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World Can Ethiopia ignore Africa's diplomats?

03:40  29 november  2020
03:40  29 november  2020 Source:   bbc.com

Ethiopia issues arrest warrants amid Tigray unrest

  Ethiopia issues arrest warrants amid Tigray unrest Dozens of army officers are accused of links with the region's ruling party as federal troops advance.Forces loyal to that party are fighting the government in the restive Tigray region.

Addis Ababa (AFP) - Ethiopia has banned access to foreign-based opposition media and restricted foreign diplomats ' travel, in new provisions of a The areas around several key roads have also been declared red zones. Foreign diplomats are forbidden from travelling more than 40 kilometres outside

Ethiopia has lifted travel restrictions imposed on diplomats under emergency rule, saying calm has been restored after months of violent protests. Authorities had said the purpose of the ban was to ensure diplomats ' safety. " Diplomats can now move to any corner of the country without notifying the

Ethiopia took the lead in creating Africa's continental organisation, the African Union (AU), but Ethiopia analyst Alex de Waal argues that its actions are now jeopardising the body's founding principles.

Shortly before three former African heads of state arrived in Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, to seek a peaceful resolution to the conflict in the northern Tigray region, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered what he called the "final phase of our rule of law operations".

This was a remarkable rebuff.

Former Presidents Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, Joachim Chissano of Mozambique and Kgalema Motlanthe of South Africa met Mr Abiy on Friday, but were told that the Ethiopian government would continue its military operations.

UN calls for immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia

  UN calls for immediate ceasefire in Ethiopia Aid agencies say they are unable to reach civilians affected by fierce fighting in the Tigray region.The UN wants humanitarian corridors set up following two weeks of conflict between Ethiopia's military and forces loyal to the political leadership in the northern Tigray region.

The United States should strengthen its ties to Ethiopia following unprecedented reforms in the East African nation, a top U. S . diplomat said Wednesday. Tibor Nagy, the newly appointed assistant secretary of the U. S . Bureau of African Affairs, told members of a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee

2 America . 3 Asia. 4 Europe. Embassy of Ethiopia in Brussels. Embassy of Ethiopia in The Hague.

Mr Abiy also said that they could not meet any representatives of the group Ethiopia is fighting in Tigray, the Tigray People's Liberation Front (TPLF), which the prime minister has dismissed as a "criminal clique".

a group of people holding a kite: Members of the Ethiopian Tigrayan community in South Africa have been protesting over the conflict © EPA Members of the Ethiopian Tigrayan community in South Africa have been protesting over the conflict

Citing the Charter of the United Nations in a statement earlier in the week, the prime minister insisted that the federal government was engaged in a domestic law-enforcement operation and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign nation applied.

But Nigerian legal expert Chidi Odinkalu argues that Ethiopia is using the charter to escalate a war, the opposite of its pacific intent, saying that the "audacity of this position is disconcerting".

Ethiopia claims advances, rejects talks in fight with dissident region

  Ethiopia claims advances, rejects talks in fight with dissident region Ethiopia's government claimed advances in its battle against the dissident Tigray region on Saturday, while showing no signs of bowing to international pressure for a halt to the conflict that has caused tens of thousands to flee and raised fears of a humanitarian disaster. Hundreds of people are reported to have been killed in the conflict in Africa's second most populous country, while tens of thousands have fled the fighting, crossing to neighbouring Sudan © ASHRAF SHAZLY The UN says a "full-scale humanitarian crisis" is unfolding, with 36,000 people having streamed into neighbouring Sudan during the last two weeks "Our defence forces are curre

Lieut. General Aman Andom receives foreign diplomats and assures them of Ethiopia ' s continuing friendship 1974.

Find the closest American Space inEthiopia where you can connect with the U. S . Bring a REGISTERED EMS mailing envelope to receive your passport by mail (you can purchase this at the Passport Delivery Section (Room 01- the room it known as “ Ethiopian passport delivery room) at

He points out that the conflict is already internationalised, because Eritrea is entangled and refugees are crossing into Sudan.

Also, the United Nations has adopted principles to prevent states abusing the doctrine of non-interference to give themselves impunity to commit atrocities.

Since 1981, conflict resolution has been a duty and a right. Since 2005, states have had the responsibility to protect civilians in conflict.

Fears of war crimes

In rebuffing the African mediators, Mr Abiy is not just turning down a peace initiative. He is challenging the foundational principles of the African Union itself.

Article 4(g) of the AU's Constitutive Act - to which Ethiopia acceded in 2002 - does specify "non-interference by any member state in the internal affairs of another".

But this is immediately followed by Article 4(h), which gives the AU the right "to intervene in a member state… in respect of grave circumstances, namely: war crimes, genocide and crimes against humanity".

Anxiety in Australia as conflict ravages Tigray region of Ethiopia

  Anxiety in Australia as conflict ravages Tigray region of Ethiopia There are reports of massacres of civilians and a "full-scale humanitarian crisis" in Ethiopia's Tigray region, and at least 50 Australians are stuck in the conflict zone, the ABC has learned.Australians in the Ethiopian diaspora have told the ABC they are worried about the country's continued slide into civil war and the wellbeing of family members not only in the affected Tigray region, but across Ethiopia, amid reports of civilians being massacred.

America evacuated diplomatic staff from the Eritrean capital, Asmara, yesterday as Ethiopian troops moved closer to the city, capturing Maidima 62 miles to the south-west. Ethiopia has also continued air strikes deep into Eritrean territory, attacking the Sawa military training centre in the west on Friday

Latin America . "The handling of the site is disastrous because they are letting trucks and excavators drive over it," an Addis Ababa-based diplomat , who has visited the site and is representing some families of victims, told Reuters.

This so-called "duty of non-indifference" was adopted in the wake of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda.

It was first formulated by an International Panel of Eminent Personalities, strongly supported by Ethiopia, which was brought together to recommend how Africa should prevent such atrocities in the future. "Non-indifference" is Africa's version of the UN's "responsibility to protect".

a pile of dirt and grass field: Ethiopia accuses the TPLF of killing 600 civilians in Mai Kadra, which it has denied © Getty Images Ethiopia accuses the TPLF of killing 600 civilians in Mai Kadra, which it has denied

The Ethiopian government has itself accused the TPLF of carrying out atrocities, and observers fear that when the news blackout is lifted, evidence of war crimes by both sides will come to light.

There are unconfirmed reports that Eritrean troops have crossed the border and rounded up Eritrean refugees in United Nations camps in Tigray, which would be a violation of the United Nations convention on refugees.

Ethiopia's diplomatic triumph

The Organisation of African Unity (OAU) was founded in 1963, with its headquarters in Addis Ababa, with the aim of consolidating the newly won independence of African states.

How Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopia-first nationalism led to civil war

  How Abiy Ahmed’s Ethiopia-first nationalism led to civil war Tigray is the last frontier in a battle over the character of the Ethiopian state. Tigray presents a significant challenge to the prime minister’s grandiose vision of “Making Ethiopia Great Again” (MEGA). In addition to being an autonomous region with effective control over its territories, it is a battle-hardened region with highly trained troops and access to much of Ethiopia’s military arsenal.

Locating the OAU in Ethiopia was a diplomatic triumph for Emperor Haile Selassie, who had long championed international law.

Famously, his 1936 speech at the League of Nations predicted that if Italy's invasion of Ethiopia were to go unpunished, the world would be bathed in blood.

The OAU was a common front for Africa's liberation from colonial and racist rule.

But it also served as a club of autocrats, who held to their common interest of staying in power no matter what. Tanzania's founding President, Julius Nyerere, lamented that it had become "a trade union of heads of state".

By the 1990s it was clear that the OAU needed to be refashioned to be able to respond to Africa's wars, coups and atrocities, and in 2002 the AU was created with a far more ambitious agenda of promoting peace and democracy.

Since then it has developed a set of mechanisms that include suspending countries where there is an unconstitutional change in government, and offering help to mediate conflicts, along with an obligation for conflict-afflicted countries to welcome good-faith peacemaking efforts.

How the African Union has helped

Mr Abiy himself intervened in the Sudanese crisis last year when he sought a peaceful resolution to the confrontation between the pro-democracy movement and the military, which had unseated President Omar al-Bashir.

Ethiopia accused of blocking refugees from fleeing

  Ethiopia accused of blocking refugees from fleeing Families fleeing the conflict in Tigray tell the BBC they have been cut off from relatives.The BBC first spotted the soldiers on Wednesday, at the Hamdayet border crossing point, and has been hearing testimonies from refugees who say their relatives are being blocked from leaving Ethiopia.

The formula for Sudan's transition to democracy was drawn up on the AU's template.

But the AU is not a strong institution. It has a low budget and cannot impose its will.

More powerful states and organisations can overrule it - as Nato did when the AU sought a negotiated settlement to the Libya conflict in 2011, but the United States, European and Arab countries pursued regime change.

The AU's real value lies in its soft power: it articulates the norms of peace and cooperation and persuades African leaders to go along, knowing that they rise together and sink together.

Over time, it has proven its value: Africa has become more democratic and peaceable.

A generation ago, African diplomatic efforts to avoid conflicts or resolve them were rare. Today, they are standard practice.

Find out more about the Tigray crisis:

  • The long, medium, and short story
  • Why Ethiopia may be marching into guerrilla war
  • The man at the heart of Ethiopia's Tigray conflict
  • Marooned by conflict: 'My little brother needs medicine'

In a statement announcing the three envoys' mission, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who is the current AU chairperson, reaffirmed the organisation's position that the conflict "should be brought to an end through dialogue".

But it was couched in standard diplomatic courtesies and lacked bite.

In comparable situations - such as Libya or Sudan - the AU chair has convened a special heads of state meeting of the AU's Peace and Security Council. Mr Ramaphosa has not done that.

Tens of thousands of people have crossed into Sudan raising international concerns about the fighting © Getty Images Tens of thousands of people have crossed into Sudan raising international concerns about the fighting

South Africa - which is currently one of three African nations on the UN Security Council - postponed a discussion on Ethiopia at the UN on Monday, citing the need to hear the envoys' report first.

Rockets hit Eritrea capital after Ethiopia declares victory

  Rockets hit Eritrea capital after Ethiopia declares victory The attack marked the third time Asmara has come under fire from Tigray since military operations began in November.The blasts – which the embassy said occurred about 10pm Saturday night (19:00 GMT) – came hours after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared victory in his military campaign against Tigray’s ruling party, the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF).

Because it hosts its headquarters, Ethiopia has an outsized influence on the day-to-day affairs of the AU.

Other African countries have long suspected that it has a double standard, giving Ethiopia leeway that it does not accord to other countries. That did not matter so much when Ethiopia was active in supporting mediation efforts and peacekeeping operations, especially in Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan.

Now, many are asking if it has brazenly crossed a red line.

'The AU is for others, not Ethiopia'

The Ethiopian government has purged Tigrayan officers from AU and UN peacekeeping missions, according to a report in Foreign Policy magazine quoting a UN document. It also demanded that the AU Commission dismiss its head of security, who was a Tigrayan and whose loyalties were questioned because of the conflict.

And now Mr Abiy has effectively rejected Africa's highest-level mediators, politely recording only that they "imparted their wisdom, insights and readiness to support in any way they are needed".

After Ethiopian federal troops occupied the Tigrayan capital Mekelle on Saturday, Mr Abiy declared his operation complete - implying that he doesn't need peacemakers. But the African mediators - all from countries that have long experience of armed conflicts - are not likely to be so confident.

The AU headquarters was built on the site of Ethiopia's notorious central prison, known as Alem Bekagn - meaning "farewell to the world" in Amharic.

Thousands of political prisoners were imprisoned there, many tortured and executed, during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s. That symbolism is not lost on African civil society activists, who wonder if they are becoming prisoners of their Ethiopian hosts.

A senior AU diplomat remarked on Friday: "Abiy thinks that the AU is for others, not for Ethiopia."

Mr Abiy's rejection of mediation harkens back to an earlier era in which African civil wars were ended by force of arms, not peace agreements - leaving grievances to fester.

It threatens to make a mockery of the African Union's hard-won norms and principles of peacemaking.

  Can Ethiopia ignore Africa's diplomats? © BBC

Alex de Waal is the executive director of the World Peace Foundation at the Fletcher School of Global Affairs at Tufts University in the US. He worked for the AU on Sudan in different capacities from 2005 to 2012.

Ethiopia police hunt for Tigray leaders .
Prime Minister Abiy says this comes after the "last phase" in the conflict in the Tigray region.Abiy Ahmed added that Mekelle's capture marked the "last phase" of the three-week conflict - but details are hard to confirm as communications are blocked.

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