Ethiopia Insight: Can Team Lemma bridge Ethiopia’s political chasm? – 03 December

  • Ethiopia Insight publishes a comment by Nyikaw Ochalla on the “neo-unionism” project of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed and Lemma Megersa.
  • At the centre of this “ideological war”, Ochalla writes, is the issue of self-determination, “a process that can involve conflict, as seen in the long struggles by Eritrean and Tigrayan insurgents.” She writes that statehood for Eritrea “contravened the principles of national sovereignty and territorial integrity that are held dear by patriotic unionists.”
  • Following the return of the Ginbot 7 and Oromia Liberation Front from Eritrea, Ochalla writes that it is not clear if Prime Minister Abiy’s reform agenda will result in a significant shift in an ideological debate in which the two groups occupy opposing sides.
  • Ochalla says that there are hopes that Prime Minister Abiy can “break the ideological impasse at the macro level that manifests itself in ethnic conflicts at the micro level”, to calm internal tensions exacerbated between neo-unionists and ethno-nationalists.

BBC News: Top US official meets Eritrean leader – 04 December

  • BBC News reports that Tibor Nagy, the US Assistant Secretary for Africa, has met with President Isaias in Asmara.
  • Nagy and Isaias were said to be discussing bilateral and regional issues, while Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Meskel tweeted that Eritrea was ready for “constructive engagement to foster warm ties of cooperation with [the] US in various sectors”.
  • Ahead of his trip, Nagy expressed a keen desire to discuss Eritrea’s continuing detention of US citizens and Eritrean embassy employees as well as its purchases of arms from North Korea.

Assenna: Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC) North America Concluded its Regional Congress – 04 December

  • Assenna reports that the Eritrean National Council for Democratic Change (ENCDC) North America successfully concluded its Regional Congress in Denver, Colorado, held 1-2 December.
  • At the meeting, the assembly “concluded discussions on current issues affecting Eritrea, and ways of reaching out to politics organizations, civic associations, and notable Eritreans outside Baito.’

Anadolu Agency: Eritrean president to pay visit to Djibouti ‘soon’: FM – 05 December

  • Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Djibouti, has said that President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh will receive a visit from President Isaias “soon”, in a further thawing of relations following developments initiated by Ethiopia.
  • Youssouf said that Prime Minister Abiy “has been instrumental in the new momentum” of the regional rapprochement.
  • Youssouf praised Prime Minister Abiy as the “visionary leader” that was needed to overcome deep-rooted tensions between Djibouti and Eritrea.

The New York Times: A Reclusive Nation Cracks Open Its Doors – 05 December

  • The New York Times publishes a multimedia feature by Malin Fezahai, a reporter of Eritrean descent, who has returned to the country in the wake of the rapprochement with Ethiopia.
  • Fezehai considers the potential attractiveness of Eritrea as a destination for cultural tourism, with its rich architecture incorporating Italian, Ottoman, Aksum and British influences.
  • She says that Eritrea remains very hard to access for outsiders, and that President Isaias “has pledged not to turn the nation into another “spoon-fed” African country”.
  • Fezehai says that “deeper reforms of Eritrean society such as demilitarizing, holding elections, allowing freedom of speech, will require changes to the national narrative.”

NPR: ‘Peace Is Everything’: Ethiopia And Eritrea Embrace Open Border After Long Conflict – 05 November

  • NPR publishes an article on the situation in Eritrea, featuring the views of those located in the border areas, who speak of their experiences of increased trade and movement.
  • Daniel Berhane, an Ethiopian political analyst, says the history between the countries runs too deep for changes to be made so quickly, and that the details of the peace process are “poorly managed”.
  • Berhane notes that the new lack of tariff regulations, currency control, or any border control were the exact issues that prompted the previous conflict.
  • Berhane analyses deeper discrepancies in the respective routes taken by the two countries, contrasting Ethiopia’s reform agenda with a static Eritrean government which that has not implemented any internal reforms.

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