Eritrea Denied Joining ‘Firmness Storm’ Military Operation

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Eritrea Denied Joining ‘Firmness Storm’ Military Operation
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Asmara (HAN) March 29, 2015 – Public Diplomacy, Regional defense and Maritime security News. Eritrea rejected to participate military intervention in Yemen.

Eritrea rejected Arab league invitation about Yemen Crisis. Eritrean leader, Isyas Afwerki rejected military involvement in Yemen. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia are asking military and logistic  support to their neighboring countries to stop Hezbollah style militants in Yemen.

Meanwhile, Sudan accepted to is provide ground troops as well as warplanes for a Saudi-led military intervention against Shiite rebels in Yemen, the defence minister said on Thursday.

Saudi warplanes launched strikes on the Houthi station in southern yemen to stop their advance on embattled President Abedrabbo Mansur Hadi’s headquarter in Aden.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia had assembled a coalition of more than 10 countries for the operation it dubbed “Firmness Storm”, including Sudan Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti.

“We are taking part with air and land forces in the ‘Firmness Storm’ operations and our forces have now begun mechanised movement towards the sites of the operations,” Sudanese Defence Minister Abdelrahim Mohammed Hussein told a press conference.

The Sudanese defense minister gave no further details on the number of troops or aircraft involved, or what role they would play to facilitate operation “Firmness Storm”.

The Sudanese military spokesman Colonel Al-Sawarmy Khaled Saad said the goal of the operation was “protecting Islamic holy sites and protecting the Horn of Africa, Red sea and Maritime security”.


 

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At Egypt Summit, UN’s Ban, Arab League Secretary-General discuss cooperation on regional, global challenges

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (right) and Nabil el-Araby, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States at the 26th Summit of the League of Arab States in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. March 2015 UN Photo/Evan Schneider

29 March 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Nabil El-Araby Secretary General of the League of Arab States pledged today continued cooperation between the two organizations and discussed strengthening international efforts on a range of issues as the League’s Summit continued in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt.

According to a readout of a meeting between the two leaders, the Secretaries-General reviewed the continued cooperation between the United Nations and League of Arab States and exchanged views on strengthening international efforts against counter-terrorism, and on Syria, Iraq, the Middle East Peace Process, Yemen and Libya.

Mr. Ban and Mr. El-Araby agreed to remain in close touch on the issues of concern to both organizations.

Continuing his programme on the margins of the Summit, Mr. Ban also met with the President of Egypt, H.E. Mr. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. The Secretary-General congratulated Egypt on a successful summit and also commended Egypt’s leadership role in many regional issues.

In a discussion on the Middle East peace process, Mr. Ban underlined the importance both of Palestinian reconciliation and of reconstruction in Gaza. Despite generous pledges made at the Cairo conference in October 2014, the Secretary-General underscored that the disbursement of funds for Gaza had been very limited, which had dangerous implications on the ground.

The Secretary-General and President el-Sisi discussed the importance of all sides continuing to work for a genuine two-state solution where both Israelis and Palestinians would respect their mutual security needs.

The Secretary-General then briefed the President on the difficult situations in Yemen, Libya and Syria, where his Special Envoys were tirelessly working to promote dialogue and stability and to end conflict in all three countries. Mr. Ban also briefed President Sisi on current United Nations initiatives to combat extremism and terrorism.

The Secretary-General also updated the President on a number of important on-going development-related issues within the framework of the UN, including the negotiations on the sustainable development goals, the upcoming Addis Ababa Financing for Development Conference, and the UN climate change conference in Paris at the end of the year.

Mr. Ban’s discussions continued with Somali’s President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud. The Secretary-General expressed condolences to the President over the victims of the most recent terrorist attack in Mogadishu.

The Secretary-General welcomed the President’s leadership in the ongoing State formation process, including the establishment of the National Leadership Forum. He also emphasized the importance of inclusivity, especially of women, youth, minorities and other weak communities, in Somalia’s State-building approach.

They discussed Somali stakeholder’s commitment to meet key Vision 2016 timelines to complete Somalia’s federal state formation process and to review the provisional constitution.

The Secretary-General and President Mohamud also discussed the alarming humanitarian situation and human rights concerns in the country, as well as developments in the region.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

In Egypt, Ban calls on Arab leaders to strengthen bonds for region’s people, global security

Breaking News: ኣብዚ ሰሙን ዚ ፣ ኣብ ውሽጢ ሰለስተ መዓልታት ጥራይ 613 ኤርትራውያን ስደተኛታት ናብ ሸገራብ ከምዝኣተዉ ምንጭታት ኣሰና ካብቲ ቦታ ሓቢሮም።

Eri_Refugees15ኣብዚ ሰሙን ዚ ፣ ኣብ ውሽጢ ሰለስተ መዓልታት፣ ማለት ዝሓለፈ ሰኑይ፣ሰሉስ ረቡዕን ጥራይ 613 ኤርትራውያን ስደተኛታት ናብቲ ኣብ ሱዳን ዝርከብ መዓስከር ስደተኛታት ሸገራብ ከምዝኣተዉ ምንጭታት ኣሰና ካብቲ ቦታ ሓቢሮም።

እቶም ኤርትራውያን ስደተኛታት 123 ትሕቲ ዕድመ ቆልዑን 75 ደቀንስትዮን ይርከቡዎ።

እዚ ዝተጠቕሰ ቁጽሪ ስደተኛታት ነቶም ብላዕለዋይ ኮምሽን ስደተኛታት ውድብ ሕቡራ ሃገራት ከይተመዝገቡ ብቐጥታ ናብ ካርቱም ዝኸዱ ስደተኛታት ዝዓምም ኣይኮነን።

እቶም ንዋሕዚ ስደተኛታት ኤርትራውያን ንነዊሕ ዓመታት ከስተብህሉሉ ዝጸንሑ ኣብቲ ከባቢ ዝርከቡ ምንጭታት በዚ ንቡር ዝሰኣነ መመሊሱ ዝውስኽ ዘሎ ፍሉይ ናህሪ ኤርትራውያን ስደተኛታት፣ `ሃገር ትጠፍእ ኣላ` ክብሉ ዝተሰምዖም ክቱር ስንባደ ገሊጾም።

ብወገን ኢትዮጵያ `ውን ካብዚ ብዘይፍለ መንገዲ ልዑል ጻዕቂ ዘለዎ ዋሕዚ ኤርትራውያን ስደተኛታት ከምዘሎ ክመጽኡ ዝጸንሑ ሓበሬታት የመልክቱ።

IGAD briefs AU peace and security council on South Sudan

March 28, 2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 494th meeting held on 24 March in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, was briefed on the situation in South Sudan and the status of the peace process.

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IGAD’s chief mediator for South Sudan peace talks, Seyoum Mesfin, speaks to the press following the signing of a cessation of hostilities agreement between the South Sudanese government and rebels in Addis Ababa on 23 January 2014 (Photo: AFP)

Ambassador Seyoum Mesfin, chair of the mediation team of the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), briefed the council on the outstanding issues that led to the collapse of the talks between president Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar.

In a communique released following the briefing which was also attended by representatives of the warring parties, the AU expressed deep concern at the prevailing situation in the Africa’s youngest nation.

It said the ongoing violations of the cessation of hostilities agreement as fighting continued to escalate between the two warring parties was disheartening.

“Council expressed deep concern at the prevailing situation in South Sudan, characterized by fighting in recent weeks and a serious humanitarian situation,” it partly reads.

“Council, noting with utmost disappointment the failure of the South Sudanese parties to reach an agreement on the outstanding issues by the deadline of 5 March 2015, as set by IGAD, once again, appealed to the South Sudanese Parties to live-up to their commitments under the Agreement of Cessation of Hostilities and to display the required political will and sense of responsibility to bring to an end the untold suffering inflicted upon their people.”

It said the African body reminded the warring parties of the threat of sanctions against those seen to be obstructing the peace process, noting the United Nations Security Council’s resolution 2206 (2015) to this effect.

The statement however said the AU’s peace and security council looked forward to the next steps envisaged by IGAD for the resumption of the negotiations.

IGAD said it was working on a new mechanism that would expand the mediation body.

An ad hoc committee to be composed of the heads of state and government of Algeria, Chad, Rwanda and South Africa will be formed to support IGAD, adding the committee may meet soon and elaborate its terms and reference.

(ST)

Eritrean rebels warn Australian firm exploring gold mines

By Tesfa-Alem Tekle

March 28,2015 (ADDIS ABABA) – An Eritrean rebel group on Saturday warned an Australian mines firm against gold, gas and other natural resource exploration in the Red Sea’s nation.

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Eritrea, which borders Sudan and Ethiopia, has been dubbed the North Korea of Africa (HRW)

The Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO) rebel group accused the Australian South Boulder Mines Ltd of partnering with the Eritrean government to illegally exploit resources of the Afar’s region of Danakil, stressing it caused environmental damage on their traditional homeland.

The project “is forcibly removing the indigenous Afar community in Eritrea from their homeland and caused a devastating impact because their economic, social and cultural survival is deeply linked to their traditional land,” said a statement issued by a special committee delegated by RSADO to investigate the alleged humanitarian situation caused by South Boulder Mines.

“For the Red Sea Afar People, land is central to their cultural and social well-being,” the statement added.

The rebel group warned the company to stop its economic partnerships with the Eritrean government and leave the Afar Region (Dankalia) immediately.

Otherwise, the group threatened to launch retaliation attacks against the foreign company.

“Failure to refuse or ignore our call will result in detrimental action against your Project,” the rebels said in a statement also copied to Paul Donaldson, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director of the Australian company in Eritrea.
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The rebels said some foreign multinational corporations violate sanctions by the United Nations and the African Union on the Eritrean regime and sign mining exploration agreements with Asmara government which they accused of “systematically killing its people unlawfully and arbitrarily”.

They further accused the South Boulder Mines Company of disrespect for human rights laws and disgraces to the UNSC, AU, EU resolutions and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

In the past, RSADO has routinely alleged victories against government army in an on and off cross-border attacks it launches from Ethiopian borders where it operates.

But, Asmara repeatedly dismissed those allegations further accusing its long-time arch-foe Ethiopia of harbouring and supporting the exiled rebels.

(ST)

AFRICA Militants Take Hostages in Deadly Attack on Mogadishu Hotel By MOHAMMED IBRAHIMMARCH 27, 2015

Security forces exchanged gunfire Friday with militants from the Shabaab Islamist group who attacked a hotel in Mogadishu, the capital. CreditFeisal Omar/Reuters

The attack began when a suicide car bomber detonated explosives at a rear gate of the Maka al-Mukarama Hotel, which is popular with government officials and foreigners, around 4 p.m., witnesses said. Gunmen quickly overpowered security guards and took control of the hotel before an elite police antiterrorism unit stormed the hotel compound and rescued most of the hostages, said Mohamed Yusuf, a spokesman for the Ministry of National Security. As of Friday night, it was unclear how many hostages were still trapped inside the hotel.

“The operation still continues,” Mr. Yusuf said. “Most of the hotel complex is under control and people have been rescued, and we will release detailed information once the operation is completed.”

Initial reports said at least seven people had been killed, although the exact number could not be independently verified. It was unclear how many of the dead were civilians and how many were militants. Among the victims was the Somali ambassador to Switzerland, Yusuf Mohamed Ismail, who died of wounds sustained in the attack, according to health officials.

“A big explosion erupted at the back door of the hotel,” said one witness, Yasin Mohamed, who was staying near the hotel. He said he heard gunfire inside. “I was shocked and frightened.”

Some of the hotel guests managed to escape before the militants took over, while others jumped out the windows.

“I saw a man jumping out of the window of the second floor and he fell to the ground,” said Abdi Omar, another witness. “He was immediately taken by health workers to the hospital.”

The Shabab have carried out similar attacks, in the upscale Westgate mallin Nairobi, Kenya, and at the United Nations compound in Mogadishu, both in 2013.

In February, 25 people were killed at the Central Hotel, including government officials, and dozens were wounded, in an attack claimed by the Shabab.

AFRICA Sudan Joins Coalition Against Yemen Rebels By SOMINI SENGUPTA MARCH 26, 2015

Omar Hassan al-BashirCreditAli Ngethi/Associated Press
  UNITED NATIONS — It is an awkward moment.

The Arab-led, American-supported coalition seeking to rout Houthi rebels in Yemen includes a man indicted on charges of war crimes and vilified by Washington for more than a decade: President Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan.

Mr. Bashir’s government has said it will join the military offensive to aid its ally, Saudi Arabia, according to reports by the state-owned news agency, perhaps even sending ground troops.

In a sign of Sudan’s growing ties with Persian Gulf countries, Mr. Bashir met with King Salman of Saudi Arabia on a visit to the kingdom this week, and he is expected to take part in the Arab League summit meeting in Cairo this weekend.

Mr. Bashir was in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el Sheikh in mid-March to speak at an investment conference. Secretary of State John Kerry attended that conference, too, but left the audience for a few minutes when Mr. Bashir took the podium.

Mr. Bashir is wanted by the International Criminal Court on genocide charges in connection with the conflict in the Darfur region of Sudan. The United Nations Security Council, which referred the situation in Darfur to the tribunal, urged all countries to cooperate with the court and help it secure Mr. Bashir’s arrest.

Eritrea: Action Needed Against EU Policy for Funds to PFDJ to Control Refugee Exodus  by AI Staff  on 25 March 2015

This is a plea to all Eritreans to write letters, make calls, demonstrations and contact civic and government leaders. Our opposition and civic leaders would have even more clout to help out on this.
The policy is a slap to our aspirations to do away with the very regime that is responsible for the mass exudes of our people from their beloved country.
PLEASE TAKE ACTION TODAY.

 

EU hopes to curb exodus from Eritrea through development aid

ADDIS ABABA: The European Union said on Tuesday it hopes development aid to Eritrea will stem a growing exodus of Eritreans attempting the dangerous journey to Europe to claim asylum there.

Eritrea is now the second largest source of migrants to arrive in Italy by boat, after Syria. The highly perilous crossing of the Mediterranean on overcrowded, rickety boats claimed around 3,000 lives last year.

The United Nations and rights groups say poor human rights conditions in Eritrea are to blame for the outflow of people. Some have called for measures against the government. Asmara denies the charges.

Neven Mimica, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, told Reuters in Addis Ababa that the EU would try to address social and economic exclusion in migrants’ countries of origin in a bid to halt the crisis.

The number migrants are rising sharply: During the first two months of 2015, arrivals to the EU via Italy were up 43 percent versus the same period of 2014.

“In that context in Eritrea, we see that we need to assist such processes that would be beneficial for the overall advancing of the human rights and democracy framework, but also that would address the long-term development needs,” Mimica said.

The U.N. refugee agency UNHCR says the number of Eritrean asylum seekers in Europe tripled to nearly 37,000 in the first 10 months of 2014, of whom 34,000 came by sea.

Earlier this month, an interim report of a U.N. investigation said Eritrea was ignoring human rights laws and exerting pervasive state control and ruthless repression on the population.

According to EU diplomats, Brussels is planning a multi-million euro development package that Eritrea will be allowed to spend on energy and other sectors.

The EU approved a major aid package for Eritrea in 2007, worth 122 million euros (87 million pounds) in aid over a six-year period.

Eritrea declared independence from Ethiopia in 1993 and remains at loggerheads with Addis Ababa, the United States’ main regional ally.

(Reporting by Aaron Maasho; Editing by George Obulutsa and Raissa Kasolowsky)

– Reuters