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[1/4] Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki shake hands as they attend a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 15, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/PoolBEIJING, May 15 (Reuters) - China's Premier Li Qiang told visiting Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Monday their countries should "deepen mutually beneficial win-win cooperation and continuously enrich their strategic partnership" at a meeting in Beijing. Eritrea also shares a border with Djibouti, where China's People's Liberation Army set up its first overseas military base in 2017. The "marginalised continent of Africa and the rest of the world will heavily defend and expect more contributions from the People's Republic of China," Afwerki said. Reporting by Joe Cash; Editing by Robert BirselOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
SUDAN* More than 330,000 people have been displaced in Sudan since April 15, according to the International Organization for Migration. An internal U.N. estimate obtained by Reuters shows this figure is expected to increase by 5 million, including 2.5 million children. * A $1.75 billion U.N. aid programme for Sudan in 2023 is 15% funded. SOUTH SUDAN* Some 240,000 people are expected to flee from Sudan to South Sudan, UNHCR says. * The country's $1.7 billion U.N. aid programme for the year is 26% funded.
Summary WFP, USAID suspend aid distributionTigray government urges rethink, says to investigateNAIROBI, May 4 (Reuters) - The U.N. World Food Programme has paused food distribution in Ethiopia's war-ravaged Tigray region in response to reports that significant amounts of aid were being diverted, the agency said. Neither organisation gave details of the source of the reports and the WFP did not say who was responsible for the diversions or when they had taken place. He said he had set up a task force to investigate, calling the reported theft a crime against children, the elderly and the disabled. A spokesperson for Ethiopia's federal government did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The government and Tigray forces agreed to end hostilities in November, which has allowed additional aid to reach the region and for some services to be restored.
WASHINGTON, May 3 (Reuters) - The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) announced on Wednesday the temporary suspension of its food assistance to the Tigray region of Ethiopia. While describing the move as a "difficult decision", USAID Administrator Samantha Power said the agency recently discovered that food aid intended for people of the region, who are suffering under famine-like condition, was being diverted and sold on the local market. The agency referred the matter to its Office of the Inspector General, which launched an investigation, and sent leaders from its Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to Ethiopia before deciding to on a temporary pause in food aid, she said. The government and Tigray forces agreed to end the hostilities in November, which has allowed additional aid to reach the region and for some services to be restored. "While food aid to the Tigray Region is paused, other vital assistance not implicated in the diversion scheme will continue, including life-saving nutritional supplements, safe drinking water, and support for agricultural activities and development," she said.
Meta faces a $1.6 billion lawsuit for allegedly failing to moderate hate speech in Ethiopia. The suit was brought by the family of a professor who was killed after Facebook posts targeted him. Insider's reporting also revealed that one of those trusted partners warned Meta about posts targeting Meareg Amare, a Tigrayan chemistry professor, in the fall of 2021. A spokesperson for Meta did not dispute the trusted partner's account, which was similar to complaints raised by five other trusted partners interviewed by Insider. The Facebook posts targeting Professor Amare falsely accused him of funneling funds and equipment to the Tigray People's Liberation Front, which was fighting a civil war against Ethiopian federal forces and allied groups.
BERLIN, May 2 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz aims to discuss the conflict in Sudan, signal his support for the peace process in Ethiopia and explore cooperation on green hydrogen with Kenya during his trip to East Africa this week, officials said on Tuesday. On Friday, he will meet the president of Kenya, East Africa's biggest economy, to discuss trade and other issues. On Saturday, Scholz will visit Africa's biggest geothermal plant, at Lake Naivasha, in the geologically active Great Rift Valley, which is key to Kenya's plans for producing green hydrogen. The German officials played down the possibility of any imminent deal on cooperation on green hydrogen. Kenya was interested in producing green hydrogen to use in fertilizer production but could potentially export to Germany in future if supply was extensive, the officials said.
Ethiopia to begin negotiations with OLA rebel group
  + stars: | 2023-04-23 | by ( Dawit Endeshaw | ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
April 23 (Reuters) - Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said his government will begin negotiations with rebel group the Oromo Liberation Army (OLA) in Tanzania on Tuesday. "A negotiation with Oneg Shene will start a day after tomorrow in Tanzania," Abiy said on Sunday, using another name for the OLA. The OLA is an outlawed splinter group of the Oromo Liberation Front, a formerly banned opposition party that returned from exile after Abiy took office in 2018. In October, the OLA and another Oromo group blamed the Ethiopian government for airstrikes they said had killed a number of civilians. The fighting between the OLA and the federal government is separate to the fighting in Tigray, but the OLA forged an alliance with the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) in 2021.
Five of Sudan's seven neighbours - Ethiopia, Chad, Central African Republic, Libya and South Sudan - have faced political upheaval or conflict themselves in recent years. Smoke rises from burning aircraft inside Khartoum Airport during clashes between the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces and the army in Khartoum, Sudan April 17, 2023. SOUTH SUDAN - South Sudan, which seceded from Sudan in 2011 after a civil war lasting decades, exports its oil output of 170,000 barrels per day via a pipeline through its northern neighbour. Analysts say neither side in Sudan's conflict has an interest in disrupting those flows but South Sudan's government said this week fighting had already hampered logistics and transport links between the oilfields and Port Sudan. THE UNITED STATES AND THE WEST - The United States, like other Western powers, was happy to be rid of Bashir, who was charged with genocide and war crimes by the International Criminal Court over the Darfur conflict.
A policeman in 2011 in Abyei, a dividing line between northern and southern Sudan that was the site of a long-running standoff. For decades, Sudan’s military has waged brutal conflicts in the south, east and west of the country. The two sides ultimately negotiated a peace agreement that split the country in 2011 after southerners voted in a referendum for South Sudan to become a new nation. Image Celebrations in Juba, Sudan, on the eve of independence for South Sudan in 2011. Credit... Tyler Hicks/The New York TimesWithin South Sudan, infighting in the government led to clashes in 2013 and ultimately triggered a violent feud between the two biggest ethnic groups. Nuba Mountains conflictClashes between government forces and rebel Nuba fighters in Sudan’s South Kordofan State broke out in the aftermath of South Sudan’s secession, with Nuba fighters supporting South Sudan.
Trusted partners say warnings were ignoredInsider spoke with six current and former trusted partners from Ethiopia who said that Facebook routinely ignored their pleas to take down content that they deemed hateful or likely to incite violence. Some of the trusted partners declined to be named because they've faced death threats and fear for their own safety. Multiple trusted partners in Ethiopia said hate speech is still proliferating on the platform. Rafiq Copeland, a senior adviser at InterNews, one of Meta's longest-standing trusted partners globally, told Insider that the core complaints of trusted partners in Ethiopia have come up in other Rest of World countries. Even in Addis Ababa, it seemed that everyone knew about the Facebook posts, and many people now saw him as a traitor.
Aid group says two employees killed in Ethiopia's Amhara region
  + stars: | 2023-04-10 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +2 min
NAIROBI, April 10 (Reuters) - Two Catholic Relief Services (CRS) workers were shot and killed on Sunday in Ethiopia's Amhara region, the charity said, amid violent anti-government protests triggered by a federal government decision to disband regional special forces units. Spokespeople for Ethiopia's federal government and for the Amhara regional government did not immediately respond to requests for comment. Residents in the town of Dessie reported large protests there on Monday, with young people blocking the roads and burning tyres. Amhara forces fought alongside the federal army in that conflict. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed says the integration of the regional special forces is needed to ensure national unity in a country with a long history of inter-ethnic conflict.
ADDIS ABABA, April 9 (Reuters) - Gunfire was heard in at least two towns in Ethiopia's Amhara region on Sunday as thousands protested against a federal government order to integrate regional special forces into the police or national army, residents said. Spokespersons for Ethiopia's federal government and army and for the Amhara regional government could not be immediately reached for comment. In fact it was simply organising regional forces under federal security institutions, it quoted him as saying. Special forces and militias from Amhara fought in support of the federal army during its two-year war in the neighbouring Tigray region. They say the dissolution of their region's special forces would leave them vulnerable to attacks from Tigray and Oromiya.
[1/5] Roba Galgalo, 26, walks next to his emaciated cows at Kura Kalicha camp for the people internally displaced by drought near Das town, Oromiya region, Ethiopia March 7, 2023. REUTERS/Tiksa NegeriKURA KALICHA, Ethiopia, April 6 (Reuters) - After three years of failed rains, the animals in the southern Ethiopian village of Kura Kalicha are dying. Like its neighbours Somalia and Kenya, southern Ethiopia is enduring the Horn of Africa's worst drought in decades. “Collectively, as communities they have run out of coping mechanisms,” said Kate Maldonado from international aid agency Mercy Corps, who recently visited southern Ethiopia's Somali region. The population across much of southern Ethiopia's lowlands relies overwhelmingly on its livestock, with diets supplemented by basic crops like maize.
Factbox: The struggle for power in Sudan
  + stars: | 2023-04-06 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +5 min
The following outlines the struggle for power in Sudan in recent years:WHO HAS BEEN IN CHARGE IN SUDAN? Sudan began its halting transition towards democracy after military generals ousted long-ruling autocrat Omar al-Bashir amid a popular uprising in April 2019. Under an August 2019 agreement, the military agreed to share power with civilians ahead of elections. That arrangement was abruptly halted by the 2021 coup, which triggered a new campaign of mass pro-democracy rallies across Sudan. The military has been a dominant force in Sudan since independence in 1956, staging coups, fighting internal wars, and amassing economic holdings.
March 27 (Reuters) - International Monetary Fund officials are in Ethiopia this week doing technical work to prepare for a potential IMF-supported program for the East African country, an IMF spokesperson said on Monday. This week's technical discussions follow ongoing discussions between the IMF and Ethiopian authorities on how to best address humanitarian and economic challenges, the spokesperson added. Bloomberg, which first reported the IMF visit, said officials from the global lender were expected to stay 10 days. Progress on the IMF program and Ethiopia's request for debt relief under the Group of 20 Common Framework had been stalled due in part to the conflict in Tigray. Reporting by Akanksha Khushi in Bengaluru and Andrea Shalal in Washington; Editing by Stephen CoatesOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
GENEVA, March 23 (Reuters) - Ethiopia has dropped a draft motion that sought to bring an early end to a U.N. mandated investigative probe into the Tigray war, diplomats and observers told Reuters, after pressure from Western countries. The International Commission on Ethiopia, the only independent probe into the two-year conflict which pitted Ethiopia's army against forces in the northern Tigray region, has already found reasonable grounds to believe that all parties have committed war crimes. The U.S. also determined this week that all sides including the Ethiopian and Eritrean armies had committed war crimes - allegations they both reject. But five diplomats and human rights sources said Ethiopia had since backed off amid pressure. Ethiopia has opposed the investigation from the outset, calling it politically-motivated and trying to block its funding, preferring national accountability efforts.
WASHINGTON, March 20 (Reuters) - The United States has determined that all sides committed war crimes during the conflict in northern Ethiopia that killed tens of thousands of people, left hundreds of thousands facing hunger and displaced millions, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday. Members of the ENDF, Eritrean forces, and Amhara forces also committed crimes against humanity, Blinken told reporters, including murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence and persecution. Members of the Amhara forces committed the crime against humanity of deportation or forcible transfer and committed ethnic cleansing through their treatment of Tigrayans in western Tigray, Blinken said. "In terms of what happens next in Ethiopia, including what process they establish to provide for justice, for accountability, we'll see. The United States was outspoken in its criticism of alleged atrocities by Ethiopian forces and their allies from Eritrea and the Amhara region during the Tigray war.
The Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) fought Ethiopian forces and their allies in a war that killed tens of thousands of people. If Getachew's nomination, which was reported by the TPLF-controlled Tigrai TV, is approved by the federal government, he would replace TPLF leader Debretsion Gebremichael, who has led Tigray since 2018. It is not clear when the federal government might weigh in on Getachew's nomination or when the interim administration will be set up. The lack of an interim government has been hampering the humanitarian response across Tigray, where millions are in dire need of assistance, according to aid workers. During that visit, Blinken discussed with Getachew and Ethiopian officials the importance of setting up the interim administration.
NIAMEY, March 16 (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced $150 million in new humanitarian aid for Africa's Sahel region during a visit on Thursday to Niger, a country Washington views as an important ally in the fight against Islamist insurgencies. Landlocked Niger and its neighbors Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Chad are all struggling to repel Islamist insurgents who have killed thousands of people, displaced millions more and in some cases seized control of vast swathes of territory. "They're making the right choices, we think, to help deal with the kind of threats that are common across the Sahel. Blinken said the use of Russian mercenaries had not proven an effective response to insecurity. Ghana has asserted that Burkina Faso has also hired Wagner mercenaries.
Blinken brings aid and praise to Niger as it battles insurgents
  + stars: | 2023-03-16 | by ( ) www.reuters.com   time to read: +3 min
Blinken's visit to Niger, the first by a U.S. Secretary of State, signals its importance as a U.S. ally in the Sahel, a senior State Department official told reporters travelling with Blinken. Landlocked Niger and other countries in the Sahel, including its neighbours Mali, Burkina Faso, Nigeria and Chad, are all struggling to repel Islamist insurgents who in some cases have seized control of swathes of territory. The official praised Niger's President Mohamed Bazoum for opposing military coups in Mali and Burkina Faso and for consulting the parliament over security issues rather than deciding alone. Ghana has asserted that Burkina Faso has also hired Wagner mercenaries. "They use a lot of misinformation and disinformation to besmirch the French, I think, and the traditional French security partnership."
[1/11] U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken meets Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia March 15, 2023. "We have agreed to strengthen the long standing bilateral relations between our countries with a commitment to partnership," the Ethiopian leader said. While the peace deal has allowed humanitarian aid to flow into Tigray, needs remain immense after the conflict left hundreds of thousands facing starvation. Eritrean troops remain in several border areas while militia from the Amhara region, which neighbours Tigray, occupy large areas of territory in contested parts of western and southern Tigray, humanitarian workers said. A spokesperson for the Amhara regional government said it and the people of Amhara were "always ready to co-operate with peace deal process and activities".
[1/3] An Ethiopian boy who fled the ongoing fighting in Tigray region, gestures in the Hamdayet village, in eastern Kassala state, Sudan December 15, 2020. The Ethiopian government's two-year conflict with forces in the northern Tigray region ended last November with thousands dead and millions uprooted. Though the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council has never ended a probe before its mandate, Addis Ababa has circulated a draft version of a resolution calling for the Tigray inquiry to stop some six months early. AFRICAN OPPOSITIONThe war pitted the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF) against federal troops, who were also backed by fighters from nearby Amhara region and Eritrea. Reporting by Emma Farge, Gabrielle Tetrault-Farber; Additional reporting by Dawit Endeshaw in Addis AbabaOur Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
"There have been a number of approaches, but so far without getting any response" from the government, the source added. But progress has been complicated by a two-year civil war that broke out in November 2020, killing thousands of people and displacing millions. The international bond only makes up a small part of the country's total external government debt, which stood at $27.4 billion in the third quarter of last year, according to World Bank data. International bondholders have not formed a private creditors committee for the extension proposal because Ethiopia has continued to service the bond normally, two of the sources added. Recent filings show that Franklin Templeton Fixed Income Group and Allianz Global Investors U.S. LLC are some of the holders of the bond, according to EMAXX data.
NAIROBI, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Access to social media platforms has been restricted in Ethiopia, Internet watchdog NetBlocks said, following violent protests sparked by a rift within the country's Orthodox Church. The protests broke out in the Oromiya region when three church officials declared themselves archbishops last month and set up their own governing body. At least 30 people have been killed in protests since Feb. 4, the church said in a statement on Thursday. The Ethiopian state has traditionally maintained close ties to the Orthodox Church, to which more than 40% of the population adheres. The Orthodox Church vowed in its statement that Sunday's protest would go ahead.
NAIROBI, Feb 9 (Reuters) - Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki said on Thursday that reports of Eritrean troops committing human rights violations during the conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region were "a fantasy" and "misinformation". Eritrean troops fought alongside the Ethiopian military and allied militias in the bloody two-year conflict that pitted the Ethiopian government against rebellious forces in the northern region of Tigray. In November, the Ethiopia government and the Tigray forces signed an agreement to end the hostilities. During the war, Eritrean troops were accused by residents and human rights groups of various abuses, including the killing of hundreds of civilians in Axum during a 24-hour period in November 2020. At a news conference in Nairobi Afwerki called the allegations of human rights abuses by Eritrean troops "a fantasy of those who went to derail the peace process... a factory of fabricating misinformation."
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