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Friday, March 16, 2007

The Week in Review

Look for the 'The Week in Review' segment below

Weekend news:
[The fallout over the kidnapping] - ["En route" for Asmara?]




The fallout over the kidnapping

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1210 17/03/2007

The release of Western tourists kidnapped in East Ethiopia has led to words between Meles Zenawi and Seyoum Mesfin.

Following the release in Asmara of the British diplomats who had been kidnapped in East Ethiopia by a group of Afar rebels, the Ethiopian Prime Minister criticised the way this crisis had been managed by his minister for foreign affairs.

According to information obtained in Addis Ababa, Meles Zenawi is said to reproach Seyoum Mesfin and his ministry of staying rooted to the spot and being content to merely reiterate accusations against Eritrea, which had been initially held responsible for the kidnapping.

Conversely, he considers that they should have tried to use their contacts with the former leaders of the Afar Revolutionary Democratic Unity Front (Arduf) who have now rallied behind the government of Addis Ababa, such as Mahamooda Gass to try and obtain the release of the hostages in Ethiopia. Instead, it was Eritrea that gained the credit for obtaining the liberation of the British diplomats held hostage.

This incident has also brought into the open the opposition in certain Afar circles to the Ethiopian government plans to expand the growing of sugar cane over a 200,000 hectare area in the Afar region of Tendaho.

The consequence of this agricultural project would be to prevent the movement of Afar herdsmen and to encourage the settlement in their stead of arable farmers.

"En route" for Asmara?

Indian Ocean Newsletter N° 1210 17/03/2007

According to a source close to the Ethiopian ministry of defence, the Ethiopian army has obtained satellite photos from the American intelligence services, showing the northern border of Ethiopia and providing useful information on Eritrean troop concentration.

Moreover, the leaders of the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF, hard core of the EPRDF in power in Addis Ababa) are currently waging a propaganda campaign based on the slogan “repeat in the North the victorious military operation in Somalia”.

This aggressive orientation towards Eritrea, which has been in a still unresolved border dispute with Ethiopia for many years, is not to the liking of the leaders of the other factions making up the Ethiopian governing coalition.

Furthermore, it has caused diplomats on post in Addis Ababa to wonder whether the United States military cooperation with Ethiopia to prepare their joint offensive into Somalia could now be repeated in Eritrea.

All the more so since the relations between the USA and the government of Asmara are at their lowest point and Addis Ababa suspects Somalian Islamists have transited through Eritrea or have found refuge there.

The Week in Review

  • Monday - March 12, 2007

  • [SMN: Ethiopian and Somali government forces physically abusing somali Journalists] - [CUD chairman Hailu Shawl’s eye condition deteriorating in prison] - [Ambassador Donald Yamamoto Interview] - [Tribal help sought in kidnap hunt] - [Group: 1,700 civilians killed in Somali strife] - [“Low-cost” generic drugs as health hazards in Ethiopia] - [Meskelsquare: Herald hacked]

  • Tuesday - March 13, 2007

  • [European hostages freed] - [Professor Mesfin Woldemariam's letter from Kality Prison] - [CNN: Somalia's president under attack in palace] - [Ethiopia and Starbucks-another trademark row brewing?] - [Ethiopia: Where is the Media?] - [Humans in North Africa earlier than thought]

  • Wednesday, March 13, 2007

  • [Ethiopia: Secret prison transfers come to light] - [Freed Tourists to See Loved Ones Again ] - [IFEX: Four reporters assaulted by Ethiopian soldiers] - [Professor Mesfin Wolde Mariam: Crime as a Medal] - [IFEX: Eritrean Diaspora urged to aid imprisoned Journalists ]

  • Thursday - March 15, 2007

  • [IFJ Director: Eritrea and Ethiopia creating a lasting legacy of intolerance for free expression] - [vigil for eight Ethiopians still being held captive] - [Monument to Ethiopians who died en route to Israel dedicated at Mt. Herzl] - [Kenya defends prisoners' transfers to Ethiopia and Somalia] - [Liya Kebede re-appointed goodwill envoy] - [IRIN: Up to 40,000 civilians flee Mogadishu]

  • Friday - March 16, 2007

  • [Friends make emotional appeal for release of Ethiopian hostages] - [Bomb kills 7 on Mogadishu outskirts] - [Ethiopia urges pressure on Eritrea for missing Ethiopians] - [Trio plan concerts to help fund £20000 for clinic in Ethiopia] - [UN condemns killing of Somali Human rights activist]