONOMIC GROWTH **
ADDIS AIRPORT AID
(ION 22 Apr 95, p.6)
A conference of international fund donors was held in Addis Ababa recently in the presence of Ethiopian external economic cooperation minister Abdulmejid Hussein to whip up more credit lines needed to modernize the capital's international airport. Opening the meeting, the minister warned that the airport installations were "deteriorated to such an extent that without urgent remedial work, operational security will be jeopardized and international standards violated". Air traffic handled more than quadrupled between 1982 and 1993, and runways are posing "very serious problems" for flight security due to inadequate original design and to soil structure...
The total cost of the Ethiopian government's airport rehabilitation project runs into US$216.81 million, with $52.15 million of expenditures in local currency taken care of by the government. The balance of $164.66 million in financing is not covered as assistance that fund donors announced at the meeting amounted to just under one-half of the amount needed [sic] ($80.5 million, in the form of long-term, low-interest loans)...
AFDB FUNDING CONTINUES
(AED 24 Apr 95)
The African Development Bank (AfDB) has so far committed resources amounting to approximately $1,273.46 million to carry out 55 development projects in the country, says acting vice-minister of external economic co-operation Ato Brook Debebe.
Implementation of Bank-financed projects had been slow, he said, due to low disbursement ratio. Implementing agencies, he said, were often unfamiliar with the AfDB's disbursement and procurement procedures. As of 31 December, $655.31 million had been disbursed, approximately 51 per cent of the total commitment. 21 projects have so far been completed, he said.
ERICSSON LIKELY TO BENEFIT FROM SWEDISH TELECOMMS CREDIT
(AED 24 Apr 95)
A telecommunications project is to get a SEK200 credit from Sweden, the largest credit of its kind ever given to a telecommunications project in Africa.
The World Bank, through the African Development Bank, and the European Investment Bank are the main financiers of the country's $250 million Seventh Telecommunications Development Programme. $80 million has been found locally and Sweden and Italy are also contributing to a lesser extent.
Swedish giant Ericsson is expected to win the contract, according to Scandinavia's Development Today, since the firm supplied almost all the country's modern switching equipment under Telecom 6 in 1985. A spokesman for Ericsson, however, said that discussions had been going on for more than a year, but the contract was "far from being landed."
GOVERNMENT SIGNS GOLD PROSPECTING AGREEMENT WITH CANADIAN FIRM
(SWB 9 May 95 [REE in English, 1 May 95])
An agreement has been signed between the Ministry of Mines and Energy and Golden Star Resources Ltd [GSRL] of Canada for the latter to conduct a preliminary study on the quantity of gold in Dul area of Asosa zone [western Ethiopia] and its economic significance. The agreement was signed by Mr Izz al-Din Ali, minister of mines and energy, and Mr David Afanol [phonetic] president of GSRL.
According to the agreement the study is scheduled to commence in 45 days and last for three years at a cost of 10.7m dollars...
ETHIOPIA ECONOMIC GROWTH RECOVERS AFTER DROUGHT
(Reuter 8 May 95, by Peter Smerdon)
ADDIS ABABA - Economic growth in Ethiopia, recovering from 17 years of Marxism and civil war, dropped last year to 1.3 percent because of drought but is expected to rise to 5.6 percent this year, its finance minister said on Monday.
Alemayehu Daba told Reuters Gross Domestic Product growth in the 1992/93 July-June fiscal year reached about seven percent but was hit by last year's drought because Ethiopia relies on agriculture for 50 percent of its GDP.
He said reforms since the fall of dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam in 1991 helped public entreprises to operate at 70 percent of capacity in 1992/93 compared with between 10 and 30 percent in 1991...
"Our major aim for the future is to encourage agriculture in all its activities. If agricultural productivity rises then the whole economy will improve because it is dependent on agriculture," he added...
Ethiopia's foreign debt now stood at $4.4 billion owed to international agencies and bilateral creditors plus 3 billion roubles owed to Russia for military hardware bought by Mengistu.
** S O M A L I A **
SACB - Somalia Aid Coordination Body
SAMO - Somali African Muki Organisation
SDA - Somali Democratic Alliance
SDM - Somali Democratic Movement
SLA - Somali Liberation Army
SNA - Somali National Alliance
SNDU - Somali National Democratic Union
SNF - Somali National Front
SNM - Somali National Movement
SNU - Somali National Union
SORRA - Somali Relief and Rehabilitation Agency
SPM - Somali Patriotic Movement
SSA - Somali Salvation Alliance
SSDF - Somali Salvation Democratic Front
SSNM - Southern Somali National Movement
USC - United Somali Congress
USF - United Somali Front
USP - United Somali Party
** UN AND SOMALIA **
U.N. COUNCIL SAYS SOMALIA STILL UNDER ARMS EMBARGO
(Reuter 6 Apr 95, by Anthony Goodman)
UNITED NATIONS - The Security Council reminded all governments on Thursday that a 1992 arms embargo still applies to Somalia, despite the ending last month of the U.N. peackeeping operation in that faction-torn country.
This was one of the points in a statement, read at a brief council meeting, summing up some of the lessons of the U.N. Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), which at one time involved more than 29,000 troops.
They took over in May 1993 from an even larger United States- led task force which arrived in December 1992 to help end starvation and try to halt factional fighting.
"The Security Council reaffirms the obligations of states to implement fully the embargo on all deliveries of weapons and military equipment to Somalia...and calls on states, especially neighbouring states, to refrain from actions capable of exacerbating the conflict in Somalia," the statement said...
UN GOES BACK TO SOMALIA
(Economist via RBB 20 May 95)
Barely three months have passed since the last United Nations peacekeepers left the Somali capital, Mogadishu, at the end of a mission widely seen as inept and ineffective even by UN standards. Yet now UN aid agencies such as the World Food Programme and UNICEF are to go back.
The conditions, though, will be very different: no UN troops, no UN political office. The risks are considerable. Security in Mogadishu is fragile, and without the protection of the UN troops aid workers could easily become caught up in the petty squabbles which so often lead to street fighting in the city. They are also likely to face claims for money from thousands of Somalis formerly employed by the UN. The Somalis are not known for their patience in bargaining; if negotiation fails, they may well resort to intimidation and indeed hostage- taking.
The UN is confident, however, that it can win the support of clan leaders and the ordinary citizens of Mogadishu. Its humanitarian work will be kept distinct from politics. During its earlier intervention, the two were closely linked, an awkward relationship that often led to a conflict of purpose. In 1993, when the UN switched from trying to keep the peace to trying to enforce it, and began pursuing Mogadishu's most powerful warlord, General Muhammad Farrah Aideed, humanitarian projects suffered. Aid workers who had nothing to do with the pursuit of General Aideed became the focus of hostility.
If there is to be a new UN political office for Somalia, it is likely to be based outside the country in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. General Aideed has made it clear that he will not tolerate the presence of UN political officers interfering in what he considers his domain. For the past three months, his radio station has been broadcasting bellicose statements against any new UN political mission in Somalia, but declaring that he would welcome UN aid officials provided they limit their work to that field...
The money available will be limited: the new UN aid operations are likely to cost barely a tenth of what the UN was spending, overall, at the height of its earlier operations. The aid projects will concentrate on enhancing the Somalis' ability to grow enough to feed themselves. The country has come a long way since the darkest days of the 1992 famine, but the UN fears it could soon descend again into famine if fresh fighting erupts...
U.N. HAS ABANDONED SOMALIS TO WARLORDS, GROUP SAYS
(IPS 7 May 95, by Farhan Haq)
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Somalia has left the nation at the mercy of armed faction leaders whom it did little to discourage, a U.S.-based human rights group says.
In a report evaluating the two-year U.N. Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM), Human Rights Watch (HRW)/Africa, faults the world body for focusing too much on clan leaders, at the expense of building real peace in Somalia. UNOSOM ended its mission at the end of March.
"The U.N. dealt with the war leaders as if with national leaders, but without holding these claimants to authority and legitimacy accountable for their actions against any consistent standard," the report charges.
HRW traces a pattern of disastrous ties with faction chiefs from the moment that UNOSOM took over from a U.S.-led force in March 1993 to help rebuild the country after two years of war and famine in which more than 300,000 people died.
It details the tight cooperation which developed between UNOSOM officials and the major warring factions, particularly those based in Mogadishu, the Somali capital.
By early 1994, for example, UNOSOM employed some 17,000 Somalis, including about 11,000 in Mogadishu. Many of these workers - including guards and local police - were recruited by rival Mogadishu warlords, notably Gen. Mohammed Farah Aidid and Ali Mahdi Mohammed.
The report cites one Somali official's claim that Aidid - the target of a failed five-month U.N. manhunt in 1993 - "received a 30 percent cut of the rents paid for houses by the U.N. and the salaries paid to armed guards and escorts."
Such collusion between UNOSOM and the faction leaders they ostensibly sought to keep in check weakened the entire U.N. mission, the report says.
By focussing its peacemaking efforts on the faction leaders and failing to hold them accountable for abuses against their fellow-Somalis, the report argues, UNOSOM undermined peaceful alternatives to those leaders' power struggles.
"In some ways, UNOSOM actually boosted the power of the Mogadishu war leaders - by providing a source of political legitimacy, huge amounts of cash, and even arms," the report argues.
U.N. officials have stressed in the past that they did not knowingly collaborate with leaders like Aidid, but rather chose to work with Somali elders and clan heads to rebuild the nation's shattered civil society.
But some officials have admitted they made serious mistakes. One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said last year that deals with faction-linked guards or drivers of armed vehicles called "technicals" were "known, but unavoidable" in Mogadishu.
Independent experts on Somali relief agree that the militia focus badly skewed U.N. priorities in rebuilding the country.
"I think the United Nations relied too much, for reasons which need to be investigated and audited, on some militia leaders who had little to do with the reality of ordinary Somalis," says Hussein Bolhan, a founder of the U.S.-based Centre for Health and Development.
"It catered to warlords whom it pampered, or alternately alienated," Bolhan adds. "That completely derailed a mission which had been declared to help people."
HRW also accuses the world body of abandoning its former Somali employees, many of whom have been threatened since peacekeeping forces left Somalia at the end of March...
LETTER FROM BOUTROS-GHALI TO PRESIDENT OF THE SECURITY COUNCIL
(UNIC 6 Jun 95 [UN document S/1995/451, 2 Jun 95)
I have the honour to refer to my letter of 18 April 1995 concerning the situation in Somalia (S/1995/322), in which I told you of my intention to inform the members of the Security Council of any new developments concerning the small United Nations political office for Somalia, which is presently operating out of Nairobi, and of the conclusions of the security assessment mission that had just been dispatched to Mogadishu.
With regard to security, a new set of guidelines for Mogadishu has been adopted on the basis of the mission's conclusions. These guidelines include the provision that international United Nations staff members are authorized to travel to Mogadishu and stay there no longer than three days a week. I should point out, however, that the instability and unpredictability of security conditions in the Somali capital since the mission took place have severely curtailed visits by international staff.
I have twice taken the necessary steps, in late April and in early May, to dispatch special envoys to Mogadishu to request the views of Somali leaders concerning a possible United Nations political presence in their country. This effort has yielded no results, because of the opposition of the two principal leaders. Indeed, Mr. Ali Mahdi refused to meet with my first envoy because the envoy had been associated with the United Nations Operation in Somalia (UNOSOM); as for my second envoy, his visit failed to take place, since at the last minute General Aidid went back on his decision to see him.
It is worth pointing out, however, that a wide range of leaders representing the main Somali factions, including a wing of the United Somali Congress/Somali National Alliance (USC/SNA), favourably welcomed my intention to set up a United Nations political office in their country.
Under these circumstances, I have decided that the political office for Somalia currently operating out of Nairobi will be kept there until an improvement in the situation allows it to be transferred to Mogadishu. I have also decided to reduce the staff of this office to one director at the D-2 level, and one General Service staff member...
(Signed) Boutros BOUTROS-GHALI
SOMALI CLANS ARE THE KEY
(NA June 95, p.20, by Faisal Ahmed Hassan)
...The Americans and the UN have come and gone without producing any political solution and there is little chance that they will return. Their plans to restore hope, peace and stability were a total failure. The UN failed to find any solution to the Somali crisis because it did not understand the psychological and political structure of the Somalis. It did not understand or did not take into account the all important clan system...
It is time to look for new and creative solutions to solve the existing problems. The basis must lie in the Somali clan loyalties which dominate our social, political and economic life. We need to rethink a new political structure based on decentralization, with power in the provinces regions, where clan loyalties actually unite rather than dividing our people.
The provinces must be able to decide their own futures rather than waiting for the warlords in Mogadishu to conclude their struggle and impose their solutions on the rest of us.
The new provinces should represent clan interests and provide safe-havens for their own people. The provincial leaders should be elected by their clan members and be fully accountable to them. They should have the power to follow the interests of their own people.
Somalis all believe in clan politics and clan affiliation whether educated or not. They instinctively understand the complex inter clan relationships that influence every facet of their lives. Indeed their strong belief in tribalism is the basis of their identity.
Mogadishu is primarily the base of the Hawiye clan which is fighting for recontrol of the city. Gunmen control everyday life because the struggle inside the Hawiye clan is still not decided. Yet the Hawiye leaders think that they will be able to control the destiny of the whole nation. Other clans and provinces have to wait while the wasteful warfare continues.
But there is an alternative to this struggle to death. I propose that we should decentralize, base power on the provinces and recognise that clan loyalty is the determining factor in our identity.
- Provinces based on clans should be separate but equal.
- We should redraw the boundaries of provinces and regions to take account of the true distribution of clan populations.
- Power should be decentralized from the central government and transferred to the provinces.
- Each province should draft its own constitution and produce its own identity cards.
- Each province should have its own legislature and pass its own laws.
- Each province should have elected leaders accountable to their clan members.
- The Federal Government should only be symbolic and its budget should be approved by the provinces voting separately.
- Provinces should have equal numbers of representatives in the Federal Government.
- Provinces should have the power to make treaties with other provinces and nations.
Under this system each province would be able to control its own resources and make decisions affecting its future.
This would allow General Aideed to concentrate on the development of his own province rather than fighting for national control in Mogadishu. Aideed's Habir Gedir sub-clan of the Hawiye comes from the Mudug region. It is poor, short of water, exposed to drought with little agriculture except for cattle raising. Aideed would concentrate on the welfare of his own clan and on trade with others rather than trying to seize total power at the centre.
** FIGHTING CONTINUES WITH ARMS AND WORDS **
BELET HUEN RETAKEN
(Reuter 11 April 95)
A Somali faction said on Tuesday it had seized control of the central town of Belet Huen from forces loyal to warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed in fighting that killed nearly 50 people.
Ahmed Weheliye, leader of the United Somali Congress-Peace Movement from the Hawadle clan, said his fighters captured Belet Huen during a day-long battle on Monday in which 46 people were killed and nearly 100 others were wounded.
U.N. officials said they had no independent confirmation of the report. The so-called Peace Movement is allied to warlord Ali Mahdi Mohamed's United Somali Congress.
Aideed's Somali National Alliance dominated by the Habr Gedir sub-clan captured Belet Huen, whose population is mainly Hawadleh and which lies 300 km (190 miles) north of Mogadishu, last year...
ALI MAHDI RADIO ACCUSES AYDID FACTION OF TRYING TO BUY ARMS (SWB 19 Apr 95 [RMO in Somali, 17 Apr 95]) Excerpts from report by Somali pro-Ali Mahdi Muhammad radio...
An important reliable report received from sources close to the SNA [Somali National Alliance] says that SNA officials are roaming some districts in Zone Five of Ethiopia, which is inhabited by members of the Somali community, with the the aim of buying arms from the Ethiopian government. The report adds that the officials operating in the SNA's name are now in Shilabu District in Zone Five of Ethiopia.
The plan to smuggle arms from Ethiopia into Somalia is being closely monitored. These secret arms deals by the SNA grossly contravene the recent peace agreement [between the SNA and the Somali Salvation Alliance, SSA] and the UN's arms embargo on Somalia...
The spokesman added that other reliable reports say that a delegation of SNA officials had been sent to Nigeria to procure arms from Nigeria. The delegation is said to be in Lagos at the moment trying to convince the military leadership of that country to consent to their wishes...
MENA REPORTS CHALLENGE TO AYDID'S LEADERSHIP FROM HIS FORMER
(SWB 23 May 95 [MENA news agency, Cairo, in Arabic 21 May 95]) Nairobi: Somali diplomatic quarters and foreign diplomats are awaiting the results of the coup [Arabic: inqilab] led by Somali businessman Osman Husayn Ali Atto against Maj-Gen Muhammad Farah Aydid, leader of the United Somali Congress [USC].
Observers note that Atto, Aydid's right-hand man and the main financier of the USC militias since the outbreak of the Somali civil war, poses a real challenge to Aydid in south Mogadishu, the first since the downfall of late President Muhammad Siyad Barreh.
A former Somali ambassador in an African country says Aydid never expected a rebellion against him from a member of his own clan of Habar Gedir, which he led for five years in ferocious battles against other clans and tribes until Habar Gedir imposed control over south Mogadishu.
In an interview with a MENA correspondent in Nairobi, the ambassador said the Habar Gedir clan, like other factions of the Somali people, is tired of the civil war and has opted for peace with other factions rather than have Aydid as president of Somalia. The ambassador noted that Atto, who led the rebellion to remove Aydid from the USC leadership, has rallied the majority of the Habar Gedir clan behind him by raising the slogan of peace and dialogue with other tribes, believing that five years of war and destruction are enough to convince the Somalis of the futility of war, which has led to the deaths of thousands and the displacement of millions of Somalis.
The Somali diplomat noted that although Atto has won the majority of the USC Central Committee over to his side, including Muhammad Hasan Awali and Husayn Tumbul, it is difficult for him to exclude Aydid from the Somali political equation for good. The diplomat noted that Aydid still enjoys the support of fanatical youths and has the ability to manoeuvre in view of his former political and military experience...
Reports from Mogadishu indicate that Ali Mahdi, the leader of the Somali Salvation Alliance and a bitter foe of Aydid, has advised his allies not to hold contacts with the two disputing sides until things become clear.
Atto has declared that he has split from Aydid and that he supports dialogue with the other Somali factions for the formation of a national unity government and the achievement of a comprehensive reconciliation. Aydid retorted by accusing Atto of being an agent of foreign forces, declaring that any Somali or foreigner who contacts Atto will become his enemy. He also threatened to seize Atto's property.
OSMAN ATTO WARNS AGAINST FRESH FIGHTING IN KISMAYO
(Reuter 7 Jun 95, by Aden Ali)
MOGADISHU - Mogadishu militia chief Osman Hassan Ali Atto on Wednesday warned rival leaders against restarting the bloody clan feuds which devastated the Horn of Africa nation over the past four years...
Osman Atto was referring to threats by Ahmed Omar Jess, a militia leader of the Ogaden clan and an ally of Mogadishu faction leader Mohamed Farah Aideed of the Habre Gedir clan, who recently declared plans to attack the southern port of Kismayu.
The port city itself is held by militia leader Mohamed Siad Hersi, also known as General Morgan, while Jess's followers are in the hinterland.
Division of the southern Lower Jubba region along those lines was agreed at a United Nations-sponsored conference last year and Osman Atto, who played a role in the negotiations, wants it to be maintained.
"Any party or individual detrimental to the Lower Jubba peace agreement will face a joint opposition from our side and General Morgan," Osman Atto told Reuters.
He said he was aware Jess was being supported by figures in Mogadishu, a clear reference to Aideed.
"If Jess insists on sabotaging the peace agreement, he will face the consequences," Osman Atto warned...
SOMALI FACTION VOTES TO REMOVE AIDEED AS CHAIRMAN
(Reuter 12 Jun 95)
MOGADISHU - Powerful Somali warlord Mohamed Farah Aideed, who defied U.N. forces in Mogadishu, has been ousted as chairman of his faction and replaced by his former right-hand man, members of the faction said on Monday.
A vote against Aideed was taken on Sunday at a special congress in Mogadishu of the United Somali Congress-Somali National Alliance (USC-SNA), called by Aideed's opponents within the group.
Aideed was replaced by former ally and financier Osman Hassan Ali Atto.
Osman Atto attacked Aideed for frustrating efforts to rebuild Somalia and urged the United Nations and aid agencies to return and help the broken Horn of Africa nation.
"We will give them a guarantee of security," Osman Atto told the 2,000-strong congress...
Sunday's congress follows a three-week central committee meeting by the USC-SNA, sponsored by businessman Osman Atto who broke with Aideed before a U.N. troop withdrawal in March.
The heavily-guarded congress, expected to last a week, is being attended by intellectuals, businessmen, politicans and women delegates. Aideed has refused to recognise the meeting, calling it "foreign-manipulated".
Somalia has been generally quieter since U.N. forces left in early March, although there is sporadic factional fighting and fears Osman Atto and Aideed's dispute would provoke a widespread conflict.
** HUMANITARIAN ISSUES **
CALL FOR AID
(Moneyclips via RBB 23 May 95 [Saudi Gazette, by Alawi Al Jifri]) Jeddah, May 18: Seventeen out of Somalia's eighteen regions are currently stable and governed by its own people.
Mogadishu remains vulnerable to another civil strife as its conflicting military factions seem reluctant, as always, to reach a compromising agreement over each faction's share in power, hence, minimising the hopes of the whole Somali nation of a new, stable order, Mowlid Ma'an Mohamoud, Chairman of Somali African Muki Organisation (Samo) told the Gazette yesterday.
"We call on the members of the international community to assist stable regions in Somalia", says Mohamoud. Samo is a political movement, with supporters in nine of Somalia's richest regions. Its supporters constitute 35 percent of the 9.7m Somali population. Born out of sedentary societies Samo has never been engaged in military activities.
Samo is one of the signatories of the Addis Ababa conference for the national reconciliation of Somalia. Seven new organisations have surfaced in Somalia afterwards. "Although they haven't been recognised by the United Nations, their Somali brothers can neither ignore their existence nor underestimate their contributions," says Mohamoud.
With other allies Samo will embark on an international campaign to look for potential countries which may be willing to host another Somali reconciliation conference. "We can't be ruled by gun point, leaders of Somali military groups know this. We have to come together and discuss our differences openly. We must try to solve our disputes once and for all. Our dialogue must be that of facts and reason and not that of guns and bullets," he notes.
Mohamoud calls on the UN and members of the international community to resume their aid programmes to the Somali nation. He emphasises that donating countries must make sure that their assistance are being distributed equally and fairly. It must reach the hands of the needy and not to the hands of the greedy, he says...
CODE OF CONDUCT FOR AID TO SOMALIA
(AKGED 28 Apr 95 [Code of Conduct for International Rehabilitation and Development Assistance to Somalia. SACB, 8 Feb 95]) International assistance to Somalia is founded on the basic principle that responsibility for its effective execution shall remain with the Somali people. It is expected, therefore, that responsible Somali authorities will assume their proper role to ensure that conditions exist for the effective implementation of aid activities.
Donors and other international partners are prepared to consider rehabilitation and development assistance in areas where a number of conditions are fulfilled. The following principles, drawn up by the Somalia Aid Coordination Body (SACB) define the circumstances required for the sucessful and sustainable implementation of rehabilitation and development assistance. The same principles are also applicable for humanitarian assistance with due regard to its particular nature.
1. Agencies working with the Somali people will:
1.1 pay due regard to local social customs, cultural an dreligious values;
1.2 maintain impartiality in the conduct of their activities;
1.3 develop a coordinated approach to programme implementation.
2. For their part, the responsible Somali authorities must guarantee: 2.1 that secure conditions prevail for aid agencies and their staff (as evidenced by the absence of acts such as banditry, kidnapping, extortion and other forms of violence); 2.2 that they pursue and bring to justice the perpetrators of criminal acts.
3. The responsible Somali authorities must also provide the necessary conditions for the implementation of rehabilitation and development activities by: 3.1 providing office and residential premises to agencies (where available); 3.2 allowing agencies to decide how to meet their own transport needs; 3.3 allowing agencies to decide their local staffing needs, and to employ staff on technical merits in accordance with project requirements; 3.4 exempting all aid personnel and aid- related cargo (including fuel) from duties, taxes and any other form of levy; 3.5 publishing a scale of reasonable tariffs for the payment of services rendered at the demand of an agency for the clearance of aid cargo at ports and airports.
4. The SACB will monitor closely the implementation of this Code and advise Donors and other international partners to take appropriate action whenever deemed necessary, including suspension of activities.
WORK GOES ON AFTER THE UNOSOM WITHDRAWAL
(NNS Feb-Mar 95)
Despite the UNOSOM withdrawal from Somalia in early March, work by NGOs and UN organisations is continuing `as normal' in most parts of the country, where, says Johan Svensson of Life and Peace Institute (LPI), the situation is "quiet and calm". LPI was involved in capacity building initiatives for district councils under UNOSOM and currently has a team in Jowhar training 3 councils this week. Training for a further 7 is planned for mid-April. They also restarted a series of workshops for women's groups in Galcayo in early March, the second this year is underway in Bossasso...
MARKET FORCES STILL WORK IN ANARCHIC SOMALIA
(Reuter 27 Apr 95, by Aden Ali)
MOGADISHU - Somalia's central bank was blown to bits and looted years ago but market forces still have a way of working amid the anarchy of this Horn of Africa nation.
This week, U.S. dollars have flooded the capital as exporters cash in on the pilgrimage season to the Holy city of Mecca by dispatching shiploads of goats for pilgrims to eat.
As a result, the Somali shilling strengthened on Thursday to 5,450 shillings to the dollar from 6,300.
In early March, the shilling fell to about 6,500 shillings to the dollar from around 4,500, when U.N. peacekeeping forces evacuated after a failed two-year mission to restore peace that cost in excess of $3 billion.
The U.N. operation was Somalia's largest single employer.
Exchange rates are set by traders who sit in Mogadishu's teeming Bakaaraha market and keep up to date on international markets by listening to the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Many feared a return to all-out civil war between rival clan militias with the pullout of U.N. forces but that has not yet happened and trade has boomed at Mogadishu port.
Somalia was plunged into anarchy when clan guerrillas ousted former president Mohamed Siad Barre in January 1991.
The doors of the central bank were blown apart, safes were blasted and much of the cash was looted. Bank notes littered the streets outside.
In defiance of the principles of economics, the Somali shilling maintained value and is still used locally today.
Mogadishu's two main rival warlords, Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed, tore the city apart in bitter feuding that in part was caused by a quarrel over money.
Aideed was angry that Ali Mahdi had privately imported "New Somali Shilling" bank notes to pay his militias.
The new Somali shillings are now only accepted in Ali Mahdi's enclave in northern Mogadishu, while most of the rest of the country uses old Somali shillings.
In northwestern Somalia, the former British protectorate that declared independence from the rest of the country in May 1991, clan leaders want to introduce their own currency too.
With no more bank notes being printed - Somalia has not had a government for four years - the currency is literally disintegrating in people's hands.
People welcomed the appearance of counterfeit bank notes on the market early this year - and used them as tender - because they were clean and looked good, a Mogadishu resident said.
FIRST U.N. SHIP SINCE EVACUATION IN SOMALI CAPITAL
(Reuter 2 May 95)
MOGADISHU - The first United Nations relief ship since thousands of peacekeepers abandoned Somalia in March docked in Mogadishu on Tuesday, aid officials said.
The ship, chartered by the U.N. Children's Fund (UNICEF), offloaded 323 tonnes of food and medical supplies, plus 100 special education kits for use in schools that began functioning again after foreign troops arrived in 1993.
Dozens of ships have made it into Mogadishu port since the last U.S. Marines evacuated the port on March 2, though many had predicted that all-out clan fighting would erupt after the foreigners left.
Rival clan militia leaders Mohamed Farah Aideed and Ali Mahdi Mohamed agreed to place the sea port under joint management, with civilian police to guard the docks themselves.
Somalis say it was an agreement reached under pressure from powerful local merchants who wanted trade to work.
A similar accord was reached for control of the airport but the runway has not functioned since March because many rival clan gangs have laid claim to different parts of it, dumping sand on the tarmac so that planes cannot land...
NEW PORT ACCORD (ION 3 Jun 95, p.3) After having consulted the leaders of the two principal rival factions in the Somali capital, (Somalia Salvation Alliance of Ali Mahdi Mohamed and Somali National Alliance of general Mohamed Farah Aideed), a negotiating committee which met in Mogadiscio on May 28 reached an agreement on a five-point document calling for a halt to the shelling and bellicose declarations which have been blocking port activities for some time. Committee members condemned the repeated theft of vehicles and expressed the hope that they would be returned to their owners. Implementing this decision will be left to transporter and trader associations and to traditional clan leaders. It was also decided that the committee set up following the previous (February 20) inter- faction agreements in an effort to establish joint management of port and airport activities (ION No. 661) would resume its efforts for the withdrawal of "technicals" (FWD's fitted with heavy machine- guns) which close off roads, and to get main roads and Mogadiscio's markets reopened. District leaders and the whole population have been asked to participate in getting the new agreements working after their contents were revealed simultaneously on the radio transmitters of the two factions in the capital...
** WORK FOR PEACE **
SOUTHERN TRIBAL GROUP OPTS FOR AUTONOMY
(SWB 6 Apr 95 [RMO in Somali, 4 Apr 95])
Excerpt from report by Somali pro-Ali Mahdi Muhammad radio...
During the congress for the communities of Digil and Mirifleh, which has been proceeding well in Baydhabo, the capital of Bay region [southern Somalia], the following significant resolutions were adopted:
1. The Digil and Mirifleh peoples have opted for separate regional autonomy pending the formation of a representative Somali government. 2. A parliamentary council is to be established. 3. The Islamic shari'ah is to be observed. 4. The number of Islamic shari'ah courts now operating in Baydhabo, Bay region, are to be in increased...
CULTURE AND PEACE IN SOMALIA - MEETING IN YEMEN
(NNS April 95)
A Conference on Culture and Peace in Somalia was held in Yemen, April 17-20, organised by UNESCO. Discussion was on the themes of rebuilding society; rehabilitating the state and reintegrating Somalia into the international environment. Three experts facilitated the meeting including Algerian Mohammed Sahnoun, ex-Secretary General Special Representative to Somalia.
Of around 70 participants, there were only three women, although the meeting called for "women to be empowered to take roles of responsibility in every level of the peace and democratic process." It also recognised that there is a "process of reconciliation currently taking place at the local level" which needs to be reinforced and extended. The draft report also called for "strong regional autonomy, which could "(pave) the way for an eventual federal state."
Importantly, a clause addressing the need for demobilisation was the first of ten recommendations put forward. Other needs were for strengthening local and regional administration, the development of democratic culture, peace and basic education, media broadcasts promoting peace, support to women's organisations, NGOs, professional organisations and intellectuals...
EU TO SPONSOR "PEACE TOUR" IN SOMALIA
(ION 27 May 95, p.8)
The European Union representative in Somalia Sigurd Illing (ION No. 672) was reported to be impressed by the success of popular Somali singer Ahmed Nagi with compatriots attending a recent UNESCO conference in Sanaa (ION No. 669) that he has offered him a "peace tour" in several regions of his native country. Nagi was director of the Mogadiscio theater before the civil conflict; his patriotic songs and poems recall the fight for national independence and condemn war and violence. The EU decision to finance a tour for Nagi, who is a militant member of the Somali National Union, a non- armed faction which groups town and village communities along the southern Somali coastline, is one way to encourage the pacifist leaning of the four factions in the south which represent semi-nomad and sedentary populations who oppose the war lords' pastoral aristocracy. The three other factions are the unified Somali Democratic Movement (which includes the Dighil Mirifle), Somali African Muki Organisation (which includes groups of Bantu origin) and Southern Somali National Movement (Dir Bimal from Merka). Although officially the four are in the camp of Ali Mahdi Mohamed's Somali Salvation Alliance, a rival to general Mohamed Farah Aideed's Somali National Alliance, they are striving to set up an autonomous pacifist lobby.
NEW MOVE FROM OAU
(SWB 22 Apr 95 [Republic of Tunisia Radio, Tunis, in Arabic 21 Apr 95])
Text of report by Tunisian radio on 21st April; subheadings added editorially.
The second meeting of the central body of the OAU [Organization of African Unity] mechanism for the prevention, management and settlement of conflicts was concluded yesterday afternoon with the endorsement of a statement which reviewed the moves made by the Organization of African Unity and the initiatives it had adopted to maintain peace. It [the statement] also included a number of resolutions to that effect.
Tripartite delegation to be sent to Somalia
Regarding Somalia, the central body expressed concern over the continuation of fighting in the northwestern region and urged Somali leaders to reach national agreements that would serve as a basis for establishing a broad-based provisional national authority.
It recommended that the [OAU] secretary-general should make efforts, in coordination with the chairman of the OAU and the Ethiopian president, to send a tripartite delegation to Somalia at the earliest opportunity to discuss the ways and means that would enable the OAU to assist the Somali people in their effort to establish the institutions of national rule and consolidate the process of national reconciliation. It also called for the necessary international aid to be provided to facilitate effectively the resumption of work at Somali ports, particularly in the capital [Mogadishu].
It urged Somali leaders to facilitate the inflow of humanitarian aid for needy refugees and the homeless, stressing the need for regional organizations - the Arab League and the Organization of the Islamic Conference [OIC] - to coordinate their efforts with the OAU in helping the Somali people to establish peace, stability and national reconciliation...
** ISLAM **
ISLAMIC GROUP ELECTS NEW LEADER (SWB 10 Apr 95 [RMV in Somali, 7 Apr 95]) Excerpt from report by Somali pro-Muhammad Farah Aydid radio...
A report just in from the Somali National News Agency, Sonna, says that a special seven-hour meeting of the People of the Prophet's Traditions and the Islamic Community [Somali: Ahl al-Sunnah wa al- Jama'ah] held today at the Shaykh Adan Umar, alias Shaykh Adan Dheere, Centre in Mogadishu, which was attended by over 500 Somali religious leaders, ended with the election of Shaykh Abd al-Razzaq Yusuf Adan as the new imam of the People of the Prophet's Traditions and the Islamic Community...
NEW ISLAMIC GROUP IN SOMALIA THREATENS TO TAKE UP ARMS AGAINST
(SWB 15 May 95 [RFI in French, 14 May 95]) In Mogadishu nine civilians - eight children and a woman - have been killed and 23 people injured...
The continuation of fighting is not to the taste of the Somali Islamists, who are threatening to take up arms in their turn against the faction chiefs if they do not find within two months a solution to the political impasse that the country is in. Monique Mas:
[Mas] In his first public statement Shaykh Abbas Bin Omar advovates a holy war. This is suggested by the very name of his fundamentalist organization, the Jihad al-Islam. Shaykh Abbas is promising to wage this holy war against those whom he describes as heads of factions founded on tribalism and ignorance, in other words, the two great rivals, Farah Aydid and Ali Mahdi. Shaykh Abbas gives them two months to bring the country out of the political impasse. Meanwhile, he is calling on the country's numerous Islamic organizations to hold a congress.
He says that fighters have already been enlisted and armed. He does not say how many, or with what money. But he admits to having offices in Sudan, Pakistan, Kenya and Yemen. The leader of the main Islamic organization in the country, Itihad, says it can count on support from the Taleban of Afghanistan...
** INTERNATIONAL ISSUES **
CANADA ARRESTS SOMALIA REFUGEES FOR WAR CRIMES
(Reuter 12 May 95)
OTTAWA, Canada - Canada has arrested seven former Somali officials, some associated with a Somali warlord, and charged them with terrorism, human rights violations or war crimes, a government official said on Friday.
The seven held positions in the government or army of a former Somali warlord and entered Canada as refugees or were sponsored by their wives, who were refugees.
The men were arrested from late March to early May in Toronto and released after they posted bonds. The charges are based on alleged crimes in Somalia.
"When they go to an immigration inquiry, if they are found by the adjudicator to be as alleged, then they can be deported," said Canadian Immigration Department spokeswoman Pam Cullum.
The men were arrested after the immigration department issued a memo alleging the men "engaged in terrorism, systematic or gross human rights violations or war crimes or crimes against humanity."
The Canadian government is also looking at about 100 other former Somali government officials.
SOMALIS, TURNED BACK BY LIBYA, CAMP IN KHARTOUM
(Reuter 22 Apr 95)
KHARTOUM - About 150 Somalis, turned back by Tripoli at the Libyan-Sudanese border, have returned to Khartoum and camped outside a United Nations office.
The Somalis told Reuters on Saturday that they had gone to Libya to seek jobs, crossing to Ayunat in Libya from Dongola in northern Sudan on April 7.
But Libyan authorities there turned back the Somalis and 33 Iraqis and three Algerians travelling with them, saying that only Sudanese nationals were allowed to enter Libya, they said...
Margaret O'Keefe, the UNHCR representative in Sudan, said on Thursday that several hundred Somalis turned back by Libya were stranded in Sudan.
The Sudanese government had settled 400 of them at a temporary residence in eastern Sudan, O'Keefe said.
She said waves of Somalis began arriving after the word spread that some had managed to get jobs in oil-rich Libya.
PIRATES TURN NASTY
(ION 27 May 95, p.4)
After remaining inactive for several months, apparently because vessels no longer venture into Somalia's north-eastern waters, Mejertein pirates from Bosaso (ION No. 638) made a bloody reappearance on May 14 when they boarded a Yemeni vessel sailing from Berbera to Aden with 114 Issaq refugees fleeing the civil conflict in Somaliland. A sudden fusillade, which occurred as the pirates were returning to their own vessel after having robbed passengers, killed half a dozen refugees, provoked widespread panic and caused a shipwreck. The casualty list was a heavy one of thirty dead including several children, with 84 survivors. According to eyewitness accounts from the Somali community (mostly Issaq) in Yemen, the boarding party was a commando of fifteen belonging to a so-called Mejertein "coastguard unit" of the Somali Salvation Democratic Front led by Mohamed Osman Negale, a Somali who holds a Canadian passport. He served as an army captain under the late head of state Siad Barre, and left Somalia in March 1978 after an abortive coup d'etat. Some SSDF officials deny that he is still a member of the Front, which today rules north-eastern Somalia...
MURDER OF BUSINESSMAN CONFIRMED
(AGE via RBB 1 May 95, by Karen Middleton)
A New Zealand businessman, Mr David Morris, whose Queensland- based catering company fed United Nations troops during their operation in Somalia, has been confirmed dead after being kidnapped in the troubled African country.
A spokeswoman for the Foreign Affairs Department said yesterday that the Australian high commission in Nairobi had confirmed through Unicef and the United Nations secretariat that Mr Morris had been murdered.
Mr Morris stayed in Somalia and continued to do business after the UN forces left the country. He had threatened legal action against the UN for what he said was non-payment of bills.
The department spokeswoman, who was unable to say how Mr Morris died, said he was believed to have been on his way to a fish-processing plant in the city of Burgabo when he was kidnapped several days ago and later killed...
** S O M A L I L A N D **
NATIONAL SALVATION CONFERENCE ENDS
(SWB 15 May 95, [RH in Somali, 6 May 95])
The Somaliland National Salvation conference, which had been taking place at the parliament buildings, ended today. The conference, which lasted for more than one month, discussed many issues affecting the interests and security of Somaliland's people and has come up with important resolutions which include a resolution supporting Somaliland's national pledge.
During its sessions the conference heard reports on the work being carried out by the government, the Council of Elders and the Council of Representatives. The conference was attended by both councils.
EGAL'S TERM EXTENDED
/HAB/ In the spring of 1993, at a conference in Boroma, Muhamed Ibrahim Egal was elected president for 2 years by the Council of Elders. Unconfirmed reports have reached HAB that Egal's term has now been extended for 18 months by a unanimous vote in one of the chambers of the bicameral parliament.
(ION 13 May 95, p.3)
Somalia's former ambassador to Kenya, Hussein Ali Dualeh, who is close to Somaliland president Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, announced in Nairobi on May 9 the creation of a Peace Committee and said that a peace conference would be held in Hargeisa, "probably during the first week of July". The seventeen committee members include Mohamed Silanyo (Issaq, Habr Jaalo), a former president of Somali National Movement who had been replaced in March 1990 by Abd-er-Rahman Ali (aka Tur), who is an Issaq, Habr Yunis. The latter has come closer to general Mohamed Farah Aideed in Mogadiscio; he opposes the idea of independence for Somaliland and supports rebel units fighting against president Egal.
In fighting on the ground, Egal's opposition has not changed and although Somaliland goverment sources claim to control the town of Burao, according to Ali Dualeh, rebel militia units are "only 15 km" from this town east of Hargeisa. Recent fighting around the town is believed to have caused hundreds of casualties...
EGAL CALLS FOR PEACE
(Reuter 20 May 95)
MOGADISHU - A militia leader in Somalia's breakaway northwestern region has called for ceasefire talks with his enemies, the radio which backs him reported on Saturday.
Radio Hargeisa said Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, "president" of Somaliland, made the call on Thursday that he would welcome any form of negotiations to end disputes which have beset the region since he took over from Adurahman Ahmed Ali in 1993.
Thousands turned out to hear Egal speak in the regional capital Hargeisa on the fourth anniversary of Somaliland's secession from the rest of the country, it said...
ANSWER FROM OPPOSITION
(Reuter 21 May 95)
MOGADISHU - An opposition group in the breakaway state of Somaliland said on Sunday it would keep up its campaign to overthrow Mohamed Haji Ebrahim Egal as president of the self- declared republic.
General Jama Mohamed Ghalib, a lieutenant of Somali National Movement (SNM) leader Abdurahman Ahmed Ali Tur, rejected Egal's recent call for a ceasefire.
"Unless Egal steps down, fighting will continue," Ghalib said.
Somaliland broke away from Somalia and declared itself independent in 1991.
Ghalib said the SNM did not support a coming peace conference in Somaliland, adding that Egal controlled only a third of the country's area.
"We control Somaliland's second biggest town, Burao, and most of the outskirts of the capital, Hargeisa."
Ghalib said his group wanted Somaliland to rejoin the rest of Somalia because it had not achieved international recognition as a separate state.
The anti-Egal groups seized control of most of Hargeisa last November, but Egal later claimed they had been driven out.
EU ENVOY DECLARED PERSONA NON GRATA
(Reuter 14 May 95)
MOGADISHU - The president of the self-declared republic of Somaliland has declared the European Union's representative Sigurd Illing persona non grata and banned him from the republic, Hargeisa radio, monitored in Mogadishu, said on Sunday.
Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal was quoted as saying: "I regret that we must end our relations, however tenuous, with the European Community because of the conduct of their representative."
The radio said Egal had issued a statement declaring Illing persona non grata and had banned him from entry.
Somali sources said Egal was angered by Illing's recent arrival in the port of Berbera without prior consultation to discuss with local leaders a European-funded plan to rehabilitate the port...
ILLING SAYS "GET IT RIGHT"
(ION 10 Jun 95)
The European Union's Nairobi-based representative in Somalia, Sigurd Illing of Germany, replied on May 17 to the letter sent him three days earlier by five major NGOs (CARE, Handicap International, Oxfam, Save the Children, Swiss Group) to protest against his decision to suspend all flights by the Echo agency to Berbera, Borama and Kalabayd in Somaliland. The step, which followed Somaliland president Ibrahim Mohamed Egal's action in breaking off relations with EU (ION No. 672), was judged irresponsible by the NGOs in view of the need for security of voluntary agency personnel blocked in Somaliland. To prove their determination to clear out the abscess, they sent a copy of their letter to Illing to EU headquarters in Brussels, which promptly asked him to supply an explanation. Britain's minister for overseas development, Baroness Lynda Chalker, also protested about Illing's suspension of Echo flights to Somaliland during a recent EU meeting.
Replying to the NGOs' missive, Sigurd Illing wrote of "the considerable surprise if not consternation" that the letter had provoked. He reminded them that an aircraft wearing the EU colours had been targetted over Hargeisa airport on May 2 by ground forces and termed the suspension of Echo flights as the responsibility of "the Hargeisa administration that had issued the information about the `banning' of the European Union". Describing the NGO accusation of "irresponsibility" as "intolerable", he regretted that the EU technical representation office in Berbera had been closed down and said he was "particularly concerned with the inevitable disruption in the rehabilitation programme that Mr. Egal's attitude towards the EU has caused".
In another letter, addressed to The Indian Ocean Newsletter on May 31, Sigurd Illing recalled that Richard McCall of USAID was currently the acting chairman of Somalia Aid Coordination Body and that he himself was chairman of the SACB's standing and executive committees, the bodies with special responsibility for security matters. Illing said that the code of conduct for rehabilitation and development assistance in Somalia had been adopted "unanimously" by SACB members on February 26 and pointed out that "no member has so far denounced it publicly". Finally, he considered that the "temporary" suspension of Echo flights into Somaliland would be "lifted" as soon as the Hargeisa administration had "provided an adequate security guarantee"...
/HAB/ For the SACB Code of Conduct see p. 20.
PRESIDENT TELLS UN OFFICIAL AID AGENCIES DOING MORE HARM THAN
GOOD (SWB 6 Jun 95 [RH in Somali, 28 May 95])
Mr Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal, the president of the Republic of Somaliland, has received at the presidency in Hargeisa Mr Earl Dyson [phonetic], the coordinator of UN humanitarian aid and the UNDP [UN Development Programme] representative, who arrived in the country today. Mr Egal briefed him on the manner in which the Somaliland government wishes the UN agencies and international bodies to work together. The president drew attention to the weaknesses of those operating in Somaliland, saying they habitually did whatever they pleased, hence behaving like Unosom [UN Operation in Somalia]. He said it was necessary for the operations of the agencies to benefit Somaliland, whereas at present what they were doing did more harm than good. Mr Egal said any agency failing to observe the government' s laws on coordinated action would have to leave. He said: We know what we want and this government is prepared to cooperate with any agency, but the agency must seek guidance from the government on the nature of the help we need...
Mr Dyson said the agencies were prepared to cooperate with the Somaliland government, which had the right to be informed about the budgets and projects of every agency. He said the government of Somaliland would be represented on a technical committee which would evaluate the projects undertaken in Somaliland by the UNDP and [word indistinct]. The government would thus gain access to information concerning benefits extended through the projects undertaken by the agencies, and on the costs incurred...
TREASON TRIAL OPENS IN HARGEISA
(SWB 6 Jun 95 [RH in Somali, 24 May 95])
Official hearing of the cases against those accused of plotting against the state has opened at the regional court in Hargeisa. Ahmad Hasan Asi was brought to court today and accused of being a member of the SDA [Somali Democratic Alliance] and of attending the so-called [Somali National Alliance] conference in southern Mogadishu. Prosecution was carried out by the national attorney-general. The trials of Jama Muhammad Ghalib and others accused of treason will follow.
** S U D A N **
DUP - Democratic Unionist Party
IGADD - Inter-Governmental Authority on Drought and
Development NDA - National Democratic Alliance
NIF - National Islamic Front
NSCC - New Sudan Council of Churches
NUP - Nationalist Unionist Party
PDF - Popular Defence Forces
PRMSS - Patriotic Resistance Movement of South Sudan
RASS - Relief Association for Southern Sudan
RCC - Revolutionary Command Council
RCCNS - RCC of National Salvation
SCC - Sudan Council of Churches
SEOC - Sudan Emergency Operations Consortium
SPLA - Sudan People's Liberation Army
SPLM - Sudan People's Liberation Movement
SSIM - South Sudan Independence Movement
** PEACE EFFORTS **
KHARTOUM CANVASSES AFRICAN SUPPORT AGAINST REBELS
(IPS 15 May 95, by Moyiga Nduru)
Harare - At loggerheads with most of its neighbours, Sudan is looking further afield for help in resolving its 12-year-old civil war.
Over the past two weeks Deputy Foreign Minister Gabriel Roric toured southern African countries to garner support for Khartoum's efforts to end its war with rebels fighting for self-determination for the south of the country.
According to reports reaching IPS, letters from Sudanese strongman Omar Hassan al Bashir which Roric delivered to the presidents of Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe contained requests for help in finding a peaceful settlement to the insurgency.
The minister, who hails from southern Sudan, invited President Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique and Vice-President Simon Muzenda of Zimbabwe to visit Sudan so as to get first-hand information on the northeast African country.
The visit, Khartoum hopes, would dispel the widely held view in African capitals that the conflict in the Sudan opposes the arab Muslim north and the Christian African south.
Roric, who is an Anglican bishop, told journalists in the Zimbabwean capital that "Christians and Muslims in the Sudan have been coexisting peacefully for decades." He said the war in Africa's largest country (which is over one-fourth the size of the United States) is all about the distribution of wealth and power sharing.
He also surprised his interlocutors by claiming that Sudan was committed to a peace initiative launched in 1993 by the seven- nation Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD).
Khartoums's relations with IGADD's peace committee on Sudan, which comprises Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda, have been clouded by disputes since the start of the year.
In January, the Sudanese government demanded Eritrea's withdrawal from the committee, charging that the Red Sea state was partial to Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) guerrillas in the south.
Two months before, Eritrea had severed diplomatic relations with Sudan, accusing its much larger neighbour of training 400 Eritrean Muslim fundamentalists to destabilise Africa's newest state, a charge denied by Khartoum.
The five million people in the former Italian colony, which wrested its independence from Ethiopia in 1992 after a 30-year civil war, are split evenly between Christians and Moslims.
In April, Uganda severed diplomatic ties with Sudan. Shortly before, 50 Ugandan troops had sealed off the residence of Sudanese military attachepn [sic] Hayder el Hadi Omer, whom Kampala accused of refusing to hand over an arms cache, including mines, rifles and ammunition.
The Ugandan government also accused Khartoum of harbouring a northern Ugandan rebel movement, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA is made up of Acholis, an ethnic group that straddles the Sudano-Ugandan border and to which ex-President Tito Okello, overthrown in 1986 by present head of state Yoweri Museveni, belongs.
The rebels are an offshoot of the `Holy Spirit Movement', a religious sect led by a charismatic leader called `Priestess' Alice Lakwena...
MOI TO VISIT SUDAN
(Reuter 23 May 95)
KHARTOUM - Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi will visit Sudan on Wednesday as part of a regional organisation's attempt to end the war in southern Sudan, state-run Radio Omdurman said on Tuesday.
Moi is the chairman of a committee of heads of state from the seven-nation organisation IGADD, the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development...
Diplomats said Moi's immediate task would be to persuade Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir to extend his two- month ceasefire when it expires on May 27...
"IGADD FRIENDS" TAKE INITIATIVE TO RELAUNCH PEACE TALKS
(ION 3 Jun 95, p. 4)
Sudan's secretary of state for foreign affairs Ghazi Salah Ed- Din Atabani chose a news conference in Rome on May 19 to mention, without going into detail, a "European initiative" taken by "friendly countries of the Intergovernmental Authority on Drought and Development" to relaunch peace negotiations on southern Sudan. He was alluding to a move begun several months ago by US special envoy Ms. Melissa Wells, who is responsible for keeping up on the southern Sudan peace negotiations (and is expected to be named US ambassador to Brazil). There have already been two meetings at The Hague (The Netherlands) and a third was scheduled there for May 30. Dutch cooperation minister Jan Pronk is acting as chairman and secretary of the group of "IGADD friends" which, from its first session, has brought in Canada, Italy, The Netherlands and Norway, joined at the second meeting by Great Britain.
To date, the participation of the European Union has not been envisaged because countries such as France (which is EU chairman until the end of June 1995) do not support this idea. In addition to Wells and Pronk the Algerian diplomat Mohamed Sahnoun has played a major role in setting up the diplomatic initiative, which benefits from the United States' good relations with Eritrea and Ethiopia...
** HEALTH CAMPAIGN AND CEASEFIRE **
SUDAN HEALTH DRIVE SET DESPITE REPORTED FIGHTING
(Reuter 17 Apr 95, by Peter Smerdon)
NAIROBI - Former U.S. president Jimmy Carter's son Chip told Sudanese rebels on Monday that a campaign to eradicate guinea worm and river blindness in southern Sudan would start from Friday despite reported ceasefire violations.
Chip Carter said breaches reported by rebels of a two-month ceasefire mediated by his father last month complicated the drive but it was set to go ahead until the end of April.
"It's on track," he told Reuters. "Fighting complicates it but OLS (U.N. Operation Lifeline Sudan) and other agencies have been working around violations in Sudan for a long time and we will go on their recommendations.
"We will start the airdrop of materials on Friday."
Carter, 44, said southern Sudan seemed relatively quiet except around Lafon village in eastern Equatoria which rebels said government troops captured last week after Khartoum agreed to ceasefire.
The South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) said earlier that Russian-made Antonov transport planes used by government forces had heavily bombarded villages of the Pari people and others held by rebels in eastern Equatoria on Sunday...
GUINEA WORM IN THE NUBA MOUNTAINS BUT NO CEASEFIRE
(NAFIR April 95)
/HAB/ The NAFIR (Nuba Action for an International Rescue) newsletter is a new publication by the Nuba Relief, Rehabilitation and Development Society and Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad. For more informaton contact NRRDS, PO Box 76687, Nairobi, Kenya.
At the end of March, former President Jimmy Carter successfully negotiated a two-month ceasefire in Southern Sudan, in order to enable a Guinea-worm eradication programme to go ahead. The Nuba Mountains was excluded from the ceasefire, and the government immediately stepped up its military operations there--as it has done on previous occasions when there has been a Southern ceasefire, such as in 1989 and 1993. The Nuba Mountains Solidarity Abroad wrote to President Carter on 5 April, protesting against this exclusion.
The problem of guinea worm in the Nuba Mountains is severe...
No detailed surveys have been done of the Guinea worm problem recently, but it is certain that the problem is as bad, or worse than, before the war. NMSA has appealed to President Carter to reconsider the exclusion of the Nuba Mountains from the Guinea worm eradication programme.
CEASEFIRE EXTENDED FOR 2 MONTHS
(LICR 26 May 95 [Reuter])
Khartoum, May 25 - The Sudanese Government has extended by two months a cease-fire with southern rebels due to expire on Saturday (May 27), said a joint communique issued today at the end of a visit by Kenyan President Daniel arap Moi. "As a gesture of good will and a practical demonstration of Sudan's commitment to the peace process, and in full recognition of the role of President Moi, and inspired by his request, the Government of Sudan has declared the extension of cease-fire for another two months," the communique said...
/HAB/ By June 3, both SPLA-Mainstream and SSIM had accepted the two months extention of the ceasefire.
JIMMY CARTER'S LATEST PEACE INITIATIVE: WHERE CAN IT LEAD SUDAN? (SDG May 95, by Bona Malwal, Editor and Publisher) ...Seasoned Sudan observers will have noted the speed and apparent simplicity with which the cease-fire was arranged, but will also note that it is not tied to any short term or long term plans for finding a political solution to the conflict. In this respect the cease-fire is seriously flawed and given past experience, it is likely that the Khartoum regime will merely use the two month period to strengthen its position in the South. That much was made very clear by Lieutenant General El Beshir at the press conference he gave with Mr Carter. He told the audience that there were "administrative military movements in the South" which would continue and not be affected by the cease-fire announcement. In other words, the regime's besieged garrisons in the South will be relieved, resupplied and reinforced by fresh troops for when the cease-fire ends...
There are other important issues at stake. Mr Carter could have helped the cause of peace better if he had associated the cease-fire with the Inter-governmental Authority on Drought and Development (IGADD) peace process. The IGADD peace committee has been calling for a cease-fire for many months and this has been constantly ignored by Khartoum. The IGADD countries could have provided the necessary external monitors to supervise the cease-fire, something which is lacking from the Carter initiative. Bypassing the IGADD process has played into the regime's hands. The regime has been desperately searching for an alternative to the IGADD process because it has not been able to deal with this regional initiative which seriously tackled the root causes of the Sudanese conflict. The regime will now use the Carter initiative to try and kill off the IGADD process. Mr Carter would be better advised to work with the IGADD peace committee in the search for a permanent solution to the Sudanese conflict.
NEW OFFENSIVE IN LATJOR STATE
(SU 1 Jun 95, p.1 [SSIM 23 May 95])
The South Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM/A) claimed on 23 May that the Khartoum goverment had launched a new offensive in three parts of Latjor State, and alleging that this brought the total of government violations of the Carter-mediated cease-fire to 21...
What is the need for extension of the cease-fire as being proposed by President Carter? It is worth mentioning that the NIF has denied relief flights clearance to Mading, Longachuk, Maiwut, Pagak and Chotbura and in actual fact this is where it is concentrating its present offensive.
`We call on the international community, the IGADD, Friends of IGADD and the Carter [sic] to condemn the NIF for its continuous violations of the cease-fire and obstructing humanitarian relief assistance...'
ARMY REGAINS CONTROL OF PARIANG
(SNV 8 Jun 95)
It has been announced in Khartoum that the army had regained control of the town of Pariang in Upper Nile, which was under the control of the Sudan's People Liberation Army (SPLA) for 12 years.
The Sudan News Agency (SUNA) reported that a convoy led by the Governor of the Unity Province had entered the town on June 4, after a deal had been struck with the SPLA commander in the town, Mik Jow, who agreed to hand over the town to the government. No details of the deal were given.
Pariang is an important strategic town for the SPLA who built a 2.5 km air-strip to receive supplies.
TWO DOCTORS KIDNAPPED BY SUDANESE AUTHORITIES IN SOUTHERN SUDAN (SNV 8 Jun 95)
Two doctors, one Italian and the other Sudanese, working for an Italian medical aid organisation in Southern Sudan, were abducted by the Sudanese authorities on May 29, near the air- strip in Pariang.
The Sudanese authorities admitted the abduction of the two doctors and accused them of collaborating with the rebels. The Italian doctor is also accused of illegally entering the country. He arrived into Southern Sudan in a plane that belongs to the relief organisation `World Vision', which operates as part of the UN `Operation Lifeline-Sudan' (OLS). The Sudanese authorities claimed that the plane did not obtain official permission to land in the area.
A statement issued by the Sudanese Embassy in London said that this incident is one of a long series of violations by OLS to the agreement with the government of Sudan. The Sudanese authorities summoned the Resident Representative of the UN in Khartoum and officially demanded the removal of Philip O'Brien, the coordinator of OLS in Nairobi because of his involvement in these violations and his continuous hostile attitude towards Sudan. The statement said the Sudanese government will not cooperate with O'Brien anymore and that he will not be allowed to enter the country. The government holds the UN responsible for this interference in Sudan's internal affairs and the violation of its sovereignty. The Sudanese government also demanded that all operations' centres of OLS should be moved inside Sudan instead of the Kenyan border town of Lokichoggio.
U.N. SAYS REBELS SEIZE AIRCRAFT IN SOUTHERN SUDAN
(Reuter 11 Jun 95, by Alfred Taban)
KHARTOUM - Sudanese rebels have seized and are holding a U.N. aircraft in southern Sudan, a United Nations official said on Sunday, but he denied that it had been sent to collect an Italian doctor detained by government troops.
A foreign ministry statement read on state Radio Omdurman on Saturday said the U.N. plane had gone to Pariang in southern Sudan to take Doctor Giuseppe Meo to Khartoum where he would be handed over to the Italian government.
The U.N. official, who asked to remain anonymous, denied this and said the aircraft was on a routine flight. He said there was no sign of Meo at Pariang or of his Sudanese colleague Hisham Ziada, accused by the government of being a member of the rebel Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).
Government troops detained both men in May, saying the Italian entered Sudan without permission.
The U.N. official said the rebels had boarded the plane in Pariang, a town which the government said it had entered earlier this month, implying it had captured it from the rebels.
Asked whether Pariang was in government hands, the official said: "This is what we thought, but with what happened you can draw your own conclusions."
He told Reuters the aircraft left Kenya, picked up two Sudanese officials at Juba, the largest town in the south, and then landed at Pariang.
There three SPLA members boarded it and forced the pilot to fly to the rebel enclave of Chukudum in Eastern Equatoria State.
His organisation was now negotiating with the SPLA for the release of the plane, its pilot, the three U.N. and two Sudanese officials, he said...
** SUDAN--UGANDA **
UGANDA BREAKS DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS WITH SUDAN
(Reuter 23 Apr 95, by Edmond Kizito)
KAMPALA - Uganda on Sunday broke off diplomatic relations with Sudan after soldiers sealed off the house of a Sudanese diplomats who officials said refused to hand over a cache of weapons.
The break, announced by Uganda radio, followed a steady deterioration in relations between the two neighbours who each accuses the other of supporting rebels fighting to overthrow it...
About 50 Ugandan soldiers sealed off the residence of Sudanese military attache Hayder El-Hadi Omer in Kampala on Friday. The attache, a Lieutenant-Colonel in the Sudanese army, was one of 14 diplomats Uganda had ordered out last week to cut the Sudanese mission to the same size as Uganda's in Khartoum.
A military spokesman told Reuters the residence was cordoned off after Hayder ignored an order to surrender an assortment of weapons, including landmines, assault rifles and bullets, and some new military uniforms...
Sudan protested against what it called a flagrant violation of the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations. A Sudanese foreign ministry statement also charged that Sudan's diplomats in Uganda had been shot at and beaten up...
UGANDA: AT LOGGERHEADS WITH KHARTOUM
(ION 29 Apr 95, p.1)
Last week's massacre near Gulu, in northern Uganda, of more than a hundred civilians, including wives of Ugandan army soldiers, by members of the Khartoum-backed rebel movement Lord's Resistance Army headed by Joseph Kony certainly weighed heavily in Kampala's decision on April 23 to break off diplomatic relations with Sudan. But the latest escalation between the two countries, barely days after they initialled an agreement of non-interference in Tripoli, is motivated more by head of state Yoweri Museveni's overall fear of what he sees as a Sudanese threat to destabilize Uganda, which is a major bridgehead for colonel John Garang's Sudanese People's Liberation Army. According to information obtained by The Indian Ocean Newsletter, president Museveni acquired the conviction in recent weeks that his personal safety was in danger and that the Sudanese leaders "wanted his head". Ugandan intelligence services, aided by US colleagues only too happy to be able to "criminalize" the Sudanese regime a bit more, seem certain that they had uncovered a plot against Museveni's life, with the leading role played, they claim, by the Sudanese military attache in Kampala, lieutenant-colonel Hayder El Hadi Omer, who is suspected of being a member of Khartoum's intelligence service.
The recent increase in the Sudanese embassy staff in Kampala has been interpreted as confirmation of something being planned against the Ugandan government. This thinking was behind Uganda's National Resistance Army siege on the Sudanese attache's residence on April 21. However, the search of the premises finally made on April 25 did not uncover the alleged "huge" cache of weapons: about half a dozen weapons and hundreds of rounds of ammunition...
DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS TO BE RE-ESTABLISHED
(Reuter 11 Jun 95)
BLANTYRE - Uganda and Sudan on Sunday signed an agreement to re-establish relations after peace talks between the two countries' leaders in Malawi.
"Sudan is committed and desires to establish sister relations with Uganda," Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir said.
Al-Bashir and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni signed the agreement after the talks in Malawi's commercial capital Blantyre, which began late on Saturday night, officials said.
Museveni said free trade between the two neighbouring African nations was impossible without peace.
"We cannot have free trade in areas which are troubled by conflicts...It is a must that when we talk of trade we must talk about peace," Museveni said.
The agreement was signed after peace talks brokered by Malawi President Bakili Muluzi at his official Sanjika Palace residence in Blantyre...
** POLITICAL ISLAM AND ARMS DEALS **
BASHIR SAYS SHARI'AH WILL REMAIN IN FORCE (SWB 1 May 95 [Suna news agency, Khartoum, in Arabic 28 Apr 95]) Fashir: Lt-Gen [Umar Hasan] al-Bashir, the president of the republic, has stressed that the pressures being brought to bear on the country by the so-called Sudanese opposition by way of America and England cannot bear fruit and that Sudan is capable of teaching these people a lesson in defence of its land and honour.
That is what he said in the course of an address at a mass rally in the main square in the town of Fashir yesterday during his two-day tour of northern Darfur state. He went on to say that Sudan would revoke neither the application of the Islamic shari'ah nor its cultural course, regardless of the severity of the blockade imposed by foreign forces on the country...
RUSSIA REPORTEDLY AGREES TO RESUME MILITARY COOPERATION
(SWB 8 Apr 95 [RSR in Arabic, 6 Apr 95])
The Sudanese and Russian sides concluded their military talks at the armed forces General Command today [6th April]. This was stated by the armed forces spokesman, Brig Muhammad Bashir Sulayman, who said the Russian side had expressed complete readiness to support the Sudanese armed forces [words indistinct] to rehabilitate equipment in addition to reviving previous military agreements.
The armed forces spokesman described the talks as an important step within the framework of supporting the armed forces and as a major positive step towards [word indistinct] horizon of cooperation between the two countries, especially in the military field.
[Word indistinct] the Russian military (?delegation) arrived in the country recently and has paid field visits to the air defence force and the navy in Port Sudan and held discussions with officials of the armed forces and the Foreign Ministry...
SECRET WEAPONS (AC 12 May 95, p.8) Khartoum is going on an arms spree during the two-month ceasefire brokered on 28 March by United States' ex-President Jimmy Carter. In April, the government signed a US$120 million contract for howitzer, mortar and tank ammunition with a private US-based company owned by a Middle Eastern arms dealer. This contravenes Washington's arms embargo on Sudan, which is on the US list of `terrorist states' (AC Vol 36 No 5). Military sales would need Washington's approval--and approval would not be forthcoming, said a US source. Khartoum is trying to win friends by proposing its Horn of Africa security expert, Major Fatih Erwa (who has excellent US contacts) as Ambassador to Washington. The April deal was struck through the Sudanese bank that handles military contracts and whose staff is handpicked by the ruling National Islamic Front. It was duly confirmed by the central bank, the Bank of Sudan, with the goods listed as `drilling, mining and medical equipment'...
Sudan is seeking further supplies, including from the USA. Thanks to the role of the then President, Ja'afar Nimeiri, as an ardent US Cold War ally, much of army's equipment is American. Much is also Soviet, East European and Chinese: on 6 April, Khartoum announced it had `reactivated' its military cooperation with Moscow, which again raises the cash question: Moscow's main concern is now hard currency. Much of the Armed Forces' equipment is out of commission for lack of spares, including apparently most of its aircraft...
MILITARY ACCORD WITH IRAN
(ION 13 May 95, p.2)
A protocol for a Sudanese-Iranian military agreement was signed during the official visit to Khartoum in mid-April by an Iranian delegation headed by Majlis Shura (parliament) chairman Natiq Nuri and including Pasdaran officers and military intelligence officials. According to The Indian Ocean Newsletter's sister publication Intelligence Newsletter, the until-now secret agreement gives Tehran facilities for its navy vessels in Port Sudan and Suakin. Iran has agreed to build a naval base at Port Sudan and joint mixed commissions have been set up on intelligence and security. Iran's intelligence ministry and Pasdaran have been called on to help Sudan's secret service. Natiq Nuri also promised financial assistance for training Sudan's Popular Defence Forces, which are recruited by the National Islamic Front and include non- Sudanese Muslims. The Iranian and Sudanese embassies will step up their collaboration to boost the fundamental Islamic network, particularly in Africa.
BASHIR IN EQUATORIA, SAYS ARMY CAPABLE OF ROUTING SOUTHERN REBELS (SWB 25 May 95 [RSR in Arabic, 23
The president of the republic, Lt-Gen Umar al-Bashir, has confirmed that the armed forces are capable of routing the outlaws [southern rebels] and of liberating every inch of the territory of the homeland.
He said this yesterday in the military zone of Equatoria [southern Sudan] when addressing a ceremony organized to honour the martyr Sayf al-Dawlah's forces.
Lt-Gen Bashir said that peace would come through dialogue and the liberation of the territory. His excellency confirmed the support of the leadership for the armed forces and popular defence forces to protect the land and the honour of women.
The president of the republic praised the heroic role of the martyr Sayf al-Dawlah's forces in the defeat of the rebels.
SUDAN HELPS ARM AFRICAN MOSLEMS
(Reuter 27 Apr 95)
YAOUNDE - Iran, Iraq, Libya and Sudan are arming Islamist groups in sub-Saharan Africa under the guise of helping Islam, according to the head of a U.N. team investigating proliferation of light weapons in the region.
William Eteki-Mboumoua, a former Organisation of African Unity secretary-general, also told Reuters on Thursday that weapons from former Communist countries of eastern Europe were finding their way into the hands of armed robbers in West Africa's cities.
"Under the guide of Islam, the Middle East - notably Iraq, Iran, Sudan and Libya - are distributing arms to Islamist groups, not only in Algeria, but also in Mauritania and other African countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso," he said...
SUDAN SAID TO HAVE TRAINED "EXTREMISTS" FOR ACTIONS IN SELF- RULE AREA (SWB 10 May 95 [MENA news agency, Cairo, in Arabic 8 May 95]) Gaza, 8th May: The Palestinian weekly newspaper `Al- Manar' reports today that Palestinian President Yasir Arafat has sent a message to Dr Hasan al-Turabi, secretary-general of the [National] Islamic Front in Sudan. The message was conveyed by Amin al-Hindi, head of the Palestinian intelligence service.
The paper notes that investigations conducted by the Palestinian [National] Authority of several extremists revealed that the Sudanese regime had trained these extremists to carry out military operations in the self-rule areas.
SUDANESE SOLDIERS REPORTEDLY JOIN GOVERNMENT FORCES IN
(SWB 25 May 95 [Tanjug news agency, Belgrade, in Serbo-Croat 23 May 95]) In an item datelined Petrovac, 23rd May, Tanjug news agency reported the arrival in northwestern Bosnia of foreign Muslim soldiers to join up with Bosnian government troops there. Quoting Velkaton radio, which broadcasts in support of the rebel Muslims led by Fikret Abdic, the agency said: "From reliable sources, Velkaton has learnt that a large number of mujahidin from Islamic countries, mainly from Sudan, have arrived to join the notorious Buzim brigade."
** SPLA **
JOHN GARANG SAYS FACTIONS UNITING
(Reuter 11 Apr 95, by Peter Smerdon)
NAIROBI - The head of the main Sudanese rebel group said on Tuesday fighters from breakaway factions were rejoining his movement under pressure on the ground in the south.
The rebels however said that government troops, violating a two-month ceasefire and backed by tanks and warplanes, on Monday captured the southern village of Lafon after their forces pulled out.
John Garang, chairman of the mainstream Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), said among the rebels who had rejoined his movement was Willian Nyong, who was his second in command until he broke away and set up a rival faction in 1992.
Garang said Nyong joined officers, non-commissioned officers and men at Lafon on April 1 who were sick of the split and contacted him and were allowed back into the mainstream SPLA.
Asked whether he was cautious about the step by Nyong, accused by the SPLA of collaborating with Khartoum, Garang said:
"He is now with us. We have no caution at all because he is shooting at the same enemy as we are...Nyong has joined the initiative (to rejoin the SPLA) and is now fully on board."...
THE LAFON DECLARATION
(NSCC Partner Update May 95)
...A new agreement has been reached for the purpose of unification of the SPLA/SPLM. It came into effect on 27 April, 1995 after it was signed by Dr. John Garang de Mabior for the SPLA/M and Cmdr. William Nyuon Bany on behalf of Dr. Riek Machar for the SSIM/A.
The document consists of four parts which include 1) cessation of hostilities and ceasefire, 2) re- unification, 3) re- integration of forces, and 4) amnesty, reconciliation and peace...
Face to face meetings between Dr. Garang and Dr. Riek are being planned by the movement...
GOVERNMENT PAPER CLAIMS ISRAELIS INVOLVED IN ARMS DEAL WITH REBELS
(SWB 28 Apr 95 [Suna news agency, Khartoum, in Arabic 26 Apr 95]) Khartoum: The `Al-Sudan al-Hadith' newspaper, published in Khartoum, in today's issue reported that a four- member Jewish business delegation holding European passports arrived early this week in the Ugandan capital, Kampala, in order to conclude an arms import deal worth a lot of money with the rebel movement and the Ugandan government and to transport the arms across the border.
In this context, Jewish organizations have opened bank accounts in Switzerland, Holland and Belgium in the names of export and import companies.
Earlier, the representative of the rebel movement, [for the Middle East] Majok Ayom, visited Israel, where he met Mossad and Defence Ministry officials, and Willy Cohen [untraced], a Mossad official in charge of southern Sudan. His meetings ended with the arms imports.
The Israelis expressed fear of sending experts, saying that the Sudanese government had extended its control in the south, and that they may be arrested...
U.N. CONDEMNS ABDUCTION OF 22 AID WORKERS IN SUDAN
(Reuter 9 May 95)
UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations late Tuesday condemned the abduction of 22 relief aid workers, including two foreigners, by gunmen in southern Sudan.
Peter Hanson, the undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said he condemned the abduction "in the strongest possible terms," and called for immediate and unconditional release of all personnel delivering food to the impoverished south.
He demanded "the immediate restitution of looted food and other relief goods."
Those kidnapped Sunday included two foreign and Sudanese staff working for the World Food Programme, five local staff members of the U.N. Children's Fund or UNICEF and a 13-man barge crew transporting the humanitarian goods for the Operation Lifeline Sudan programme, according to a statement.
The two foreigners seized have been named as Mirko Rizzuto of Italy and Romi Delos Santos of the Philippines.
Hanson said at least one of the foreigners was abducted by a faction of the rebel Sudanese Peoples Liberation Movement.
Sudan's Foreign Ministry has blamed Sudan Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA) rebels loyal to faction leader John Garang. The ministry said the kidnapping breached the agreement reached between government and rebel combatants on the safe passage of relief aid.
Khalid Adly, WFP operations director in Sudan, told Reuters the foreigners had been in radio contact with his office. "They are well and not hurt, but they are uncomfortable."
He said the barge, loaded with more than 700 tons of aid, was shot at and boarded by gunmen Sunday at Barboi, a remote spot about 60 miles (100 km) west of Malakal, southern Sudan's third largest town.
REBELS RELEASE FILIPINO AID WORKER
(Reuter 15 May 95)
ROME - A Filipino employee of the World Food Programme has been released unharmed by Sudanese rebels who held him hostage for a week, a spokesman for the United Nations organisation said on Monday.
WFP spokesman Francis Mwanza said Romi Delos Santos, 57, who had been held by rebels in the Tonga village, was in good health after his release on Sunday. He arrived in Nairobi on Monday...
** OPPOSITION **
EL MAHDI PUBLICLY ENDORSES SELF-DETERMINATION (SDG April 95, by Bona Malwal, Editor and Publisher) The leader of the Umma Party and former Prime Minister Sadiq El Mahdi last month used his speech at the end of Ramadan to endorse the right of the people of Southern Sudan to Self- determination enshrined in the agreement between the Umma Party and the SPLA signed at Chukudum on 12 December 1994.
In a wide-ranging political speech, Sadiq El Mahdi said that Southern Sudan should decide in a free and fair referendum whether to remain part of a united Sudan. If the people of the South voted for independence, then he could see no sense in trying to maintain unity by force.
To give the best possible chance to the maintenance of unity, he said that the country should accord the Southern people all of their political, religious, cultural and citizenship rights in a democratic system of government. He hoped that in an atmosphere of freedom and equality, the people of the South would choose to remain part of a united democratic Sudan. He emphasied the importance of democracy for a country as diverse as Sudan.
By endorsing the right of Self-determination, Sadiq El Mahdi has brought the issue to the top of the political agenda. Some Northern political parties and politicians had begun to accuse the Umma Party of breaking the traditional ranks of the North by agreeing to Self-determination for the South. They had begun to question ther seriousness of the Umma Party on the issue. The Egyptian administration had also joined in the questioning. Sadiq El Mahdi's speech has set the record straight and committed his party to the path of unity based on the choice of Self- determination. Furthermore, he has reassured all the doubters, both North and South, about the Umma Party's leadership committment to the Chukudum agreement with the SPLA...
Whatever the future holds for the North and South, they will always remain neighbours and this will means dealing with each other and reaching agreements.
For those Southerners who view separation from the North as the answer to all their problems, it it useful to be reminded that whether or not the South gains independence, it remains a close neighbour of the North. Maintaining good relations with a neighbour, where you have common borders, tribes and languages, will be no less important that maintaining good relations with the new state. One must therefore have an open mind and a clear vision of the other side's interest as one pursues one's own interests.
On another occasion, in a private communication, Sadiq El Mahdi once said that the worst which could happen to Sudan would be for the country to break up into two mutually antagonistic states. This is something that all politicians, North and South, ought to think about carefully and to keep in mind as they deal with one another...
WAVE OF ARRESTS MARK NEW CLAMPDOWN ON GOVERNMENT CRITICS
(AI 5 Jun 95, AFR 54/19/95)
The arrest of leading political opponents in Sudan marks a new clampdown on critics of the military government, Amnesty International reported today.
"The arrest of Sadiq al-Mahdi, leader of the Ansar order of Islam and of the banned Umma Party, underlines the way the authorities are deeply sensitive to opposition from advocates of other interpretations of Islam," the human rights organization said.
At least 11 other leading figures from the Ansar and the Umma Party have been detained in Khartoum, Sudan's capital, following the 16 May arrest of Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan's Prime Minister ousted in the 1989 coup which brought the current government to power. They include former members of parliament, a former governor of Sudan's westernmost region, Darfur, and the women's activist Sara Nugdallah. There are unconfirmed reports of further arrests of Umma Party members in the central towns of Kosti and Gedaref. In late May, 15 trade unionists were picked up in Port Sudan.
The Umma Party members arrested in Khartoum are being held in Kober Prison, the main prison complex in the city, in a wing which since March has apparently been under the supervision of the security services - a body notorious for the torture of detainees. Amnesty International is concerned that the detainees may be at risk of ill-treatment or torture and there are reports that the detainees are being held without access to relatives or lawyers.
Amnesty International has been pursuing a worldwide campaign on the situation of human rights in Sudan since the publication of a major report in January. The authorities responded by banning the human rights organization from visiting the country and by accusing it of insulting Islam.
"There is nothing Islamic about arbitrary detention and torture," Amnesty International said. "The majority of those arrested in the past few weeks are members of the Ansar order of Islam -- this makes clear that human rights violations in Sudan remain fundamentally a product of a repressive government hostile to criticism."
The authorities have accused Sadiq al-Mahdi and other Umma Party leaders of cooperating with the armed opposition Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), a charge which arises from the signing in December 1994 of an agreement between exiled Umma Party leaders and the SPLA. However, given that the agreement has been public knowledge for five months, a more immediate reason for the detentions appears to be an outspoken speech by Sadiq al-Mahdi attacking the Sudanese authorities made at a mosque on 10 May, during celebrations marking the Muslim feast of `Eid al-Addha...
OPPOSITION REPORTEDLY PLANNING TO BROADCAST FROM ERITREA
(SWB 19 May 95 [Suna news agency, Khartoum, in Arabic 16 May 95]) Khartoum [no date, as received]: The Eritrean president, Isayas Afewerki, has asked opposition elements [presumably Sudanese] to quickly transfer [word indistinct] and equipment to set up a proposed radio station in Asmara.
A report published in today's issue of `Al-Sudan al- Hadith'said that the Eritrean ambassador to Cairo met the leader of the defunct Unionist Party, Muhammad Uthman al- Mirghani, last week and during their meeting stressed the need to set up the radio station quickly, as it is a form of [word indistinct].
The newspaper pointed out that the country which owns the radio equipment has set the condition that it should be returned once its objectives have been accomplished. The equipment belongs to a Gulf country that has suffered a crisis in recent years.
(SU 1 Jun 95, p.3 [MEI 12 May 95])
`On 6 May, the [armed opposition] Sudanese Allied Forces led by Brigadier Abd al-Aziz Khalid Osman, who are well seen in Eritrea, signed a coordination agreement with the Beja tribes, as represented by the Beja conference, re-formed last year,' reports Middle East International. `Using John Garang's term of a "New Sudan", they agreed "to get rid of the NIF... by all means, including armed uprising". The fundamental relationship of religion to the constitution was not mentioned.
`The Beja, who live in the Red Sea areas and across the Eritrean border, have a warrior tradition and spirit of independence that have troubled Sudan's rulers since colonial times, when Osman Digna's fighters broke the British square. A number of recent clashes have been attributed to a "Beja army", believed several thousand strong. Beja people are particularly angered by the 1992 execution of Beja officer Brigadier Mohamed Osman Hamid Karrar.'
** FOREIGN RELATIONS **
TALKS START BETWEEN SUDAN AND IRAQ ON LAW
(Reuter 7 Apr 95, by Alfred Taban)
KHARTOUM - Talks on the legal issues between Sudan and Iraq began on Thursday, the government-owned al-Ingaz al-Watani (National Salvation) newspaper reported on Friday.
The paper said the two sides, headed by Abdel-Aziz Shido, Sudan's minister of justice, and his Iraqi counterpart, Shabib Lazim al-Malaki, have formed a committee to meet annually and alternately in both countries.
The committee, which is headed by the justice ministers of the two countries, is to include experts in the judiciaries and legal affairs in both countries...
USA AND SUDAN APPOINT NEW AMBASSADORS
(ION 13 May 95, p.8)
Following the appointment of brigadier Al Fateh Orawa, the former counsellor for security matters to Sudanese head of state general Omar Hassan Al Bechir, as Sudan's ambassador to the United States, US president Bill Clinton has just named veteran diplomat Timothy Michael Carney as the new US ambassador to Sudan (subject to confirmation by the Senate)...
NEW BRITISH AMBASSADOR SAYS DIFFERENCES CAN BE OVERCOME
(SWB 6 May 95 [RSR in English, 3 May 95])
The new British ambassador to Sudan, Mr Alan Fletcher Goulty, said the coming month will witness improvement and understanding between Sudan and Britain and the laying of the basis for a frank and friendly dialogue on those issues of differences...
OMAR YUSSUF BAREEDO NEW AMBASSADOR TO GREAT BRITAIN
(ION 3 Jun 95, p.8)
Sudan's new ambassador to Great Britain, Omar Yussuf Bareedo, is expected to take up his functions on July first. He was previously first deputy permanent secretary to the foreign ministry (1993-1995) and earlier in his career was named to several diplomatic posts abroad including New Delhi (1963-1966), London (1966-1969), Kampala (1971-1973), and New York (1973-1976). Omar Yussuf Bareedo was subsequently Sudan's permanent representative to the United Nations European Office (1978-1983) and then at its headquarters in New York (1984-1986). He interrupted this long diplomatic career with a spell in Khartoium (1976-1978) where he headed the Africa Desk and later the international organization department in the foreign ministry.
** HUMAN RIGHTS **
GORDON MICAH KUR: PRISONER OF CONSCIENCE
(AI 3 May 95, AFR 54/13/95)
Amnesty International is calling for the immediate and unconditional release of Gordon Micah Kur, who is currently being held without charge or trial in Kober Prison in Khartoum. The former policeman and social worker was arrested in February 1995 in northern Sudan and held for a time in one of the "ghost houses" - detention centres notorious for torture and ill-treatment...
Amnesty International fears that if Gordon Micah Kur is transferred back to a "ghost house", his past involvement with the Sudanese Amputees' Association (SSA - see below) would put him at particular risk of torture.
Gordon Micah Kur has been repeatedly harassed by the authorities, apparently because of his social work between 1987 and 1989 with the SSA, a welfare organization set up to help the victims of hand and foot amputation sentences imposed by the courts between 1983 and 1985. The SSA was regarded as insulting to Islam by supporters of the National Islamic Front, which since 1989 has provided the ideological basis for the current government, and the organization was among many which were banned on 30 June 1989.
Gordon Micah Kur was previously detained between September 1989 and June 1991 and was adopted by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience...
DISAPPEARANCE OF WOMAN ACTIVIST: ADILA A ZAYBAQ
(Sudan Human Rights Organisation press release 27 Apr 95) The Security forces in Khartoum arrested Ms Adila a Zaybaq on 20/3/1994. Ms al-Zaybaq was a leading member during the democratic period of the now outlawed Women's Union and she has been subjected to persistent harassment, under the current military regime. Ms al-Zaybaq's arrest came after she had obtained an entry visa to the United States of America to attend a women's conference. The security forces confiscated her conference papers and searched her house. In connection with Ms al-Zaybaq's arrest, the office of Ms Majda Muhammad Ali, a member of a Sudanese NGO, was searched.
According to our latest information, Ms al-Zaybaq is still in detention and her whereabouts are unknown. Sudan Human Rights Organisation is concerned about her safety and well being. The conduct of the current regime in treating citizens suspected of opposition is characterized by its heartless and brutality. There are serious fears that Ms al-Zaybaq may be subjected to torture and ill-treatment in her undiscovered detention centre.
Sudan Human Rights Organisation calls upon all concerned to express their concern to the Sudanese authorities and to press for the immediate and unconditional release of Ms al-Zaybaq.
BISHOP PARIDE TABAN TO FRANCE
(ION 27 May 95, p.8)
Bishop Paride Taban of Torit, in southern Sudan, is to make a visit to France next week to testify on the Khartoum regime's human rights and freedom fo religion violations in that region.
** REFUGEES, DISPLACED PEOPLE AND RELIEF **
SUDAN DECRIES LACK OF WORLD AID FOR REFUGEES FROM ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA
(Reuter 8 May 95)
KHARTOUM - Sudan will no longer be able to shoulder the burden of coping with over a million refugees at a time of shrinking international assistance, the official Sudanese news agency on Monday quoted an official as saying.
Ihsan al-Ghabshawi, commissioner for refugees, said international assistance had dropped from $109 per refugee a decade ago to only $10 now, SUNA reported.
"Sudan will no longer be able to shoulder the responsibility of refugees as it has been doing in the past," Ghabshawi said, adding that Sudan was paying 67 percent of refugee expenses from its own meagre resources.
She said Sudan received $9 million per year to help it cope with about a million refugees, most of them from Eritrea and Ethiopia, but other countries with fewer than half that number of refugees received over $35 million...
MISSIONARIES SAY THOUSANDS OF RETURNEES FACE DEATH IN SUDAN
(Reuter 19 May 95)
NAIROBI - Italian missionaries appealed on Friday for food and other supplies for thousands of displaced people they said faced death in the forests of southern Sudan.
Monsignor Caesar Mazzolari said since January thousands of people displaced to the Sudanese capital of Khartoum had applied to return to their places of origin in the war-ravaged south.
They were transported, with the help of aid agencies, to the government-held town of Wau but fled into thick forests in Bahr al-Ghazal province as they could not afford to buy food in Wau.
Mazzolari, visiting Nairobi, said a kilogram (2.2 lbs) of sorghum was selling in Wau for 10,000 Sudanese pounds ($350).
"Fear makes them cross the Bussera river and run away into the anonymity and oblivion of the forest. There the returnees find neither food nor shelter. Out of hunger they are resorting to eating any wild growth or non-poisonous roots," he said.
Mazzolari, of the Comboni missionaries, told Reuters he saw some 1,800 returnees in two counties in Bahr al-Ghazal last week and they were short of food and had no shelter from torrential rain.
"This wave must be stopped now or it will turn the south into a burial ground," he said, adding the transfer from Khartoum was not organised by the government but was permitted...
SUDAN SAYS IT RECEIVED MEAGRE U.N. RELIEF AID
(Reuter 22 May 95)
KHARTOUM - A senior Sudanese government official said on Monday the international community has responded weakly to United Nations appeals for aid for his war-torn country.
Dr Bakhiet Abdullah Yacoub, the deputy commissioner for relief and rehabilitation, was quoted by the state-owned Al-Sudan Al- Hadith newspaper as saying that only $15 million of the $101 million requested have arrived so far.
Most Western countries have cut off development aid following repeated U.N. condemnations of human rights violations in Sudan, but have continued to offer emergency relief aid to war-affected areas.
The country's failure to introduce a democratic, multi-party system has also contributed to dwindling aid supplies. The government has also not received any new pledges, Yacoub added...
THE UNACCOMPANIED MINORS OF SOUTHERN SUDAN
(Radda Barnen report Nov 94)
The Radda Barnen [Swedish Save the Children] report The unaccompanied minors of southern Sudan charts the extraordinary story of the unaccompanied minors' arrival in Pignudo, Ethiopia, the exodus in 1991, and their arrival in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya 1992.
Although the children repeatedly were exposed to traumatic experiences through extreme hardships and war experiences during their flight, they seemingly did remarkably well. The report discusses culturally-based coping mechanisms, and how care arrangements derived out of these mechanisms were allowed to operate.
This report is based on research and material collected by Olle Jeppsson, a Swedish pediatrician, as well as documentation and research carried out by Radda Barnen staff in Ethiopia and Kenya led by Hirut Tefferi, Resident Representative in Radda Barnen's Sub-office in Nairobi, Kenya.
/HAB/ For more information contact Radda Barnen, 107 88 Stockholm, Sweden. Tel. No. (+46) 8-698 90 00, Fax No. (+46) 8-698 90 12
** DOMESTIC NEWS **
PRESIDENT PLEDGES PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS "SOON"
(SWB 24 Apr 94 [RSR in Arabic, 22 Apr 95])
Lt-Gen Umar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir, the president of the republic, today at Friendship Hall addressed the opening session of Khartoum State's Council of Deputies.
He confirmed that the elections for Khartoum State's Council of Deputies had ended successfully. He said that consultations had become a social and religious value and should be the foundation of our political and social system...
He said that the areas which used to be marginalized were now seeing the construction of schools, health centres and roads. Lt-Gen Bashir confirmed the importance of the supervisory and legislative role of the council of deputies...
He also said that elections at the level of the presidency of the republic would be held soon...
SUDAN BEGINS CENSUS OF EXPATRIATE WORKERS
(Moneyclips via RBB 20 Apr 94 [Saudi Gazette, by Abdul Rahman Osman]) Jeddah, April 15: A head count for Sudanese working abroad has started in the Sudan and all host countries.
The operation aims at collecting authentic and up-to-date information about hundreds of thousands of Sudanese expatriates and their families.
The initial phase of the census started today in all exit and entry points in the Sudan and in Sanaa, Yemen.
It will be extended this week to all stations with concentrations of Sudanese expatriates...
SUDANESE PROTEST AGAINST POWER AND WATER SHORTAGES
(SWB 2 May 95 [KNA news agency, Nairobi, in English 24 Apr 95]) Khartoum, Sudan, 24th April: This year's average water flow in Sudan's Blue Nile in the lowest in nine decades and is the reason behind the acute water and power shortage in the capital, Khartoum, yesterday. Khartoum has since mid-March faced an acute power shortage due, according to electricity officials, to a low level of the Blue Nile, which flows from Lake Tana in Ethiopia. As a result, there is an inadequate flow of water into the Er Roseires Dam in central Sudan, where the major portion of the national grid electricity is generated.
The acting director-general of the electricity authority, Makkawi Muhammad Awad, was yesterday quoted by the newspaper `Al-Ra'y al-Akhar'as saying this situation has forced his organization to cut off power from several parts of the capital during the day and night.
But this has irked consumers, especially in Omdurman, the Sudanese twin capital, where massive protests took place Thursday and Friday [20th and 21st April] against the water and power cuts...
SUDAN SENTENCES NINE WOMEN TO DEATH FOR DRUGS
(Reuter 7 Jun 95)
KHARTOUM - A Sudanese court has sentenced nine women to death for drug trafficking, a Khartoum newspaper said on Wednesday.
The state-owned Al Ingaz Al Watani quoted the director of the drug squad in the Ministry of Interior as saying the women had been arrested for selling hashish to Sudanese youth. He did not say when and where the arrests took place.
Brigadier Kamal Omar said there had been a noticeable increase in drug abuse among young people in the past few months, especially among secondary school students.
Omar said Sudan had become a transit point for West African drugs on their way to the Gulf and Europe.
Last July, four Nigerians were sentenced to death after they were found with several kilograms of heroin but it is not clear if the sentences were carried out.
** ECONOMIC NEWS **
PARIBAS PROJECT FOR ENERGY
(ION 6 May 95, p.5)
The project studied last year by Paris-based private bankers Lazard Freres to mount a credit line to enable the Sudanese government to repay a small part of its debt arrears to the International Monetary Fund (ION No. 642) has now been reshaped and tabled again. Meanwhile, the French bank Paribas is now working on an ordinary bank load for Sudan along similar lines: the credit line (with a first tranche of US$25 million) would be guaranteed on revenues from the Ariab gold mine run by the French parastatal Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres. Lazard's financial package had involved Arab investments too but had been abandoned last June after it turned out that the mine's operational value fell well short of the financial guarantee it was intended to supply. According to information obtained by The Indian Ocean Newsletter, however, in the case of the Paribas package, the Sudanese government has asked for the financing to be tied to projects in the energy sector and in particular to rehabilitation of the Port Sudan oil refinery. The financial package is expected to be completed very shortly. Meanwhile, the director general of Sudan Railways, Hassan Khalifa, says that the company is negotiating another French loan of $6 million, intended to cover work on rehabilitating the railway network.
IMF COMPLETES MONITORING PROGRAMME
(MEED 15 May 95)
The IMF team which has been in Khartoum since early March to monitor the progress of the government's economic reforms returned to Washington on 5 May to prepare a report for the fund's executive board. The report, which is expected to be favourable, will be presented at the end of May and should enable Sudan to negotiate a rights accumulation programme.
Sudan's arrears to the IMF total about $1,700m, with interest being charged at 5.5% a year. The government began paying interest on the debt last year as part of its economic reform programme.
If the IMF monitoring report is favourable, negotiations will begin over Sudan joining the IMF's rights accumulation programme, which was developed by the fund for countries in protracted arrears. This would not only encourage donors to resume bilateral aid to the country but would enable it to negotiate an enhanced structural adjustment facility which would reduce interest on its debt to 0.5% a year.
SUDAN SAYS AFRICAN DEVELOPMENT BANK LIFTS BAN
(Reuter 16 May 95)
KHARTOUM - The African Development Bank has lifted its ban on providing finance to Sudan, Finance Minister Abdalla Hassan Ahmad said.
The government-owned newspaper Al-Ingaz al-Watani (National Salvation) on Tuesday quoted Ahmad as saying the ban was lifted after the bank exempted Sudan from paying overdue loan instalments. He did not say when the ban was imposed.
Ahmad said Sudan was paying its dues and would propose projects to the Abidjan-based bank.
SUDAN POUND WEAKENS AS MONEY DEALERS LEGALISED
(Reuter 22 May 95)
KHARTOUM - The Sudanese pound has lost five percent of its value on the black market in the week since the government announced it would allow private money dealers to trade legally, traders said.
The traders said demand for hard currency had grown because prospective moneychangers need it to go into business.
The pound has fallen from 625 to the dollar last week to 660 pounds today on the balck market and the decline is continuing, they said.
Banks trading in the official market quoted the dollar at around 530 pounds.
The Sudanese government last week announced it had decided to let private moneychangers open shop and set their own rates according to supply and demand.
The new bureaux, which can open when the fiscal year starts on July 1, will need a capital of about $600,000 each.
Traders said the value of the pound had been steadily gaining over the past two months, rising to 625 pounds to the dollar last week from from 725 pounds in March.
Sabir Mohammad Hassan, governor of the central bank, said the move would help stabilise the currency and narrow the gap between the official and black market rates.
RUSSIA BIDS FOR SUDAN OIL PIPELINE PROJECT
(SWB 28 Apr 95 [Interfax news agency, Moscow, in English 24 Apr 95]) Russia's Zarubezhneftegazstroy corporation, which specializes in overseas oil and gas infrastructure projects, is bidding to build a pipeline complex in Sudan, Interfax news agency reported.
Estimated to be worth 1bn dollars, the project will revolve around a pipeline to pump up to 10m tonnes a year from oilfields in the central region of the country to Port Sudan via El Obeid and Khartoum. It will also include storage facilities, pumping stations, anti-corrosion systems and "probably" two oil refineries, the agency was told by an official at the corporation. Zarubezhneftestroy is to submit its feasibility study to the Sudanese Ministry of Energy and Mining, he said.
The first leg to link the oil fields to El Obeid is scheduled for 1995-1997 at a cost of 400m dollars, with the whole project to be finished by 1999.
However, the official added that it "would entirely depend on whether the search for investors is successful, because the chances the project will be financed from the Russian budget are rather bleak for obvious reasons", Interfax said.
ARAKIS WELL TESTS 6,000 B/D
(MEED 1 May 95)
Recent tests carried out by the State Petroleum Corporation, the wholly-owned subsidiary of Canada's Arakis Energy Corporation, have discovered a tested capacity of 6,000 barrels a day (b/d) of oil in the Heglig 8X well in the Lower Bentiu Zone of the Greater Heglig oil field. This is the highest flow rate ever attained for a single pay zone within the company's concessions in Sudan...
Arakis currently has more than 135 people working in central Sudan on development and exploration as well as pipeline infrastructure and engineering.
SUDAN, ROMANIA FORM OIL-DRILLING JOINT VENTURE
(AA 2 Jun 95, p.11)
Sudan and Romania have agreed terms for a joint-venture oil- drilling company. Romania, which will supply the equipment, will have 49%; Sudanese shareholders will be Agricultural Bank (31%) and Nilayn Bank and Farmers' Bank (10% each).
SUDANESE ENERGY MINISTER DISCUSSES OIL COOPERATION WITH CHINA
(SWB 13 Jun 95 [Xinhua news agency, Beijing, in English 5 Jun 95]) Beijing, 5th June: Chinese Vice- Premier and Foreign Minister Qian Qichen met with Sudanese Minister of Energy and Mines [Brig Salah al-Din] Muhammad Ahmad Karrar and his party here today... Qian said China attaches importance to cooperation with Sudan in oil industry. Karrar arrived here 1st June at the invitation of Wang Tao, General Manager of the China Oil and Gas Corp. During his stay in Beijing, he exchanged views with Wang on bilateral cooperation in oil industry.
FOREIGN FIRMS GO FOR GOLD
(IPS 29 May 95, by Nhial Bol)
KHARTOUM - Undeterred by the risk of rebel attacks, a Chinese company is storming ahead with plans to prospect for gold in eastern Sudan.
The Hong Kong International Company, which signed an agreement with the Sudanese government last week, will operate at Gissan and Kurmuk on the border with Ethiopia. The two garrison towns, lying within artillery range of the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), fell twice to the rebels in the 1980s.
Despite the security risks, government officials like Dr Omer Mohamed al Khair of the Department of Geology say the project will go ahead as planned. According to al Khair, the Chinese company, which signed a 25-year renewable contract, will start operating in Gissan and Kurmuk next month.
The area lies not far from the Red Sea Hills, where Ariap Gold Company, a joint Sudanese-French firm, has produced more than three tonnes of gold in the past two years. Al Khair says he expects production to top four tonnes by the end of 1996.
Gold production at another deposit, the Gebeit mine, averages four kilos per week, according to the Department of Geology.
The renewed interest among foreign companies in mining Sudan's gold is a morale booster for the government of Lt. Gen. Omar el Bashir after the closure of two major projects in the past two years as a result of attacks by the SPLA.
In 1993, the SPLA, which is fighting for self-determination for southern Sudan, forced a French company digging the massive Jonglei Canal - an Egyptian-Sudanese project that would increase the availability of water from the Nile - to suspend operations.
In 1994, Chevron, a U.S. Firm which had invested about a billion dollars in oil fields in southern Sudan, finally closed down its drilling sites which had been idle for several years...
The government rarely discloses how much it spends on the war, but unofficial reports say it costs around one million dollars a day. Civil servants go without pay for as much as three months.
Sudan's main exports are cotton, sorghum and gum arabic. It receives subsidised petrol from Qatar and Libya, and a significant proportion of foreign exchange from the remittances of Sudanese working in the gulf states.
Khartoum's decision to encourage foreign firms to invest in Sudan appears to have been taken on the strength of its recent military successes against the rebels...