G7: Press remarks by High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell upon arrival at the Ministerial meeting

Today, the G7 Foreign Affairs Ministers will discuss about the situation in Africa, in Iran and in Central Asia.

First, about Iran. I have been talking with the Foreign [Affairs] Minister of Iran [Hossein Amir-Abdollahian] and expressed the condemnation of the European Union for the crackdown of demonstrators following the killing of Mahsa Amini. The European Union has taken actions and approved sanctions, also for the issue of Iran delivering drones to be used in the war in Ukraine, which is a violation of the United Nations resolution.

We will continue supporting the demonstrators and we will continue supporting Ukraine to face the aerial attacks, and we insist on Iran to stop providing arms to Russia. Iran denies it, but the Ukrainians have been providing evidence of the use of drones.

On the JCPOA, the negotiations are at a stalemate. There is nothing new, but I think that we have to differentiate our strong support to the demonstrators and especially to the women – the courageous women in Iran – from the need to try to [avoid] Iran becoming a nuclear power.

Africa remains our priority, our biggest priority, and we will have our African friends participating in this meeting. There are good news coming from Africa – from the Horn of Africa – where a Cessation of Hostilities in Ethiopia is putting an end to the fight. And I have to remember the tens of thousands of people who have been killed in this awful war, where the most awful abuses have been happening during the last two years.

The Cessation of Hostilities is the first step to build peace. But it is much more difficult to build peace than to make war. So, we have to support the African Union in order to – after the cessation of hostilities – reach an agreement that could allow Ethiopia to go back to peace and reconstruction.

In Africa, there are three poles of instability and war: the Sahel, the Great Lakes region, and the Horn of Africa. In these three parts of Africa, the war continues, terrorism is developing and [there is] political instability, together with the famine created by Russia blocking exports of grain from Ukraine. But at least, there is this good news, and we welcome what this agreement represents for the Ethiopian people.

Then, Central Asia. The countries in Central Asia are a pivot between Europe and Asia, and they are more and more important from a strategic point of view. They are looking to diversify their foreign policy. They are no longer Soviet republics. They are asking Russia to respect their independence, and we have to increase our relationship with them.

In the next weeks, I will [travel to] in Samarkand [at] the Connectivity Conference between Central Asia and Europe. This will be a good occasion to reinforce our links, our partnership and to develop our strategic investment programme of the Global Europe, of the Global Gateway, which is our way of increasing our investments and engagement with this part of the world, which is becoming more and more important in the current circumstances.

Then, the Western Balkans. I was in Berlin yesterday, participating in the Western Balkans Summit to the Berlin Process, invited by [German] Chancelor [Olaf] Scholz. In the Western Balkans, there are two key words: resilience and reconciliation.

Resilience [is about] increasing their capacity – economic and political capacity – to face the challenges. We are supporting them. We are the biggest investors in the region. We support them also to fight disinformation and to face the cyberattacks and hybrid threats coming from Russia.

Reconciliation, to overcome the legacy of the past. On that, there is also a possibility on the Dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia.

We have been working a lot on that with my Special Representative [for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue], Miroslav Lajčák. Before the summer, we presented the plan to both parties – to Serbia and Kosovo – in order to overcome the permanent crisis mood in which we have been working and look for a comprehensive normalisation of their relation. And I am very grateful for the support from Germany and France to this proposal.

We got answers from both parties. We are studying them. And I think this is a good occasion that has to be used in order to make the relationship between Pristina and Belgrade more – let’s say – normal, because, in order for both of them to advance in their European path, this normalisation of relations is very important.

In the coming days, we will see which is their answer to this proposal, and I hope it will represent a breakthrough and a leap forward in this process.

 

Source: EU in Ethiopia

Workshop on Sustainable Engineering for Sustainable Development

Addis Ababa University (AAU) Institute of Technology (AAiT) in collaboration with Dresden University of Technology, Germany, organized a workshop on “Sustainable Engineering for Sustainable Development”with the attendance of higher government officials, scholars and stakeholders at AAiT on the 3rd of November 2022.

Detail discussions were held to enable a common understanding on the concept of sustainable engineering and its roles on sustainable development targets of the country.

Common focus areas of sustainable engineering were briefly identified in order to realize sustainable development goals and meet the needs of the future generation with coordinated efforts, bridging gaps, examining strategies and policies together with relevant stakeholders by integrating sustainability of engineering education.

Tirumar Abate, State Minister of Planning and Development, on her keynote speech said that Ethiopia has put tremendous efforts in terms of mainstreaming the sustainability agenda in its consecutive national development plans, policies as well as development programs and projects.

There is an immense role of engineering and technology capacity that helps much in the process of building sustainable and climate resilient green economy. This can also be achieved through the continuous provision of innovative solutions towards resource utilization as well as new technologies and sustainable inventions in various sectors of the economy,” she said.

This in turn requires qualified engineers and technologies with a purpose of ensuring sustainable development, she further stated.

According to Tirumar, attempts have been made to align engineering education along with the development plans of the country in Ethiopia. However, there have been limitations in unleashing the full potentials of engineering and technology education as well as research in Ethiopia’s development policy making process, she added.

The State Minister noted that stakeholders need to come forward via conduction of applied researches as to why sustainable engineering education and research have to be the priority of the government reaffirming that the Ministry of Planning and Development will provide the necessary support for such kinds of efforts.

Dereje Duguma (MD), State Minister of Health on his part highlighted the use of sustainable engineering and technology in the health sector.

He said that thinking the progress of health center is difficult without sustainable engineering and technology indicating that most medical equipments, which are the backbone of the health system in Ethiopia, are imported from different countries.

Adequate knowledge and practice in terms of medical equipment technologies and engineering is necessary to have modern medical equipments like City Scan, X-ray and MRI machines as well as manufacturing of vaccines, gloves and other materials,

he added.The Minister finally underlined that working with AAU and other universities as well as concerned stakeholders will be the core activity in order to achieve the goals to improve the health care system in the country.

Emebet Mulugeta (PhD), Academic Vice President of AAU, said that Ethiopia has advanced both economically and technologically within the growth of industries which have rendered their own contributions apart from undeniable challenges they impose to the environment.

According to Dr. Emebet, sustainable engineering has a great role to controlling, restoring and rehabilitating environmental risks by designing, producing and using different technologies.

Bikila Teklu (PhD), Chief Executive Director of AAiT, said that the concept of sustainable engineering is a new and an emerging topic that UNESCO defines “the process of using resources in a way that does not compromise the environment or deplete the materials for future generations.

According to Dr. Bikila, it is always important to ensure that academic programs and curriculums are aligned with the current and future needs of society and that the graduates are equipped with the necessary knowledge and skills to address those needs.

Different innovative works made by different department students and staff of AAiT were displayed and visited by the participants on the workshop.

 

Source: Addis Ababa University

Ethiopia: Truce Needs Robust Rights Monitoring

(Nairobi) – The “cessation of hostilities” agreement between Ethiopia’s federal government and Tigrayan authorities announced on November 2, 2022 provides a crucial opportunity for immediate and rigorous international monitoring to avert further atrocities and a humanitarian catastrophe, Human Rights Watch said today. Intensified fighting in the Tigray region during the past two months has heightened fears of further rights abuses and caused large-scale displacement of civilians.

The two main warring parties reached an agreement following 10 days of African Union-led negotiations in South Africa, nearly two years after the war began on November 4, 2020. The devastating conflict has affected Tigray and the neighboring Afar and Amhara regions. Much of the Tigrayan population remains without access to desperately needed humanitarian assistance, which the Ethiopian government has largely blocked from the region.

“The cessation of hostilities in northern Ethiopia after nearly two years of bloodshed is a critical moment to end atrocities and the immense suffering of millions of civilians,” said Carine Kaneza Nantulya, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “International scrutiny will be key to ensuring that the warring parties, which committed widespread abuses, don’t prolong the harm to the civilian population.”

Key backers of the agreement should prioritize protecting civilians, press for robust monitoring, and ensure that the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities fully carry out their rights commitments, Human Rights Watch said.

Human Rights Watch has documented serious violations of the laws of war and human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict. Ethiopian and Eritrean government forces, at times with allied militias, have committed extrajudicial killings, rape and sexual violenceunlawful shelling and airstrikes, and pillage. Tigrayan forces have also killed civilians and been responsible for sexual violence, and looting and destruction of property.

In Western Tigray Zone, Human Rights Watch jointly with Amnesty International, documented an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Tigrayan population by Amhara regional forces and militias, at times with the participation of Ethiopian federal forces.

The conflict has led to one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. In June 2022, the United Nations estimated that 13 million people required humanitarian assistance in Afar, Amhara, and Tigray regions. Since June 2021, Ethiopian authorities have effectively besieged the Tigray region, preventing humanitarian aid from reaching hundreds of thousands of people and blocking basic services, including banking, electricity, and telecommunications. In September, the International Commission of Human Rights Experts, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, found that Ethiopian forces were “intentionally using starvation of civilians as a method of warfare.”

The UN reported that 27 aid workers have been killed since November 2020. In the most recent incidents, separate attacks in the Tigray region killed an Ethiopian Red Cross ambulance driver and an International Rescue Committee worker.

In a joint statement released by the warring parties on November 2, 2022, the Ethiopian government agreed to “enhance its cooperation with humanitarian agencies to expedite aid to all those in need of assistance,” and “continue efforts to restore public services…of all communities affected by the conflict.” Given the Ethiopian authorities’ denials since the war began that they were obstructing humanitarian assistance in the Tigray region, it will be critical for the African Union and others monitoring the agreement to ensure that the obstructions end, Human Rights Watch said. This should include ensuring that basic services to the Tigray region are immediately restored and that independent humanitarian assistance reaches all affected communities.

Ethiopia’s partners should ensure that any mechanism established to oversee compliance with the cessation of hostilities includes a human rights monitoring component and gender rights experts to release timely public reports on the situation. They should be prepared to take concrete measures in the event of future rights abuses.

The agreement seen by Human Rights Watch does not explicitly mention the situation for civilians in Western Tigray zone, the site of the ethnic cleansing campaign. The warring parties should facilitate immediate and safe access for international humanitarian agencies – including to formal and informal detention sites without prior notification.

Federal and regional authorities should also grant the International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia and other independent rights monitors full and safe access to conflict-affected areas to press for full implementation of the rights commitments in the agreement.

The agreement lacks details on formal accountability, with the joint statement only mentioning a “transitional justice policy framework to ensure accountability, truth, reconciliation, and healing.”

The Ethiopian government and its partners should support investigations into violations of international law by all parties to the conflict in addition to transitional justice measures such as a forum for people to recount their experiences.

“Over the past two years, impunity for serious crimes has taken root and driven further abuses,” Kaneza Nantulya said. “Ethiopia’s partners and the agreement’s backers need to make clear that accountability for the gravest crimes will remain on the agenda so the countless victims of this heinous war can obtain a measure of justice.”

 

Source: Human Rights Watch

Cabinet welcomes Spanish visit and Ethiopia-Tigray peace talks

The South African Cabinet has welcomed the Official Visit to South Africa by Spanish President Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón at the Union Buildings in Pretoria, last month.

Cabinet believes that the visit solidified the already strong relations between the two countries.

The Spanish Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism, Reyes Maroto, and a business delegation accompanied the President.

“The visit created opportunities for various South African sectors to meet with their Spanish counterparts and to deepen cooperation in trade and investment, science and innovation, arts and culture, sports and education,” the Cabinet Statement read.

This visit, according to the Cabinet, provided another boost to the country’s investment and economic growth drive.

Meanwhile, South Africa, under the auspices of the African Union (AU), hosted formal peace talks between the warring sides in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, from Oct 25 to 30.

The Ethiopian government and the northern Tigray regions signed an agreement on Wednesday to end a two-year war that has claimed thousands of lives and caused many to flee.

The High Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission, Olusegun Obasanjo, was briefing the media in Pretoria regarding the AU-led negotiations to resolve the conflict in Ethiopia.

Obasanjo described the truce as a beginning of a new dawn for Ethiopia, and Africa as a whole.

Cabinet has since expressed its support for a peaceful and sustainable solution to the conflict, in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent.

“It remains confident that there will be positive outcomes from these talks.”

Nigeria’s former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Kenya’s former President Uhuru Kenyatta and South Africa’s former Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka facilitated the dialogue.

 

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Ethiopia-Tigray crisis: Humanitarians ready Tigray relief convoys as war stops – UN

Humanitarians in northern Ethiopia seek the green light to resume aid convoys following the peace accord announcement ending almost two years of war, a UN spokesman said.

“Our colleagues are in contact with the government of Ethiopia and others to resume, as soon as possible, the movement of aid convoys and personnel to Mekelle and Shire,” said Stephane Dujarric, the chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, referring to cities in the troubled northernmost Tigray region.

Travel by road through the neighboring Afar region into Mekelle, the capital city of Tigray, was halted on Aug 24 because of fighting.

“Our humanitarian colleagues tell us that critical supplies, including food, nutrition items and medicines, are running very low in Tigray,” Dujarric said. “We, along with our humanitarian partners, continue to distribute aid using the remaining stocks in the region, and we started to assist those who are currently in accessible areas.”

Last week, about 189,000 newly displaced people in the Northwestern Zone of Tigray were assisted with food, and around 6,000 displaced people from Afar received food assistance in the Southeastern Zone. Food distribution also started in Mekelle last week, targeting about 500,000 people, he said.

In neighboring Amhara and Afar, humanitarian partners continue to respond to humanitarian needs, including in places where displaced people return to their homes, as access has improved allowing humanitarian partners to reach areas that were so far inaccessible, he said.

In Afar, humanitarian partners reached more than 613,000 people, or 94 percent, of the targeted population, with food assistance for the current food distribution round. In Amhara, more than 2.1 million people received food assistance last week, said Dujarric.

However, substantial response gaps remain in other sectors mainly due to a lack of resources, including water, food, non-food items, health, and education support, he noted.

The peace agreement was signed Wednesday in South Africa between the federal government of Ethiopia and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front, ending fighting that broke out in November 2020.

 

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Rights Group Calls Ethiopian, Tigrayan Truce a ‘Crucial Opportunity’

Human Rights Watch said Friday that a truce reached by Ethiopia and Tigrayan authorities earlier in the week “provides a crucial opportunity for immediate and rigorous international monitoring to avert further atrocities and a humanitarian catastrophe.”

The cessation of hostilities agreement was reached Wednesday after 10 days of talks in Pretoria, South Africa, mediated by the African Union and led by former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo.

Friday marks two years since war broke out in Ethiopia’s Tigray region between Tigrayan forces and the federal government and its regional allies, including neighboring Eritrea.

“International scrutiny will be key to ensuring that the warring parties, which committed widespread abuses, don’t prolong the harm to the civilian population,” said Carine Kaneza Nantulya, deputy Africa director at Human Rights Watch.

The organization said it has documented “serious violations of the laws of war and human rights abuses by all parties to the conflict, including extrajudicial killings, rape and sexual violence, unlawful shelling and airstrikes, and pillage.”

HRW said, “Tigrayan forces have also killed civilians and been responsible for sexual violence, and looting and destruction of property.”

In addition, Human Rights Watch said that along with Amnesty International, the two human rights groups have also documented in the Western Tigray Zone “an ethnic cleansing campaign against the Tigrayan population by Amhara regional forces and militias, at times with the participation of Ethiopian federal forces.”

Human Rights Watch said the agreement that it has seen “does not explicitly mention the situation for civilians in Western Tigray. … The warring parties should facilitate immediate and safe access for international humanitarian agencies – including to formal and informal detention sites without prior notification.”

The deal calls for the Tigray rebel group to lay down its arms in exchange for reintegration and the return of the national army to the region. With mistrust on both sides, experts say this part of the agreement may be difficult to fulfill.

The warring factions also agreed to end hate speech that has fueled much of the 2-year-old conflict.

The agreement is seen as a major breakthrough after the warring sides had failed to come to the table to find ways to end the war that has claimed the lives of tens of thousands and displaced millions.

Human Rights Watch said key backers of the agreement should prioritize protecting civilians, press for robust monitoring, and ensure that the Ethiopian government and Tigrayan authorities fully carry out their rights commitments.

 

Source: Voice of America

Aid Groups Ready to Deliver Aid to Tigray After Cease-fire

ADDIS ABABA, ETHIOPIA — Aid groups say they are ready to deliver much-needed food and medicine to Ethiopia’s northern Tigray region after the warring sides agreed to a cease-fire Wednesday.

The deal between the Tigray rebels and Ethiopia’s government commits federal officials to ensuring “unhindered humanitarian access” to Tigray, which is in the grip of one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises.

Some 5 million people there need humanitarian assistance, while doctors at the region’s flagship Ayder Hospital say they have run out of medicines to treat sick patients.

Representatives of the World Food Program and the International Committee of the Red Cross told VOA their organizations were ready to send trucks carrying aid supplies into Tigray but have not been given the green light by the federal government.

Jude Fuhnwi, a spokesperson for the ICRC in Ethiopia, welcomed the signing of the deal Wednesday, saying the conflict has caused “vast civilian suffering” since it broke out two years ago.

“The ICRC remains committed to supporting the population of northern Ethiopia. And we have already made the necessary preparations to immediately dispatch our next humanitarian supplies by air and by road, as soon as the humanitarian routes are open,” Fuhnwi said.

Roughly one-third of children and three quarters of lactating mothers screened for malnutrition in Tigray last week displayed signs of malnourishment.

Meanwhile, fighting has displaced around half a million people in northwestern Tigray. Most of them are cut off from aid distributions.

On Thursday, a spokesperson for the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs told reporters that they “are in contact with the government of Ethiopia and others to resume the movement of aid convoys and personnel” to the cities of Mekelle and Shire.

Aid deliveries to Tigray have been severely restricted since the war in northern Ethiopia began. No aid trucks have entered the region since fresh fighting erupted on August 24.

Aid deliveries have resumed to parts of the Amhara and Afar regions next to Tigray that were also affected by the fighting.

 

Source: Voice of America