Africanews: Somali MPs aim to impeach president over Ethiopia, Eritrea ‘deals’ – 10 December

  • Africanews reports that the deputy speakers of the Somali parliament have rejected an impeachment motion brought on the grounds that president Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo “secretly signed agreements” with Ethiopia and Eritrea, allegedly on the use of Somali ports and economic and security cooperation.
  • Abdiweli Mudey and Mahad Awad rejected the motion on the grounds that it could cause “unnecessary political conflict in the country”.
  • Constitutionally, 92 lawmakers have to sign such a motion for it to be submitted to the speaker. Parliament would have debated the motion if it was admitted, and a successful impeachment vote would require the backing of two thirds of Somalia’s 275 MPs.

Ethiopia Insight: What is the point in Amhara nationalism?– 10 December

  • Ethiopia Insight publishes an analysis by Teshome Borago on the future of “Amhara nationalism” and ethnic federalism in Ethiopia.
  • Borago discusses the fortunes of the Amhara National Democratic Movement and identity-based youth movements promoting Amhara nationalism, and their influence on contemporary Ethiopian politics.

NPR: Will Ethiopia’s Democratic Awakening Catch On Next Door In Eritrea? – 08 December

  • NPR reports from the Eritrea-Ethiopia border, where Eritrean communities have expressed little hope for domestic democratic reforms like those enacted in Ethiopia.
  • Sirak, 17, fled to Ethiopia from Eritrea when his house was demolished following the opening of the border in September. He believes that any improvement of the situation in Eritrea remains “impossible”.
  • Awet Weldemichael, studying Eritrea at Queen’s University in Canada, says that the “agents of change” are not staying in Eritrea to call for the implementation of democratic reforms, and are instead fleeing to Ethiopia and elsewhere.
  • NPR notes that the recent lifting of UN sanctions is unlikely to catalyse any domestic change because these measures were mostly based on a weapons ban and targeted sanctions.

Voice of America: 6 Years After Her Imprisonment in Eritrea, US Citizen’s Family Demands Answers – 07 December

  • Voice of America reports on the case of Ciham Ali Abdu, an Eritrean-American citizen who was apprehended as a teenager when she attempted to cross the border to Sudan.
  • Ciham’s family has not seen or heard from her in six years. The Eritrean government refuses to acknowledge her American citizenship, while the US has been “similarly non-committal”.
  • Her uncle Saleh Younis believes that the U.S. forfeited a major bargaining chip when UN sanctions were lifted without preconditions, such as information on Ciham’s whereabouts.
  • Earlier this month, Amnesty International called on the United States to demand the release of Ciham and US embassy staff who have been detained without trial or legal representation.

In the Bunch: Maroesjka Matthee praises Eritrea’s commitment to cycling at Africa Cup – 07 December

  • South African cycling news website In the Bunch reports that Maroesjka Matthee, a track cyclist who won the Africa Cup road race in Eritrea, has praised the host country for its event management and treatment of women cyclists.
  • Matthee said: “The women have the same equipment and support as the men. It was great to see equal opportunities for both genders.”
  • Of the hospitality of Eritrean crowds and the welcome that competitors received, she said: “There’s respect for each other. There are so many people on bikes. Racing there is unbelievable. Everyone comes out in support; thousands of people. It’s really amazing.” Switzerland lifts targeted sanctions against Eritrea – 07 December

  • Swissinfo reports that the Swiss government has lifted targeted sanctions, an arms embargo and asset freezes imposed against Eritrea following the UN Security Council vote last month.
  • In a statement, the government said it was repealing its own measures in compliance with the UNSC decision, effective as of 7 December 2018.
  • About 20,000 Eritreans live in Switzerland, and they make up the largest national group of asylum seekers in the country.
  • The re-emergence of Eritrea on the international stage has also had an impact on Switzerland’s asylum policy towards Eritreans fleeing compulsory military service. A Swiss court ruled in July that deportation could not be prevented solely on the grounds of citizens’ obligation to perform national service.


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