Pope: World Must Be Open to Dialogue to Resolve Conflicts

ROME —

On Christmas Day, in his message to the city and the world, Pope Francis stressed the importance of being open to dialogue to resolve the large number of conflicts, crises and disagreements that exist in today’s world. He mentioned Syria, Iraq and Yemen as examples of countries where longstanding conflicts have caused endless suffering.

 

As customary on Christmas Day, Pope Francis appeared at the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica overlooking the square to deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” message and blessing to the city and to the world, a tradition he had to make a break from last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Addressing those gathered at the Vatican on this rainy, wintry day and the millions watching him live on television, Francis said the need for patient dialogue at this time of pandemic is even more necessary in the world.

 

The pope said that “our capacity for social relationships is sorely tried; there is a growing tendency to withdraw, to do it all by ourselves, to stop making an effort to encounter others and do things together.”

 

He also turned his comments to the international situation, where “we continue to witness a great number of conflicts, crises and disagreements.” These, he added, never seem to end and people hardly notice them.

 

We have become so used to them, Francis said, that immense tragedies are now being passed over in silence: we risk not hearing the cry of pain and distress of so many of our brothers and sisters.

 

Francis said the risk is that of avoiding dialogue, and that the complex crisis of the world pandemic will lead to taking of shortcuts rather than the longer paths of dialogue, which, he stressed, are the way to the resolution of conflicts and lasting benefits for all.

 

Among the nations that the pope singled out were Syria, where for more than a decade the war has resulted in many victims and an untold number of displaced people, Iraq, still struggling to recover from a lengthy conflict, and Yemen.

 

Let us listen to the cry of children arising from Yemen, Francis said, where an enormous tragedy, overlooked by everyone, has silently gone on for years, causing deaths every day.

 

Francis mentioned other conflict areas in the world, including the Middle East, where the continuing tensions between Israelis and Palestinians drag on without a resolution. He also spoke of the Afghan people, tested by more than 40 years of conflict, and the people of Myanmar, where intolerance and violence have targeted Christian communities.

 

He did not forget Africa, mentioning Ethiopia, the Sahel region and Sudan.

 

The pope prayed for the peoples of the countries of North Africa, tormented by divisions, unemployment and economic inequality.

 

At this time of pandemic, Francis also reminded the world and asked for prayers for the victims of violence against women, for young children and adolescents suffering from bullying and abuse, and for the elderly. He prayed that the current health crisis be overcome and that the necessary health care and vaccines in particular be provided to those who need them most.

 

Source: Voice of America

Ethio-Russian Relationship Bearing Fresh Fruits in Various Spheres: Prosperity Party Public, Int’l Relations Head

The century-long historical relationship between Ethiopia and Russia has borne fresh fruits in many areas, Bikila Hurisa, Prosperity Party Public and International Relations Head said.

 

In an exclusive interview with ENA, the head stated that the comprehensive partnership between the two countries has been gaining momentum toward ensuring the significant benefits of the nations.

 

According to him, the two countries have multi-faced and robust bilateral relationship which has advanced into a strong political, people-to-people, party-to-party, diplomatic and economic as well as cultural relationship.

 

The relation between Ethiopia and Russia is a very longstanding relationship that is more than a century and which is not changed through times and conditions, Bikila noted.

 

“The two countries have very strong political, diplomatic and economic as well as cultural relationship that has passed from generation from generation. And through this people-to-people, government to government, and diplomatic relationship, people have benefited significantly.”

 

The Ethiopian people have in particular benefited from the cultural and social ties between the people of Russia, the head pointed out.

 

There are lots of strategic relationships between the people of Ethiopia and Russia in terms of education, culture, science and also people-to-people ties, he stated, adding that these are now significantly institutional.

 

Bikila pointed out that this principle-based diplomatic relationship between the two nations is not shaken by time and condition.

 

Speaking about party-to-party relationship between Prosperity Party and its counterpart the United Russia party, the head said the relationship is being institutionalized these days and the parties have signed a Memorandum of Understanding.

 

Since  the United Russia party is one of the strongest political parties that has been solving the political and economic problems of the Russian people, the head said Ethiopia’s Prosperity Party  learns lots of lessons from this party.

 

“The United Russia Party, which is probably one of the strongest parties in the world, has very clear vision in addressing the social, political and economic problems of Russian people. The party has benefited not only the Russian people but also the people of Ethiopia in terms of clearly understanding the political, economic and social interests of the Ethiopian people.”

 

He further noted, “In such a way we can exchange knowledge, experience, policies and the like. So, Prosperity party is learning a lot from the United Russia Party. Not only is the relationship party-to-party, the Government of Ethiopia has a very strong and strategic relationship with the Russian government in terms of political relation, poverty reduction, economic development, and ensuring prosperity.”

 

The head appreciated the Russian government and the people for clearly understanding the key problems that Ethiopia  has been facing.

 

“One of the most important principle-based positions that the Russian government and people have taken with regard to the problems in Ethiopia is that the Ethiopian problems can be solved by Ethiopians themselves,” Bikila underscored.

 

This is a very strong and interesting relationship that has benefited Ethiopia and the people of Ethiopia, he said.

 

The head said, “In terms of post-war rehabilitation and development that Ethiopia is going to implement, I am sure Russia will be by the side of Ethiopia.”

 

Bikila finally emphasized that he hopes Russia, which has been by the side of Ethiopia over the last one hundred-year, will continue to support Ethiopia in the future, including during the times of challenges and post-conflict rehabilitation and development activities.

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Russia Will Support Rehabilitation Efforts in Ethiopia: Ambassador Terekhin

The Russian Ambassador to Ethiopia, Evgeny Terekhin, told ENA that his country will contribute to rehabilitation activities in Ethiopia after getting a clear understanding of the basic and most pressing needs of the public and the damages caused by the conflict.

 

The ambassador said that he understands the extent of destruction on infrastructures due to the conflict which will take enormous effort to rehabilitate.

 

“We understand that to rehabilitate what was damaged or destroyed will take a lot of effort, enormous efforts,” he noted, adding that “we are of course thinking about how we could help to overcome the present situation.”

 

However, the Russian government first needs to get clear understanding of the basic and most pressing needs.

 

According to him, it is necessary that the Ethiopian government finalizes the estimate of the  damages and directions to rehabilitate the economy and social infrastructures at this stage.

 

Ambassador Terekhin pointed out that “such kinds of conflicts can cause human catastrophe. To overcome the consequences, we first need to get clear understanding of the basic and most pressing needs… At this stage, it is necessary to wait until the Ethiopian government finalizes the estimated damage and what should be done to rehabilitate the economy and the social infrastructure etc. After that, we will study what could be our input into this effort and what we could make concretely to overcome these problems.”

 

He further said Russia is on the side of the Ethiopian people as always, adding that the bilateral relations and cooperation between the two countries have been developing very smoothly in  political, economic, humanitarian, education and health sectors as well as other spheres.

 

Recalling the century old glorious relations that started from the times of the struggle against colonialism and fascist occupation of Ethiopia, Ambassador Terekhin reiterated that Russia will support Ethiopia to withstand any attempts to meddle into its internal affairs.

 

“We are always on the side of the people, in this case on the side of the Ethiopian people who are struggling for their rights to work, live and make their own decision as they like; and to choose their own destiny as they prefer.”

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Scholars Need to Defend Ethiopia from Disinformation of Some Western Media, Says PM Advisor

Scholars need to hold series of consultative meetings and find solutions in defending Ethiopia from the coordinated disinformation campaign by some western media outlets, Social Affairs Advisor to the Prime Minister Daniel Kibret said.

A consultative meeting under the theme “The Impact of False Information on Ethiopian Diplomacy” is underway in Bahir Dar.

 

 

Addressing the meeting organized by Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the advisor stated that it has now become common to see the media of some Western countries, including those of the United States, have been disseminating false information from the reality on the ground.

 

Some Western media outlets have thus been reporting misleading and misguided information on Ethiopia on daily basis during the survival campaign, Daniel added.

 

“The media have been ignoring what the government was doing to preserve the unity of the country and the people as they were busy in spreading the propaganda of the terrorist group.”

 

According to him, it is sad to witness that the so-called mainstream media have been ignoring the horrific atrocities committed by the terrorist TPLF on the people of Amhara and Afar regions. They consistently stood for the invader.

 

Stressing that the media have been committing such unacceptable and unwarranted acts intentionally, the advisor noted that their ultimate target is to make Ethiopia subservient.

 

In his message to scholars, Daniel said scholars across the nation have to be well aware of such planned and coordinated information warfare on Ethiopia and hold series of consultative meetings like this and fulfill their responsibilities by seeking solutions to problems.

 

Bahir Dar University President, Frew Tegegn said on his part that the propaganda of the terrorists has caused displacement of people and forced the public to abandon their properties.

 

For the president, such trends should stopped through collaborative efforts.

 

The conference will discuss the current state of diplomacy in modern Ethiopia, the current situation in the country, the successes and challenges of diplomatic activities, and the Western media and the image of Africa.

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

African Voice Need to Be Heard

Africa has long been remaining on the receiver end of UN conglomerate as part of peace and aid support, while the continent bereft of its genuine representation in the organization. Especially in the UN Security Council, Africa so far, irrespective of its fair share and the role it plays, has not received any meaningful representation, rather sidelined and disfranchised. Africa failed to have a permanent seat in UNSC, bizarre in its nature, made the continent to disengage and to hold of unstiffen stance on the council’s agenda, where most of the issues are concerning Africa. Conversely, in lieu of Africa, other member countries of the council, especially the P5, which are alien with the subject, have been on the throne to decide over. True to this statement, in 2018, over 50% of UNSC meetings, 60% of its outcome documents, and 70% of its resolutions with Chapter VII mandates concerned African peace and security issues. In line with this, Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, said that, because almost 70 percent of the agenda of the Security Council is devoted to issues of peace and security in Africa, the continent should have a permanent presence on the Council.  Cooperation between the United Nations and the African Union is a prerequisite in the implementation of their mandates to promote and uphold international peace and security.

 

Africa dislodges on the continent’s peace and security decision making process, fashioned numerous conflicts and violence to be protracted and promulgated. This vacuum has provided the opportunity for many super powers to involve in a proxy war and this engagement, by far and large turns the continent into a hot spot of insecurity peril. As a result of this shocking reality, many lives in Africa domed to be miserable and, at large, the already deprived lives of many Africa citizens remain in murky situation, as the vicious circle of conflict grips on the continent. The harrowing experience of this continent can also be somehow linked to Africa’s insignificant role in the metaphysical supervisory status at the council. This is because of most of the solutions suggested by the other end of the corner (westerner) kept on failing in bringing a lasting solution for Africa’s enduring problems. No need to mention that, a “one-size-fits-all approach” has repeatedly and continually destined to fail as most of Africa’s states are living witnesses for this western myth. By far and large, as Africa marginalized in a paly court of its security agenda, African solution for African problem principle, by itself will be derailed of achieving its goal. This invariably pushes the content on the edge of incapacitation that mounts to hinder development and social justice, the continent aspires for.

 

Though African states have their own intramural political and economic defies that put this bizarre enterprise on set, still lack of political will on the part of western regimes is a big clog. Critics claimed that, African doesn’t accommodate the necessary political capacity to address the world security dynamism while the continent itself marred with such sorts of difficulties. And, therefore, it’s those who are cleansed of such wickedness, presumably the super power, which are authorized to deal with the issue. Yet, such assumption at the onset is wrong and has resulted of inappropriateness in measuring and addressing the root causes of the problem in the continent. As a result of this and despite efforts by various stakeholders, Africa is still engulfed by various sorts of armed conflicts. Due to this, African Union and other partners ought to focus on the main crisis spots currently: The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Somalia, South Sudan, Nigeria, the Central African Republic (CAR) and Libya, where tens of thousands of people have been killed and millions more displaced.

 

Redefining Africa’s focus

 

It’s not a new phenomenon when Africa Union and the United Nation working closely on issues that matter most for the continent, especially on Peace and Security. Peculiarly, the 2017 United Nations-African Union Joint Framework for Enhanced Partnership in Peace and Security further boosted cooperation on the promotion of Africa’s ownership and leadership of peace processes on the continent.  In addition, the annual consultative meetings between the Security Council and the African Union Peace and Security Council have been important to strengthening Council to Council engagement. Yet, all of this legal instruments and practical engagement has not brought the needed solutions to sustain the tranquility of the continent that would otherwise achieve through legitimate Africa’s ownership of the peace process through having a permanent seat at the UNSC.

 

In light of this fact, it’s been a long time since African statesman and leaders voiced a legitimate presence at the council yet, Africa has not succeeded. On the other hand, it’s obvious that having a permanent seat at the council could mean a lot and bear a potential of changing the very course of the security situation in the continent. And, therefore, considering both these preceding failed attempts and the significance of having a permanent seat is vital to redirect the next path of the struggle. In line with this, the diplomatic efforts that have been carried out by different actors should be strengthen and broaden. It should move to the extent of encompassing actors outside of the continent including states to be part of the struggle. Previously, China and now Turkey come out and boldly backing the cause and it is incumbent on African’s politicians to capitalize such gain and stretch the horizon into a larger reach.

 

For this to happen, AU needs to carve out a strategy that gear toward guiding the whole process of these diplomatic efforts. Particularly, the AU should be at the forefront of lobbying to garner the support of as many states as possible. Partly, the A3 in the council should always voice and serve as an outlet for Africa’s long overdue question, a permanent seat. AU is also expected to institute a special group of expertise (Think Tank) to support and advised the AU led efforts. In this regard, Africans in the diaspora have the great responsibility in pushing forward the cause to gain the required attention. Individual expertise on the issue, need to be called out to contribute their own fair share to galvanize the struggle. This invariably helps the issue to be more laud and become an international agenda.  And, all this combined efforts, will invariably lead the diplomatic process, down the line, to bear fruit.

 

The Ethiopian Factor

 

Ethiopia has long been an epitome and well hyped state in pushing forward an Africa (pan African) agenda that matter for every citizen of the continent and black community across the diaspora. Way back in 1960s, Ethiopia has played prominent role stirring the anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism movements to be deeply rooted and permeated across the continent that put an end to colonization that had set on the continent for centuries. Ethiopia was also at the forefront and played a paramount role in instituting the then OAU, which is now rechristen to Africa Union that oriented for a political and economic union based on mutual respect and benefit. Therefore, it’s up to Africa’s contemporary leaders and Ethiopian officials to capitalize the much touted Ethiopia’s vast diplomatic experience that enmeshed with pan African textures in the struggle to gain permanent seat at UNSC.

 

Ethiopia, as it has always been the case, has now boldly expressed its willingness to be part of this contemporary continent-wide campaign. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed conveyed a message of solidarity with other African leaders, who bear the responsibility to achieve African fair share at the council. In his tweet, PM Abiy Ahmed, said that; “I join other African leaders in reiterating that a continent of around 1.3 billion people needs a permanent voice and seat at the UNSC represented through a bloc. Issues and decisions that concern the continent cannot continue being addressed without continental representation”. This has obviously assured Ethiopian unshakable stance and unwavering support for the issue of Africa that stood the test of time. It also remains the same as the change of governments transpires in the country throughout a time.

 

And therefore, Ethiopia should be at the helm of gearing this round of struggle toward a critical point to respond to the long belated question of Africa. Ethiopia, as it did in the past, should now be align with African states of same feathers, to bring up those failing states on the issue to the front. This may be another round of opportunity that enable Ethiopia to contribute to the great cause of Africa while continuing its legacy of bearer of pan Africanist agenda. In addition, Ethiopia, at large, should join any attempts to create sense of consciousness on the necessity of an African and Pan-African identity which sought to develop Africa solutions to various looming challenges in the continent. This can go hand in hand with the principle of African solution to African problem while bifurcating across different strategic lines.

 

The Way Forward

 

UN doesn’t have any choice but make a credible reform that can fully address the concern of Africa, for once and for all. For years, UN has been vocal about a wide range of institutional reform it embarked upon, yet none of these measures touches on the council’s basic structural problem. Surprisingly, there have been so many promises by various top UN officials including current UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, to find a way for African quest for a permanent seat at the council, yet the question remains unsettled.  There is nothing we can say, but a sheer lack of political will on the part of western power that can be drawn as the basic reason for these failures. A former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan once said, “No reform of the United Nations will be complete without reform of the Security Council. And, indeed, so long as the Council remains unreformed, the whole process of transforming governance in other parts of the system is handicapped by the perception of an inequitable distribution of power.”

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

False Reports about “Tactical Retreat” of TPLF Should be Exposed: Spokesperson Dina Mufti

The false reports by some foreign media that the terrorist group, which had faced humiliating defeat and chased out of the areas it invaded by the ENDF and regional forces as if to pave way for peace, should be exposed, Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Dina Mufti said.

 

Briefing the media in connection with a consultative meeting organized by Bahir Dar University and Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the current situation in Ethiopia, he said the country is finalizing the Campaign for Multinational Unity.

 

The terrorist group, which had been saying that “the war is over and with whom do we sit to negotiate”, is thrashed by successive and overwhelming operations, the spokesperson noted.

 

Despite knowing that the terrorist group has been defeated and forced out of the occupied areas in the Amhara and Afar states, some foreign media outlets report that TPLF made tactical retreat, he stated.

 

Dina underscored that media of national and friendly countries should, therefore, correct the misguided information and denials made by the terrorist group.

 

According to the spokesperson, this is clear evidence that their reporting on state-of-affairs in Ethiopia is based on lies and distortions.

 

He pointed out that it is against this backdrop that the consultative forum is being held and expressed his hope that the meeting would enable scholars to use their knowledge and skills to challenge the Western media outlets and organizations.

 

As the ministry was able to integrate Ethiopia’s foreign relation with survival of the nation, African brothers and sisters have rallied behind our cause.

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency

Gov’t Dispatches Crime Investigation Teams to Liberated Areas in Amhara, Afar Regions

Criminal investigation teams have been dispatched to liberated areas of Amhara and Afar regions to assess human and property damages, according to Government Communication Service (GCS).

 

Government Communication Service State Minister Selamawit Kassa told the media today that the teams will come up with their findings of the atrocities perpetrated by the terrorist TPLF and the destructions on public and private properties.

 

The invading group has brought about untold atrocities and massive property destructions in the occupied areas of Amhara and Afar regions, she added.

 

Following the defeat of the terrorist group, the Government of Ethiopia has dispatched crime investigation teams to assess the human and material damages in the areas.

 

“The crime investigation teams led by Ministry of Justice would identify the nature of the crimes committed by the terrorist TPLF in the formerly occupied areas and compile the details of the crimes,” according to the state minster.

 

Selamawit noted that the terrorist group had killed innocent people, raped, looted property, destroyed government documents and committed horrific crimes. The crime investigation teams would find out the truth.

 

The government is committed to bringing those responsible for human rights abuses and property damage  to justice, she stressed.

 

“This investigation will be carried out in such a way as to meet international criteria set for human rights violations, and individuals and groups responsible for the heinous crimes will be brought to justice.”

 

Speaking about the destruction of the health sector and crises created by terrorist TPLF, the state minister said efforts are being carried out to reinstate the services that millions of people use.

 

She said efforts are underway to complete the rehabilitation of health facilities, adding that more than 35 hospitals, 418 health centers and 1,700 health stations have been destroyed by the terrorist group.

 

Source: Ethiopia News Agency