Ato Hailemariam meets Sudan’s Foreign Minister and the UK’s Representative on Sudan
At the weekend, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, met with the Foreign Minister of the Republic of the Sudan, Mr. Ali Karti. Mr. Karti was in Addis Ababa to attend a meeting of the AU Consultative Forum on Sudan. His discussions with Ato Hailemariam covered both bilateral and regional issues, and both ministers reiterated their governments’ appreciation on the current level of bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding. Both, however, expressed the need to cooperate further in the economic field, to organize business-to-business council relationships and increase exchanges of trade. Mr. Karti noted that Ethiopia and the Sudan had good resources, extensive opportunities, and a real willingness to work together and further expand their potential over a wide range of bilateral cooperation. Ato Hailemariam expressed his satisfaction with the existing excellent relations and the current fruitful bilateral cooperation. He commended the work of the Joint Ministerial Commission and the Joint Border Development Commission. These bilateral bodies meet bi-annually and annually respectively to review the status of their cooperation and identify further areas of mutual interest.
Ato Hailemariam emphasized that since Ethiopia shared a border both with the south and the north of Sudan, it believed that whatever affects the Sudan will affect Ethiopia in the same manner. Ethiopia considers the issue of the Sudan as a priority to which it is giving serious attention. He stressed that the two parties needed to make progress on the issue of Abyie which demands an amicable solution. He reiterated that the CPA remains the only framework to resolving the problems in accordance with the spirit and letter of the agreement. Ato Hailemariam also noted that as Sudan was a member of the Arab League, Ethiopia would like to see it encourage the organization to further support the TFG and help address the problems posed by Al-Shabaab. Ethiopia and Sudan are important regional states and could play significant roles in the consolidation of peace in the sub-region and strengthen regional integration.
Minister Karti made it clear that whatever the outcome of the referendums, Sudan would remain a reliable partner for Ethiopia. He appreciated the role being played by Ethiopia as a neutral actor over the Sudan issue, and by the African Union, as a mediator and a facilitator. He said that the effort by Africans to help the Sudanese parties resolve their problems is a clear demonstration that Africans are capable of resolving their problems by themselves. On regional issues, Mr. Karti reiterated the readiness of the Sudanese government to contribute in resolving the crises in Somalia, and he commended the efforts made by Ethiopia to resolve the problems there. Both Ministers reiterated the need to work to promote peace and stability in the sub-region. They emphasized the need to further coordinate their activities in different forums such as IGAD, the Sana’a Cooperation Forum and the African Union to ensure peace and stability in the region as well as in Africa itself.
Meanwhile, Ato Hailemariam also met Mr. Michael Rayder, the UK Senior Representative for the Sudan on November 6th, exchanging views on the ongoing developments in the Sudan, the current situation in the Horn of Africa, and other regional and global issues. Mr. Rayder appreciated Ethiopia’s contributions to peace in the Horn of Africa and emphasized the importance of cooperation in combating terrorism in the region. He also noted the commitment of the Ethiopian government in assisting both parties to break the deadlock on the Abyei negotiations and on post-referendum arrangements. Ethiopia, he said, had earned the trust and confidence of both parties to the CPA to help resolve remaining critical issues amicably, and he expressed the UK’s readiness to closely work with Ethiopia towards the realization of the CPA. He commended Ethiopia’s efforts to bring the two parties together to ensure a peaceful January Referendum. Abyie was becoming increasingly contentious but must be resolved peacefully on the basis of the CPA and the rulings of the Permanent Court of Arbitration.
Ato Hailemariam expressed Ethiopia’s appreciation to the government and the people of the UK for their continuous support to Ethiopia’s fight against poverty. He stressed Ethiopia’s commitment to ensure peace in the Sudan and IGAD’s efforts to contribute to the successful completion of the referendum. He thanked the UK for its interest in the Sudan, particularly during The UK’s Presidency of the UN Security Council. The Deputy Prime Minister noted that Ethiopia had been careful to remain balanced on Sudan, and as a result had the trust of both parties. It would continue to encourage both parties to ensure the peaceful and successful conduct of the January Referendum in the interests of the peace and stability in the Sudan and in the sub region. On Somalia, Minister Hailemariam stressed that the absence of peace and security not only destabilized the sub-region, but also had a much wider impact because of the threat of terrorism and piracy.
The AU’s Second Consultative Forum meeting on the Sudan
The second meeting of the Sudan Consultative Forum took place on November 6th at the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa. The meeting was co-chaired by Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Peace and Security Commission chairman, and Mr. Alain Le Roy, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations. Also present was the Chairperson of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel on Sudan, former South African President, Thabo Mbeki. Representatives from countries neighboring Sudan, permanent members and African non-permanent members of the UN Security Council, of IGAD, the League of Arab States, the Islamic Conference, the European Union and from Canada, Denmark, Germany, Italy, Japan and Sweden also attended the meeting. The Sudan Consultative Forum was established following a decision of the AU Peace and Security Council to provide coordinated international support to the ongoing peace processes in Sudan, its democratic transformation, the implementation of the remaining provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and the search for an inclusive agreement to promote lasting peace, justice and reconciliation in Darfur. Its first meeting was held in Khartoum in July.
This second meeting heard presentations from the Sudanese Parties as well as briefings from representatives of the United Nations Mission in the Sudan (UNMIS), the Joint AU-UN mission in Darfur (UNAMID), the AU/UN Joint Mediator, and the African High Level Implementation Panel on the Sudan (AUHIP). Ambassador Berhane Gebre-Christos, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia, the chair of IGAD, made a statement emphasizing the critical importance of Sudan to the region, the continent and the international community. Acknowledging the bold and decisive measures taken by the parties to implement the CPA, Ambassador Berhane underlined on the importance of encouraging both parties to resolve all outstanding and critical issues in the short time available in order to avoid the disastrous consequences of failure.The meeting noted the critical juncture in which the Sudan finds itself. It encouraged the Sudanese Parties to demonstrate the exceptional leadership and commitment required to resolve the outstanding issues including security, Abyei and border demarcation. It welcomed the commitment expressed by the Sudanese Parties to reach an agreement to ensure the successful conclusion of the implementation process of the CPA, but urged them to maintain their commitment to respect the outcome of the referendum and ensure a subsequent peaceful and stable Sudan.
On Darfur, the Forum noted the progress made in peace negotiations under the auspices of the state of Qatar and the AU-UN Joint Mediation, in bringing parties to the negotiating table, but regretted the continued absence of the Justice and Equality Movement and the Sudan Liberation Movement from the peace talks. It urged these parties to participate immediately and without conditions in the Doha Talks. The meeting agreed the Doha outcome should be the point of departure for the initial meeting of the Darfur Political Process. The meeting called upon the Government of the Sudan to create conducive environment for the political process in Darfur, and upon all the Darfur communities, stakeholders, parties and armed movements to participate in the inclusive negotiations.
The transitional tasks still need a lot of work
The transitional period of the TFG, due to end in August 2011, has only just nine months to go. There is a lot to be accomplished in these remaining months and completion is going to be an uphill struggle. Among the major elements that need to be dealt with in this limited time are finalizing the draft constitution and preparing the laws for the setting up of parties and for elections. There is a very obvious need for concerted and coordinated moves by all concerned and in particular by the TFG which will have to get its act together and move forward urgently. The most immediate task now is of course the announcement of the new cabinet line-up which then has to be endorsed by the Transitional Federal Parliament. This is the first stage to enable the TFG move forward to accomplish these transitional tasks.
In the meantime, the TFG has expressed its appreciation for the work achieved by the Puntland administration in its struggle against the extremist groups, led by Sheikh ‘Atom’ which were hiding in the Galgala mountains. Puntland security has succeeded in removing the threat posed by this terrorist group, at least for the time being. It was in early August that Puntland troops first launched a massive military offensive in the Galgala area roughly 60km southwest of Bosasso, Puntland’s port city. The Puntland authorities have now declared that they have seized all of the militants’ training camps and strongholds in the Galgala, and according to President Farole Atom’s fighters have now fled the Galgala area.
This is a welcome development but the accusations and counter-accusations that are being made between Puntland and Somaliland on the issue of the Galgala terrorists are less welcome and certainly unnecessary as are any references to the issue of Sool and Sanaag, the regions disputed between Somaliland and Puntland. Although Puntland has pointed a finger at the role of Somaliland, Somaliland has made it very clear that it will strongly oppose any terrorists including the Galgala group. Mr. Abdullahi Geljire, the Information Minister of Somaliland, has spoken very clearly on the Galgala conflict: “We consider Atom to be a terrorist and we will hunt him down if he sets foot inside Somaliland.” Earlier, Puntland and Somaliland had begun to co-operate on security issues, and since Al-Shabaab has made it clear it regards itself as the enemy of both administrations, they should redouble their efforts to coordinate their activities further in this regard. Following its recent serious setback in Mogadishu at the hands of the TFG and AMISOM, Al-Shabaab appears to be looking for an easy victory somewhere else. Somaliland and Puntland are relatively easy targets, and there is an obvious need for strong cooperation and coordination between the two administrations against their common enemy as well the need to find a satisfactory mechanism to sort out their differences amicably.
In another development, the newly elected President of Somaliland, Ahmed Mahmoud Silanyo, is expected to arrive in Addis Ababa on November 18th. During his visit the new leader will be meeting with senior Ethiopian government officials and will hold extensive discussions on bilateral and regional issues of common concern. Following his defeat in the recent elections in Somaliland, Dahir Riyale Kahin handed over power to the newly elected government in an impressively orderly and smooth transition. The international community now appears to be showing more interest in supporting these recent and positive developments in Somaliland.
UNDP: Ethiopia among the “Top Movers” in Human Development
Ethiopia’s recent and impressive economic and social development has won international recognition. In recognition of the efforts of the people and government, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has put Ethiopia among the world’s “top movers” in its Human Development Index (HDI). In its 2010 report, “The Real Wealth of Nations: Pathways to Human Development”, the UNDP has ranked Ethiopia 11th globally in terms of “improvements in HDI” over the last four decades. Only Oman, China, Nepal, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Laos PDR, Tunisia, South Korea, Algeria and Morocco fared better than Ethiopia. Ethiopia tops the list of sub-Saharan countries that have made progress in HDI improvements. In fact, only three other sub-Saharan states, Botswana (14th), Benin (18th), and Burkina Faso (25th), are in the top 25 positions of the list of 135 countries. The Report attributes the significant gains these countries have made in their respective HDI scales to a marked expansion of education and health care services. Ethiopia’s performance in the “non-income HDI”, an index that excludes economic performance, is actually even more impressive, being ranked at 8th!
The report defines HDI as a “composite measure of achievement in three basic dimensions of human development, a long and healthy life, access to knowledge, and a decent standard of living.” By any measure, this demonstrates tremendous achievement by Ethiopia, but the facts do need to be viewed in the right context. The forty-year time frame, from 1970 to 2010, coincides with two sharply contrasting periods in recent Ethiopian history: the period of regression characterized by instability, war and displacement during the military regime between 1974 and 1991, as well as the subsequent period of peace, hope and development from 1991 to the present. So a forty-year retrospective measurement of Ethiopia’s HDI progress actually conceals the improvements the country has demonstrated in the last twenty years, and even more in the last decade when development has taken off. This success story might come as a surprise to external observers, but not to our partners and to genuine independent analysts. At no time in its previous history has Ethiopia placed development at the center of its agenda, nor had a government fully committed to economic progress and social development.
The report is significant for Ethiopia in more ways than one. First, such an achievement reaffirms the appropriateness of our policies and strategies. It gives us the confidence that we are indeed on the right development path. Second, it provides predictions for a better performance in the future, and can re-energize us to do more with less. Thirdly, such a recognition instills the “can do” spirit in a society which has for millennia considered poverty and underdevelopment the work of God, not government. If we can move this fast with our meager resources, how much better will we be able to do with even more generous financial and material support from our development partners? The eradication of the great enemies – poverty, illiteracy and disease – within the time frame of the Millennium Development Goals cannot be impossible.
The UNDP Report also highlighted the ebb and flow of the search for representative measures of human development. The main thrust in the search for a better and more comprehensive alternative to the traditional Gross National Product (GNP) came about twenty years ago when the first HDI was published. While GNP measures performance solely on the basis of income, the HDI embraces other factors, including education and life expectancy. Since then, income, education and public health indicators have become the most important determinants of the HDI, and recognition of “the huge breadth” of human development underlines the need to measure a country’s performance along a diverse set of criteria.
While factoring these elements into the index was once considered an innovation, the quest for a better approach to reflect progress in human development has remained undiminished. When celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first publication of the HDI, UNDP has come up with a new perspective to human development. The 2010 Report has included some other “experimental” measures of equity: the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index, the Gender Inequality Index and the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index. These all amount to a stark message to public policy makers across the globe that no country can lay claim to being ‘developed’ without bridging the chasm between the haves and have-nots or the perpetual disparity between men and women. Moreover, additional measures are in the pipeline. In the report’s introductory remarks, Helen Clarke, UNDP Executive Director, has hinted at the prospect of incorporating into the HDI some even “more difficult issues, including the increasingly critical area of sustainability, as well as inequality and broader notions of empowerment.” These will certainly provide for an even more complete analysis of development. On the basis of past efforts, and on the new Growth and Transformation Plan, we are confident that Ethiopia is moving on a path which will enable it to continue its place in any such measures of development and progress.
Core Principles of Ethiopia’s foreign Policy: Ethiopia-Kuwait relations
Formal diplomatic relations only started between Ethiopia and Kuwait in 1967, but the people of both nations have known each other for many years. Historical and cultural relations between the two served as a spring board for relations to improve at various times. Indeed, both countries share the same traditional and cultural values that still prevail in both Ethiopia and Kuwait. Respective embassies, in fact, were only opened in 1997, underlining the fact that the blossoming of relations only came after the downfall of the military regime of the Derg, and after the EPRDF’s coming to power. A series of high level visits, by Prime Minister Meles, Foreign Minister Seyoum and other officials from Ethiopia, and by Sheikh Nasser, Prime Minister of the State of Kuwait, by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister,Sheikh Mohamed, and others from Kuwait, have taken place at various times. Among other things, the exchange of visits has resulted in signing of a number of different agreements and the establishment of a Joint Ministerial Commission to provide for a follow-up mechanism, for implementation of agreements.
Economic relations between the two sisterly countries have been gaining momentum recently. Ethiopia and Kuwait have, of course, been trading with each other long before any trade agreements were signed. Before 1997 the balance of trade was in favor of Ethiopia. These days, however, the volume of trade amounting to over 41 million birr is in favor of Kuwait. The amount, however, is not up to the expectations of either country. There are ample opportunities for very considerable improvement in business links between Ethiopia and Kuwait, provided we work together on the principles of comparative advantage for each others’ benefit. The products of both countries are not competitive but rather supplement each other; and our proximity should be another factor encouraging improved trade relations.
The Kuwaiti Government has put in place mechanisms to encourage for Kuwait nationals to invest in Ethiopia. It is another sign of Kuwait’s goodwill and cooperation with the people and Government of Ethiopia. Kuwaiti investors have now started to look towards Ethiopia and can be expected to increase the size and volume of projects in Ethiopia, but we have to admit that both countries could do more to attract tourists from Kuwait to Ethiopia.
Another manifestation of the State of Kuwait’s assistance to Ethiopia’s development efforts has been its willingness to provide jet fuel to Ethiopia on a loan basis. Similarly, Kuwait’s contribution to the development efforts of Ethiopia, in infrastructural development, electrification of rural areas and other projects, is a clear sign of Kuwait’s benevolence towards the people and Government of Ethiopia. It is also an assurance of the acceptance of the values of a partnership based on mutual benefit and respect. Today, there are thousands of Ethiopians who live and work in Kuwait, and Kuwait has played an exemplary role in signing a Labor Agreement to protect the rights of Ethiopians living and working in Kuwait. This is certainly another manifestation of sincere friendship based on equality and brotherhood. Ethiopia values this very highly. It is, indeed, committed to bolstering such attitudes both with Kuwait and with others in the region and elsewhere.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs