Eritrea has responded to Ethiopia’s surprise recent overtures of peace with an announcement that it will send a delegation to its neighbour for talks
God surveys the world one day, seeing the mountains, valleys, seas and all there is. Suddenly God stops and exclaims: ”Why is Eritrea so green?”
When Italian architect Giuseppe Pettazzi inaugurated Eritrea’s plane-shaped Fiat Tagliero service station in 1938, he stunned onlookers by pulling out a gun. There, the story behind Africa’s finest piece of Futurist architecture goes hazy.
Eritrea has accepted a ”virtual demarcation” of its border with Ethiopia and wants Addis Ababa to remove its troops from Eritrean soil, a statement published on Wednesday said. The two nations have been deadlocked over a 1 000km border since a 2002 decision by an independent boundary commission gave the flashpoint town of Badme to Eritrea.
It’s hard to see the looming threat of war with Ethiopia as you walk Eritrea’s tree-lined boulevards or enter its Italian-style cafes. But beneath the Eritrean capital’s tranquil surface, many Eritreans say they are worried about a repeat of the 1998 to 2000 border war that killed about 70 000 people.
Holding up a grubby, worn banknote, the ex-rebel fighter points proudly to an image famous across Eritrea — defiant liberation soldiers raising a flag on a mountain peak. It’s 10 years this month since Africa’s youngest nation enthusiastically launched its own currency in November 1997, the nakfa.
Eritrea said on Wednesday arch-foe Ethiopia had ”long since declared war” on Asmara by refusing to implement a five-year-old border ruling marking their shared frontier. Analysts and diplomats fear heightened tensions on the Horn of Africa rivals’ frontier could erupt into a new conflict seven years after they fought a war.
Surrounded by yellow papers crackling to the touch, archivists painstakingly catalogue documents and photographs that make up the history of a nation — and the vertebrae of Eritrea’s national archive. It’s a record of one of Africa’s most remarkable rebel armies, documenting the past spirit of optimism that drove their 30-year bitter guerrilla war.
Eritrea accused arch-foe Ethiopia on Saturday of plotting to invade it ahead of a late-November deadline to mark their disputed border on maps. Analysts and diplomats fear heightened tensions on the Horn of Africa rivals’ frontier could erupt into a new conflict seven years after they fought a war that killed about 70 000 people.
Eritrea’s powerful head of internal security, Colonel Simon Ghebredengel, survived an assassination attempt last week in Asmara, a senior government official said on Tuesday. ”There was a failed assassination attempt on Saturday October 13 on the colonel,” Eritrean Information Minister Ali Abdu said. ”He is in a very stable condition.”
Eritrea, in a letter published on Friday, urged the United Nations to force its arch-foe, Ethiopia, to urgently implement a border ruling, warning it feared Addis Ababa was preparing to resume war. In the letter, Foreign Minister Osman Saleh said he believed that Ethiopian threats to scrap the Algiers peace deal that ended their bloody 1998 to 2000 border war were a precursor to an attack.
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki has backed a new Somali opposition alliance, saying arch-foe Ethiopia’s fight against insurgents in Mogadishu was doomed to fail, state media reported on Saturday. The formation of the group, including top Islamist leaders, in Asmara this week has generated yet more friction between Ethiopia and Eritrea.
Somalia’s government on Thursday said a new opposition movement vowing war on Ethiopian troops in the Horn of Africa nation was a ”terrorist alliance” posing no real threat. Somali opposition figures forged the Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia on Wednesday in a move analysts said may boost Islamist-led insurgents fighting the interim government.
Somali opposition figures meeting in Eritrea united to form a new ”liberation” movement on Wednesday to seek a military or diplomatic solution to conflict in their homeland, a spokesperson said. The main aim of the organisation, called the Alliance for the Liberation of Somalia, is to secure the exit of Ethiopian troops who are backing the interim government in Somalia.
Somali Islamist leader Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys dismissed United States terrorism allegations against him and instead blamed Washington for instability in the Horn of Africa, in an interview published on Wednesday. ”The US cannot present any concrete evidence for its unfounded accusations,” Aweys said.
Eritrea said on Tuesday it will take every precaution to avoid war with arch-foe Ethiopia over their disputed border, but demanded Addis Ababa comply with a five-year-old boundary ruling. Ties between the Horn of Africa neighbours are at their lowest since a 1998 to 2000 war that killed 70 000 people, analysts say.
Somalia’s opposition leaders predicted on Monday that a further surge in an Islamist-led insurgency in the capital, Mogadishu, could defeat Ethiopian troops supporting the government there within two months. "The liberation forces are gaining strength day after day," said Zakariya Mahamud Abdi, spokesperson of a congress in Eritrea’s capital, Asmara.
Livestock exports and money sent home by Somalis abroad have propped up the Horn of Africa nation’s economy despite a war over the New Year that gave way to an Iraq-style insurgency, the World Bank said on Wednesday. Somalia’s entrepreneurs have learned to thrive despite a lack of government, feuding warlords and an Islamist-led guerrilla war.
Frustrated avant-garde architects from an architecturally conservative early 20th-century Europe used Asmara, the Eritrean capital, to experiment with radical new designs. They left a legacy valued by Eritreans and by experts worldwide, but lesser known outside this little-visited country.
Somali opposition leaders, including several senior Islamists, are to meet in Eritrea from Thursday to try to unite against the Ethiopian-backed government at talks intended to a rival a Mogadishu peace conference. Many Somali dissidents have already made their home in Eritrea, which has been accused by the United States and United Nations of sending arms to insurgents.
Somalia’s top Islamist leader vowed on Saturday to wage a stronger insurgency in the capital, Mogadishu, until all Ethiopian troops withdraw from the war-shattered Horn of Africa nation. Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed said Somalis must defend their nation against Ethiopian forces deployed in Mogadishu to bolster the feeble government.
Eritrean President Issaias Afeworki warned Washington that its policies were leading the world on a ”dangerous path”, an official statement said on Monday. Two days after Washington said it was considering adding Eritrea to its list of ”state sponsors of terrorism”, Issaias gave an angry two-hour interview broadcast late on Sunday on state television.
Leaders of a new Darfur rebel grouping will travel back to Sudan’s restive western region to unite their armies, a rebel official said on Monday. Five rebel groups joined last month in Eritrea under the umbrella United Front for Liberation and Development, but have yet to integrate their armed wings.
Somalia’s exiled opposition leaders on Monday lashed out at the international community’s support for the Ethiopian-backed interim government and defended the deadly insurgency against Mogadishu. "The resistance of Somali people is a legitimate response" to Ethiopian occupation, former Parliament speaker Sharif Hassan Sheikh Aden said.
Somali opposition politicians exiled in Eritrea dismissed calls on Thursday to attend a peace meeting in Mogadishu that is also being opened up to Islamists and even insurgents who have attacked the conference venue. Organisers appeared to be heeding donor calls for inclusiveness when they announced the move on Wednesday.
A new alliance of Darfur factions urged rebel leaders on Monday to forego personal interests and unite to make peace with the Sudanese government. In a statement issued in the Eritrean capital of Asmara, the United Front for Liberation and Development demanded ”equal representation” for all rebel movements battling the Khartoum regime in Sudan’s western Darfur.
In the flickering light of Asmara’s Impero Cinema, Eritreans sit gripped by a tale of brave soldiers risking all in love and war. Eritrea’s young film industry is booming. Only 14 years after the Horn of Africa country acquired its independence from Ethiopia, about 60 new films are released every year in the nation’s main Tigrinya language.
Thousands of Eritreans marched through the streets on Wednesday to a cemetery atop a hill overlooking the capital to honour tens of thousands of people killed in two wars against their former Ethiopian masters. Some holding orange flowers, Eritreans bowed their heads in silence to celebrate an estimated 90 000 people killed in a 30-year independence struggle.
About 3Â 400 Eritrean families who were displaced nine years ago during a border war with Ethiopia have returned home, the government has said. The 1998 to 2000 border war with Ethiopia killed an estimated 70Â 000 people and displaced 1,1-million Eritreans — about a third of the Red Sea state’s population.
Eritrea said on Sunday it had suspended its membership in an East African regional body after a rift with arch-foe Ethiopia at a meeting on Somalia this month threatened to divide the region. The withdrawal from the seven-member Inter-Governmental Authority on Development is the latest sign of deteriorating relations between Asmara and regional countries over Somalia.
Ethiopia must withdraw its troops from Somalia immediately or face an all-out war that ”no army” could resist, three senior Somali leaders warned on Wednesday. The three, including top Islamist leader Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed and Hussein Aidid, who holds a post in Somalia’s government, were meeting in the Eritrean capital for talks.
Eritrea has banned the life-threatening practice of female circumcision, the Eritrean Information Ministry said in a statement. Anyone who requests, incites or promotes female genital mutilation will be punished with a fine and imprisonment, said a government statement posted on the internet late on Wednesday.