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Embaixada da Etiópia
Brasília, Brasil

September, 23, 2016

News in brief

Africa and the African Union, and the UN General Assembly

The 71st Session of the UN General Assembly opened this week, and on Wednesday (September 21 Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon gave his last address to the Assembly

World leaders adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants at a Summit meeting at the UN General Assembly on Monday (September 19).

African Governments have set up a fund to support Foreign Minister Dr. Tedros' candidacy in the election for the next Director General of the World Health Organization.  This is the first time African countries have united behind a single candidate for a major multilateral institution.  It's now planned for the fund to provide financial resources available to future African candidates contesting various international roles, to ensure that Africa's voice is heard at global levels through enabling African candidates to have a fair chance to secure high-profile international positions.


Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn in New York addressed the plenary session of the Summit on Refuges and Migrants on Monday (September 19). He called for an effective global response to provide comprehensive, coherent and effective policies on international migration, and for the international community to address the situation of internally displaced persons, who had the potential to become tomorrow's refugees.

The Prime Minister addressed the general debate of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday (September 21). He spoke of the challenges of implementing the new UN transformational agenda, including the Sustainable Development Goals. These challenges included the way social media exploited people's genuine concerns and spread messages of hate and destabilization activities encouraged from abroad.

In an interview with Foreign Policy, Prime Minister Hailemariam said he believed groups of anti-government Ethiopians based in the United States were orchestrating some of the current anti-government protests. The Prime Minister rejected a call from US Representative Chris Smith for an independent rapporteur to visit Ethiopia to assess the human rights situation. He said this would be a "breach of sovereignty" and Ethiopia had its own institutions available.

In Ethiopia's capacity as chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum, Foreign Minister, Dr. Tedros Adhanom gave a keynote address at the meeting of the Forum on "Climate Displacement and Dignity: the Needs of the Most Vulnerable Countries," which met on the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York, on Monday (September 19).

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Dr. Tedros gave a keynote speech to the High-level Forum on "Every Women Every Child" on Tuesday (September 20) in New York. "Every Woman, Every Child" is a global movement aiming to mobilize and intensify action to address the major health challenges facing women, children and adolescents, putting into action the "Global Strategy for Women's, Children's and Adolescents' Health",  presenting a roadmap for ending all preventable deaths of women, children and adolescents within a generation.

Dr. Tedros held a number of bilateral meetings this week in New York, among them meetings on Monday and Tuesday this week (September 19-20) with Dr. George William Vella, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta, Mr. Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrein, Ms. Margot Wallstrom, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Mrs. Lillane Ploumen, Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Netherlands and with Linas Antanas Linkevicius, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania. Talks covered expanding bilateral cooperation and other issues including migration.

Dr. Tedros also met with Japan's Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida in New York on Monday (September 19). He described the Kaizen philosophy as "Japan's gift to Ethiopia" with the sense of ownership it creates for workers.  He also welcomed the opening of the Japan External Trade Organization office in Addis Ababa. The two sides discussed the need to work together on ways of promoting the reform of the United Nations Security Council. 

Dr. Tedros signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Bilateral Consultation with Mr. Erlan A. Idrissov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Kazakhstan on Thursday (September 22) in New York. The two sides agreed to hold a constructive dialogue on bilateral relations and on international issues of common interest, to contribute to a better mutual understanding and to the development of friendly relations between Ethiopia and Kazakhstan.

Ethiopia, Egypt and Sudan signed contracts for technical studies on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD) on Tuesday (September 20) at a meeting in Khartoum. Water and Irrigation Ministers from the three countries attended the signing ceremony during a ministerial session of the Tripartite National Committee of Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan.

The Ethiopian Embassy to the European Union said last week that allegations on a website site that the European Commission was considering reducing the financial support to Ethiopia channeled through the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) were nonsense. In a press statement, the Embassy noted the European Commission was implementing projects under the EU Trust Fund through EU Member States Agencies, International Organizations, the private sector and non-governmental organizations for 20 projects.

The Ethiopian Tourism Organization announced at the end of last week (September 16) that Ethiopia's tourism sites across the country remained safe to travelers, despite some countries issuing travel advisories warning their citizens to take extra precautionary measures following protests in some parts of the country in recent months. The announcement followed discussions with tour operators and agreement that there were no concerns for peace and security.


Mr. Yemane Gebreab Special Political Advisor to the President, at the High Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants in New York, said Eritrea believed "every nation has primary responsibility to provide a safe, secure and dignified life for its citizens in their country and to enable them to pursue opportunities in other countries". He said all should "shoulder our responsibilities to end the suffering associated with migration, to protect and promote the rights of migrants and to welcome human mobility as an integral and desirable feature of our globalized world."

The US Congress' House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, chaired by Representative Chris Smith,  held  a hearing on Eritrea on Wednesday last  week (September 14), under the title, "Eritrea: A Neglected Regional Threat".


Deputy President William Ruto told a roundtable meeting at the UN General Assembly in New York that some 100,000 Somali refugees have been processed and documented ready to go back home under the ongoing voluntary repatriation process, of these 27,000 had returned to Somalia. He said Kenya believed "the opportunity for the reconstruction of Somalia lies in the return of its people." He said Kenya has deployed $10 million dollars to repatriate the refugees.

The Kenyan and Somali governments released a joint communiqué on Saturday (September 17) calling reports by Human Rights Watch about the ongoing refugee repatriation process from Kenya to Somalia "full of disinformation". They said the Somali government appreciated efforts to humanely repatriate Somali refugees. The UNHCR also denied allegations that the UNHCR and the Kenyan government were harassing and intimidating Somali refugees in Kenya to encourage them return home.


A High Level Meeting on Somalia was held this week on Wednesday (Sept. 22) at the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. The meeting was hosted by Somalia, Ethiopia, Italy and the United Kingdom. Somalia's international partners in a statement on Sunday (September 18) praised the ongoing process for the country's upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, and called for the process to be transparent and credible

The Federal Elections Implementation Team said on Wednesday (September 21), that it had not completed all its tasks for the election because of financial challenges and the failure by elders to finalize the lists of delegates. It also said security and political concerns remain major challenges. In a joint statement, following the High level meeting in New York this week, Somalia's international partners again urged the elections to be held within set timelines and in a transparent and peaceful way.

British Prime Minister, Theresa May, speaking at the UN General Assembly, pledged to increase UK support to Somalia, including sending more troops to train local forces to fight militants. She said the UK would provide £7 million of funding for training in different areas ranging from tackling improvised explosive devices to building roads to help improve security in areas outside Mogadishu.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said on Tuesday (September 20) that some five million Somalis, more than 40% of Somalia's population, were facing food shortages, and over 350,000 children were severely malnourished. It said the number of Somalis food insecure had risen by 300,000 since February, more than 1.1 million Somalis were struggling to meet daily food requirements and 3.9 million need livelihood support to reduce the "risk of sliding into crisis." Poor rainfall had cut cereal output by half.

Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility for the killing of General Mohamed Roble Jimale Gobanle, commander of the Somali Army's third brigade on Sunday (September 18). He and five bodyguards died when a vehicle loaded with explosives detonated next to his convoy.

South Sudan

First Vice President Taban Deng Gai led the South Sudan delegation to the UN General Assembly this week. A spokesperson for President Kiir said General Deng would deliver a

speech on peace implementation and explain the progress made so far in implementation of the peace agreement as well as hold sideline meetings.


Sudan's State Minister of Interior, Babiker Digna, said on Wednesday (September 21) that the country now hosted more than 400,000 South Sudanese refugees. Earlier this month, Sudan decided to treat South Sudanese who had fled from South Sudan as refugees, enabling the UNHCR to provide assistance and raise funds for aid operations.