The 19th IGAD Extraordinary Summit on Somalia and Sudan
Today’s Extraordinary Summit of IGAD Heads of State and Government, chaired by Prime Minister Meles, the current chair of IGAD, was attended by President Ismail Omar Guelleh of Djibouti, President Mwai Kibaki of Kenya and President Sheikh Sharif of Somalia. Also present were the State Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sudan, South Sudan’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Investment and the Minister of Defence of Uganda as well as the Engineer Mahboub Maalim, IGAD’s Executive Secretary, Ambassador Ramtane Lamamra, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, the AU’s High Representative for Somalia, Jerry Rawlings, and the Special Representative of the Chairperson of the AU Commission for Somalia, Boubacar Diarra. South Sudan was admitted to the regional bloc during the meeting.
The Summit discussed the current political and security situation in Somalia and the AU brief on the implementation of the outstanding issues of the Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement. It heard from President Sheikh Sharif on the situation in Somalia and was briefed by President Kibaki on Kenya’s security operations in pursuit of Al-Shabaab as well as by Commissioner Lamamra and Jerry Rawlings. It took note of the gains made by TFG forces, by AMISOM and by the Kenyan Defence Forces (KDF) and considered the decisions of the Ministers of Defence and Chiefs of Defence Staffs of troops contributing countries in consultative meetings during the last three months. The Summit therefore welcomed the joint security operations of the Kenyan Defence Forces and the TFG forces, and said it understood, appreciated and supported the joint operation as a unique opportunity to consolidate the gains made. It emphasized the need for regional consolidation and enhanced coordination between AMISOM, the TFG and KDF. It stressed the need for enhanced engagement by IGAD and the AU to galvanize international support for the ongoing operations. It also called on the Ethiopian government to continue to support the Kenyan, TFG, AMISOM operation, and for Kenya to consider the prospects of integrating its forces in AMISOM.
The Summit communiqué paid tribute to the TFG forces, to AMISOM and the troop contributing countries for their continued sacrifices. It urged that an audit of threats to Mogadishu and the requirements needed to deal with these should be carried out in order to assess appropriate deployment to all liberated areas. It urged the TFG to take advantage of the expanded liberated areas to foster security and enhance reconciliation. It reiterated IGAD’s commitment to continue to support the Djibouti Peace Process, the Kampala Accord and the Roadmap. It welcomed Djibouti’s decision to provide troops for AMISOM by the end of the year and called on other countries to fulfil their pledges urgently to enable AMISOM to consolidate security beyond Mogadishu.
It also called on the UN Security Council to enhance the mandate of AMISOM and authorize strengthening it to a level appropriate for the consolidation of peace and security in Somalia. It directed the chairperson of the Council of Ministers to make arrangement to ensure continuous consultations of IGAD Chiefs of Defence Staffs and military experts on how to support the process of coordination on the ground, and reiterated the need to sustain support to the TFG security forces and AMISOM to secure safe corridors for humanitarian assistance.
On Sudanese issues, the Summit strongly urged the Governments of Sudan and South Sudan to urgently resume negotiations and expedite implementation of outstanding issues of the CPA, and commended Ethiopia’s role in providing peacekeeping force in Abyei. It demanded the Government of Eritrea release all Djiboutian prisoners of war, and condemned the Government of Eritrea for its continuing supply of ammunitions to extremist groups, particularly Al-Shabaab.
In advance of the Summit yesterday, Prime Minister Meles held talks with President Sheikh Sharif of Somalia after he arrived in Addis Ababa. The Prime Minister underlined that Ethiopia would strengthen its support to the TFG and would work closely with the TFG to eliminate Al-Shabaab.
There was a lot of speculation last weekend that Ethiopia would be sending troops to Somalia again and indeed that Ethiopian troops had already entered Somalia and claims that troops had been seen crossing the border. The Ethiopian government, however, made it quite clear that the reports last weekend that Ethiopian forces had crossed into parts of Somalia along their common border was “absolutely not true”. There were no Ethiopian troops inside Somalia and although there has been speculation that Ethiopia might send troops to Somalia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has emphasized that no decision could be made in advance of the IGAD Summit. A TFG spokesman also denied that any Ethiopian troops were inside Somalia, though Defence Minister, Hussein Arab Issa, said the TFG would welcome anyone who will help fight against Al-Shabaab. At the same time, Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Ato Hailemariam Desalegn, said on Wednesday that Ethiopia would be prepared to further strengthen its ongoing all-rounded support to Somalia through IGAD.
Meanwhile, Kenyan forces continued their operations in Lower Juba, with planes and warships in action at the weekend to assist TFG forces destroying two Al-Shabaab training camps at Hola Wajeer in Badade District of Lower Juba. Kenya’s military spokesman said the two camps were also used by Al Qaeda and to accommodate foreign fighters. Colonel Oguna of the Kenyan Defence Ministry said that the Kenyan forces were benefitting substantially from information and intelligence being provided by people liberated from Al-Shabaab control.
Former President Rawlings, the AU Special Envoy for Somalia suggested this week that the TFG and others involved in the struggle against Al-Shabaab should be prepared to negotiate with “combatant elements who would want to put aside their weapons and talk politics.” At a press conference in Nairobi he suggested that “an opening for them to come on board politically” should be created. TFG Prime Minister, Dr. Abdiweli Mohamed Ali said in September that the government was open to talks with Al-Shabaab commanders, and that informal talks had been held. The AU Special Envoy said every effort should be made to reduce the number of civilian casualties and to reach out to the political leadership to harmonize the developing peace situation with political ambitions.
The UN’s Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit has said that famine no longer exists in three of the worst-affected areas of Somalia following the intervention of aid agencies. Bay, Bakool and Lower Shebelle are no longer classified as famine zones, but a quarter of a million people still face immanent starvation. The three areas of Middle Shebelle, Afgoye and the Mogadishu camps for displaced people are still considered to be suffering from famine. Although the rains have come, Mark Bowden, the UN Humanitarian Affairs Coordinator, still sees Somalia as the most critical situation in the world even though there have been some reductions in rates of malnutrition and of mortality. The head of the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization office in Somalia says this is just the beginning of a phase of potential recovery “if everything goes well”. It is likely to be a year before anyone can be sure that the danger from famine has passed.
Prime Minister Meles visiting South Korea next week
Prime Minister Meles will be visiting South Korea next week at the invitation of President Lee Myung-bak who visited Ethiopia in July. Prime Minister Meles will be holding talks on bilateral economic relations and trade cooperation as well as other issues. He will also be meeting major Korean economic organizations in order to encourage more South Korean investment in Ethiopia. Prime Minister Meles will also be attending the 4th High Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness which is being held November 29th to December 1st in the city of Busan. The principles for effective aid delivery were outlined at the first conference at Rome in 2002, and three years later at Paris, donors and recipients agreed five fundamental principles to make aid more effective: ownership, alignment, harmonisation, results, and mutual accountability. Civil society participated in the third conference in Accra in 2008 and an Accra Agenda for Action set the agenda for accelerated advancement of the Paris targets, proposing improvements in ownership, partnerships and delivery of results. It also launched the International Aid Transparency Initiative. Busan will consider whether sufficient progress is being made. It isn’t and the conference is expected to push for a broader and deeper partnership at all levels of development, a set of effectiveness principles and a revitalized global effort to reach the Millennium Development Goals. It will also involve recognition that the poorest and most fragile states need security, capacity and special consideration, that achieving results must be based on policies, laws and institutional arrangements that encourage direct participation by everybody in the development process, and that all participants in development should be mutually accountable in producing and measuring results.
A study just published by the “Publish What You Fund” aid watchdog finds that most international aid donors are still no open enough about their aid programmes and some offer no information at all. The study ranked 58 aid giving countries and organizations according to their openness. In fact, no donor was classified as better than fair – top of the list was the World Bank’s International Development Association and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development which supplied 78% of the information requested. “Publish What You Fund” describes the results as very disappointing. It says the lack of transparency leads to waste, overlap, and inefficiency. It impedes efforts to improve governance and reduce corruption and makes it hard to measure results. “At a time when overseas aid budgets are under pressure, transparency and accountability matter more than ever.” Equally, it would help recipient nations to know what the aid allocation and procurement policies of donors actually are.
The EU’s new political strategy for the Horn of Africa
On Monday last week, November 14th, the Council of the European Union adopted a new Strategic Framework for EU engagement with the Horn of Africa – covering the countries belonging to IGAD, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda. The EU High Representative is also going to appoint an EU Special Representative (EUSR) for the Horn of Africa, whose work will focus in the first instance on Somalia and the regional dimension of conflict and piracy. The appointment will also look forward to the development of action plans to support implementation of the Strategic Framework.
The Framework underlines that the EU’s long-term commitment to the Horn of Africa is rooted in the region’s geo-strategic importance and the EU’s desire to support the welfare of the people of the Horn and to help lift them from poverty. It notes that instability in the region poses a growing challenge to the security of the people in the region and to the rest of the world. It will allow the EU to cooperate with and support both regional efforts, through IGAD and the AU, and national efforts to achieve lasting peace, security and justice and good governance based on the democratic principles of inclusion, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The Strategic Framework also identifies a number of common challenges such as climate change and migration. It emphasises that the EU remains deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis affecting several countries in the Horn of Africa. Building on existing support provided to date (over € 760 million) it will continue to provide humanitarian assistance.
The Framework highlights the need to address the underlying causes of the current humanitarian crisis in the region. It stresses the EU will continue to support the countries of the region in strengthening their national capacities through disaster risk reduction strategies and long-term development cooperation programmes in the areas of drought-preparedness, agriculture, rural development and food security. Equally, it notes that effectiveness of such support is dependent upon local ownership and the political commitment of the countries of the region to put structural policies in place to support sustainable agricultural and livestock production, covering cross-border movements, natural resource management, and in particular water resources, as well as trade and regional integration.
The Framework also acknowledges the threat of piracy and its continued impact on international maritime security and regional and international economic activities, and the EU Council emphasizes that it remains committed to the EU naval counter-piracy operation, EUNAVFOR Atalanta, which provides protection to World Food Programme and AMISOM shipping. The EU will continue to work to enhance the capacity of Somalia and the wider Horn of Africa region to fight piracy, including through further strengthening of maritime capacities as well as prosecution and detention capacities. It will work towards the tracking of financial flows from piracy.
The EU’s engagement in the Horn will be supportive of a regional and country-level environment conducive to peace, security and justice, of good governance based on the democratic principles of inclusion, the rule of law and respect for human rights, and of socio-economic development based on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with due consideration to equity, climate change and sustainable livelihoods.
To achieve the objectives of peace, stability, security, prosperity and accountable government, the Framework notes that the EU will assist all countries in the region to build robust and accountable political structures, including civil and civic institutions, allowing the people of the Horn to express their legitimate political aspirations and ensure that their basic human rights and freedoms are respected. It will work with the countries of the region and with international organisations (especially the United Nations and African Union) to resolve current conflicts, particularly in Somalia and Sudan, and avoid future potential conflicts between or within countries. It will ensure that insecurity in the region does not threaten the security of others beyond its borders, for example through piracy, terrorism or irregular migration. It will support efforts to promote the economic growth of all countries and people in the region, to enable them to reduce poverty and increase prosperity, and support political and economic regional cooperation and bolster the role of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs).
The Framework proposes a number of ways the EU can pursue this strategic approach in partnership with the countries of the region itself and other key partners. It identifies areas for action, but specific actions, in the form of sub-strategies and action plans, will be subject to subsequent decisions by the Commission, Council and Member States. The High Representative and the European External Action Service (EEAS), the EUSR, EU Delegations in the region, the European Commission and Member States will work together to implement this Framework.
In terms of the future direction of EU activities, addressing the interlocking challenges of the region, the Framework stresses the EU will work specifically in the following areas: democratic and accountable state structures; peace, security, conflict prevention and resolution; mitigation of the effects of insecurity; poverty reduction, economic growth and prosperity; and regional cooperation.
The Framework underlines that the EU will pursue its objectives through strengthening existing partnerships and through building new ones with the countries of the region and civil society, through the Cotonou Agreement. It specifically notes that this should include countries of the Arabian peninsula, in particular Yemen whose proximity means that developments and challenges can spill out across the Bab-el-Mandeb straits as well as with other countries to assist in capacity building on the rule of law, criminal justice, counter-radicalisation, terrorist financing in the region and conflict resolution. It emphasises that the EU will cooperate with regional and international organisations, especially the AU and the UN, and also with COMESA, EAC and IGAD and other bodies on regional cooperation in trade, conflict prevention and other areas of mutual concern.
Eritrea calls for yet another ‘independent investigation’
Eritrea’s Foreign Minister has written a letter to the UN Security Council protesting what he claimed were “serious and unfounded accusations.” He was, of course, referring to the claim that Eritrea has recently delivered three plane loads of arms to Al-Shabaab in Baidoa. The Foreign Minister laments over what his government sees as Kenya’s failure to respond “positively to the Eritrean gesture” to reassure Kenya that the claims “were utterly baseless and pure fabrication.” There is, of course, nothing surprising about Eritrea’s protestations of innocence, but it is not entirely clear if indeed the Minister was serious about his efforts to “reassure” the Kenyans of Eritrea’s innocence. As we mentioned last week, the Eritrean regime’s Ambassador to Kenya confined himself to making all kinds of accusations against Ethiopia rather than addressing the matter directly.
What is more surprising in the Foreign Minister’s letter to the UN Security Council is the request that the UN Security Council make “an independent and impartial investigation into the matter.” For good measure the letter adds that “if the investigation determines that there is no basis whatsoever to the very serious and harmful accusations by the Government of Kenya” the UN Security Council should “take action that would redress the injustice suffered by the people and Government of Eritrea.” He even goes so far as to call Kenya’s claim a “defamation of a UN member state” that should not be “indulged in with impunity”, given “its negative implications for regional peace and stability.”
There are some issues we would like to raise here. Eritrea is calling for an “independent investigation” into a matter the outcome of which the regime has already prejudged to be in its own favor. This is unexpected coming as it does from a regime which has consistently proved to be impervious to any and all criticisms against it. If independent investigations and their outcome were in fact palatable to the regime, it would have long ago accepted the UN Monitoring Group’s report and made a long overdue effort to mend its ways. So it is not entirely clear what sort of “independent investigation” the Eritrean Government is calling on the Security Council to establish or what sort of findings Eritrea would accept. The truth of the matter is that Eritrea is not prepared to listen to anything except monologues in its support.
The second point concerns the Minister’s call for the “redress of the injustice suffered by the people and government of Eritrea” as a result of Kenya’s “defamation”. For a regime that has for over a decade and a half been involved in countless acts of destabilization to complain about being called by appropriate names as some kind of injustice is pure nonsense. A claim can only be considered as act of defamation if it isn’t true. That’s actually beside the point. What the Eritrean Foreign Minister is trying to do is to play the underdog card once again and portray Eritrea as the victim of a concerted campaign by the international community. The Minister warns in his letter that the international community’s failure to redress this “injustice” will have “negative implications for regional peace and security.” This implied threat is rather closer to the truth about the regime’s behaviour than its call for any “independent investigation” or its claims of “injustice.” As before, Eritrea is clinging to its claims of innocence, despite the mountains of evidence to the contrary. By calling on the Security Council to conduct yet another investigation and making hysterical claims of suffering injustice the regime is repeating its old trick of trying to deflect the international community’s attention away from the attempted chaos that is being authored and engineered by the regime.
News and Views:
The AU declares the Lord’s Resistance Army a terrorist group
The African Union this week formally declared the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) a terrorist group. The AU Peace and Security Council issued a communiqué on Tuesday designating the LRA as a terrorist group and authorizing a regional cooperation initiative to eliminate it. This is the first time the AU has designated any organization and it has urged the United Nations Security Council to follow suit. The move follows a decision last month by US President Barak Obama to send a hundred US military personnel to Uganda to help in efforts to crush the LRA and capture its leader Joseph Kony who was indicted on war crimes charges by the International Criminal Court as long ago as 2005. The AU Peace and Security Commissioner, Ramtane Lamamra said the initiative was designed to finish off a group notorious for over two decades of killings, rapes and kidnapping of children in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. The following day, Dr. Jean Ping, AU Commission Chairman appointed Francisco Caetano Jose Madeira as AU Special Representative in charge of Counter-Terrorism Co-operation and Director of the Algiers based African Center of the Study and Research on Terrorism. The AU noted that in this capacity, Ambassador Madeira would provide overall political and strategic co-ordination of operations against the LRA. His efforts would also focus on mobilization of the international community in support of Africa’s efforts to combat terrorism.
The 12th Session of the Regional Coordination Meeting- Africa
The twelfth Session of the Regional Coordination Mechanism of UN agencies and organizations working in Africa in support of the African Union and its NEPAD programme (RCM-Africa) was held this week at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, from 21st – 22nd November. The theme of the meeting was ‘Capacity Building’ and it resulted in key recommendations to strengthen coordination and coherence in the delivery of UN system capacity-building support to the AU and the RECs, at the regional, sub regional and national levels, particularly in the context of the implementation of the Ten Year Capacity Building Programme for the African Union.
The meeting was addressed by UN Deputy Secretary-General Dr. Asha-Rose Migiro who noted that Africa was showing impressive economic growth and sub-Saharan Africa was one of the few regions showing resilience in the face of the global economic crisis. At the same time, it faced daunting, but not insurmountable challenges. Dr. Migiro noted that the Ten-year Capacity-Building Programme for the African Union was a manifestation of commitment to support for the African Union. She stressed that the UN was committed to supporting the national Millennium Development Goals action plans, and would be advocating concessional and innovative financing for Africa. Africa had its own wealth and advantages. It had avoided many destructive aspects of unsustainable development and African states could leapfrog straight to green technology. Dr. Migiro also called on those present to actively engage in the preparations for the “ Rio+20” UN Conference on Sustainable Development.
Two tools have been developed to serve as operational framework to support NEPAD, and as a reporting mechanism. One is the Regional Coordination Mechanism for Africa (RCM-Africa). This is a framework for coordination aiming to fast-track programme implementation system-wide by the United Nations. Sessions are convened by the Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and held annually. UN agencies working in Africa and other organizations have also been organized into thematic clusters established around the priority areas of NEPAD to enhance the coordinated response of the United Nations system in support of the New Partnership at regional level. Nine thematic clusters have been established usually holding annual meetings.
Ethiopia’s plan for Climate Resilient Green Economy
On Friday last week Ethiopia launched its strategy to deliver green economic growth for the country. Entitled “Climate Resilient Green Economy” (CRGE) the plan sets out the dual objectives of lifting Ethiopia to middle income status by 2025 while keeping greenhouse gas emissions constant. The plan will affect up to two thirds of the economy and is based on four main elements: improving crop and livestock production practices to provide improved food security and income for farmers; protecting and re-growing forests which will mean increased capacity to store carbon; expanding electricity generation from renewable energy sources for domestic and regional markets; and providing modern and energy-efficient technologies in transport, industry and other areas. The Director-General of the Ethiopian Environment Protection Agency, Dr. Teweldeberhan Gebregziabher said the plan would need US$150 billion over the next fifteen years and finance would be secured from the fund to be allocated for the green development program and from international climate finance. Minister Neway Gebreab, Chief Economic Advisor to the Prime Minister, noted that a concerted effort was needed from government, civil society, scholars and the public, to realise green economic growth.
EEEPCo to launch seven wind and geothermal projects
The Ethiopian Electric Power Corporation plans to increase Ethiopia’s power generation capacity from the current 2,000 MWs to about 10,000 MWs by the end of the Growth and Transformation Plan in 2015. Besides the major hydroelectric dam projects like Gilgel Gibe III and similar projects, EEPCo is also launching six wind power projects this year and a geo-thermal power plant. The wind farms are the 300 MW Ayisha Wind Farm located near to the Djibouti border; the Debre Birhan Wind Farm (100 MW) 120 kms north of Addis Ababa; the Assela Wind Power project (100 MW), 125 kms south of Addis Ababa; the Adama II Wind Power project (153 MW); the Mesebo Harena Wind Farm in Tigrai Regional State near Makelle (42 MW); and the Galena 1 Wind Power project (250 MW). The geo-thermal project is the Aluto Langano Geo-thermal project (70 MW). EEPCo has already started generation of the Ashegoda Wind Power plant under construction by a French company. It is currently producing 30 out of the planned 120 MW. Another project, Adama 1 Wind Farm project (51 MW) is expected to start generation with 15 MW next month. EEPCo is also planning to generate power from ethanol, a by-product of sugar, and aims to produce 6 MW from the Fincha Sugar Factory and 20 MW from Wonji in Oromia Regional State, and 78 MW from Tendaho in Afar Regional State.
HRW, Amnesty misrepresent facts and situations yet again
Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International issued a joint statement on November 21 claiming that the Ethiopian Government was using the country’s Anti-Terrorism law to crack down on journalists and political activists. It called the law a huge problem by itself and demanded its amendment. The two organizations also appealed to the US, UK and the EU to put pressure on the Government in this respect. It’s not unusual for Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International to misrepresent both the facts and situations, and they have done so again here. As the Government has repeatedly pointed out the law draws largely on laws in the developed world. It is not over-broadly defined nor is it vaguely worded as they claim. It should also be noted that the fact that someone represents the media or a political party does not exempt them from being responsible for what they do or from being tried by the relevant court if they give cause. Anybody arrested for alleged acts of terrorism is arrested because there is suspicion of terrorist activity, and they are given due trial. No one is put in jail without being tried. It might be added that the Government has stated again and again that anybody, including diplomats, can follow the trials in order to witness the fairness of the process for themselves. The allegation that the term ‘encouragement of terrorism’ in the law means that critics of the Government can be charged for being critical of the government is simply an exercise in imagination. It cannot be substantiated and there has been no case where this has happened. In any case the courts will examine and pass decisions in any such instances, not the executive.
Eritrea’s National Conference for Democratic Change opens
On Tuesday this week, a National Conference for Democratic Change in Eritrea opened in the town of Hawassa, the capital of the Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s State in southern Ethiopia. Bringing together over thirty political parties, including the 11 member Eritrean Democratic Alliance, and representatives from civil society organizations from all over the world, over 500 delegates are meeting to devise a new strategy to oust the regime of President Isaias in Asmara. None of these groups or organizations are, of course, able to operate in Eritrea. The conference has been organized by the Eritrean National Commission for Democratic Change to discuss a draft political charter and a roadmap for a transition to democratic rule in Eritrea. Other items on the agenda include the adoption of an interim constitution, the adoption of a grand strategy to overthrow the dictator, the creation of necessary institutions and the establishment of a leadership. Addressing the meeting, the ENCDC Chairman, Amha Domenico, said now was the time to free Eritrea from its oppression. He called on opposition forces to narrow their differences and unite to rescue their nation. The head of the Secretariat of the Ethiopian Peoples Revolutionary Democratic Front, Ato Redwan Hussein, also addressed the conference and expressed his belief that the conference would help Eritrean opposition forces to resolve their differences and reach a consensus. He also pledged the support of the Ethiopian people and government in the struggle to bring about peace and democracy in Eritrea.
Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
Ministry of Foreign Affairs