The Times – EDITORIAL: Africa Felix: A peace deal between Ethiopia and Eritrea should prod others into ending conflict – 20 August

  • In its editorial voice, the Times contrasts positive developments between Ethiopia and Eritrea with diplomatic failings that “have opened and deepened global rifts” around the world. “On the horn of Africa, two competing and warring rivals have realised that they stand to win more by working together”.
  • “Over the summer this has unfolded into a full scale reconciliation. Phone links between the two countries have been restored, as have regular flights and bus services. Eritrea… has opened up; its diplomatic isolation melting away”.
  • “Eritrea can no longer justify the indefinite military service imposed on its young men. Jobs will now have to be found for them in an under- developed civilian economy. At least 3,000 people a month flee first into Sudan and then north across the Mediterranean.”
  • “If both leaders stay the course, and make themselves democratically accountable, they could be in the running for a Nobel Prize and deserved international acclaim.” Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki pays another visit to Ethiopia – 17 August

  • The visit will be the second time in two months that Afwerki is travelling to Ethiopia. He reciprocated a visit by Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to Asmara in July 2018 after the two nations ended two decades of hostilities.
  • An exact date has yet to be communicated but ahead of Afwerki’s visit, a delegation from the regional state will travel to Asmara. Eritrea has also not officially commented on the development. There are no signs yet from the Ethiopian government of withdrawal of troops – 19 August

  • The Ethiopian government has officially spoken to reports about alleged withdrawal of its troops from the frontline with neighbouring Eritrea. Some previous reports said Ethiopian troops were seen leaving the town of Shiraro, a key front in the Ethio-Eritrea war.
  • But Defense Minister, Motumma Mekassa in an interview on Saturday with the Reporter newspaper said the movement of troops was a “normal routine for the military and nothing else.”
  • The withdrawal of troops and the subsequent demilitarization of the disputed territories is one of the eagerly awaited legs of the normalization of ties.

Twitter: Yemane G. Meskel, Minister of information, @hawelti – 16 August

  • “Representatives of the Amhara Region and the Amhara Democratic Forces Movement, (ADFM), signed a Reconciliation Agreement in Asmara today. The Agreement provides for the ADFM to pursue its political activities in Ethiopia through peaceful means.”
  • Tweeted with image of signing.

Sudan Tribune: South Sudan President visits Eritrea – 19 August

  • South Sudanese President Salva Kiir Mayardit arrived on Saturday in Asmara for talks with his Eritrean counterpart Isaias Afwerki on bilateral relations. Eritrean information minister Yemane G. Meskel said the two leaders will discuss enhancing “bilateral cooperation in various sectors and exchange views on regional and international issues of mutual interest”.
  • The two-day visit comes after a visit of Somalia’s President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to Asmara upon the invitation of President Afwerki.

Voice of America: Eritrean fighter pilot, escapee, calls for justice for jailed compatriots – 19 August

  • Dejen Ande Hishel was an elite Eritrean fighter pilot. In 1999, Eritrean authorities arrested him, for reasons that remain unclear. He was never formally charged with a crime or faced trial, but nonetheless he spent 15 years in a maximum-security prison before escaping in 2014.
  • The timing of Dejen’s call is no coincidence. As dynamics in the region change, activists are hoping the government will loosen those restrictions or free prisoners.
  • Although he’s no longer detained, Dejen said his freedom has not been complete because so many remain in prison, including high-ranking officers.
  • Many advocacy groups, along with the United Nations, have documented widespread human rights concerns in Eritrea. Government officials have dismissed those reports as biased and politically motivated, but stories like Dejen’s suggest the judicial system needs sweeping reform.

Arab News: African migrants reel as Israeli law cuts into salaries – 15 August

  • African migrants in Israel have been detained, threatened with deportation and faced hostility from lawmakers and residents. Since last year, they face another burden: a de facto 20 percent salary cut that has driven them further into poverty.
  • While the migrants say they are refugees fleeing conflict or persecution, Israel views them as job-seekers who threaten the Jewish character of the state.
  • Israel doesn’t hide its intentions behind the “deposit law,” which according to the Interior Ministry, is meant to make Israel a less attractive option for migrants.
  • The law requires migrants’ employers to hand over 20 percent of their salaries to the state, which says it keeps the money until the migrants leave, at which point they can reclaim the cash.


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