It is a dramatic increase in China’s investment in Ethiopia as spring board for African recolonization . By some estimates, it’s more than doubled in the past five years to more than two billion dollars and bribing the leaders to control one of the ancient independent country. This fuel the country’s recent dramatic foreign pumped growth in the cities making the rich rich and the poor to live in the feudal period creating wide parity.
The Original Title
No Room for Debate on Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam? by Lori Pottinger
GERD is being built in Ethiopia near the Sudan border
International Rivers has been caught in the crossfirebetween Ethiopia and Egypt as they struggle over a large dam being built on the Nile River by Ethiopia. Ethiopia’s government turned its sights on International Rivers after we published a leaked report by the international panel of experts charged with reviewing project documents for the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD). Oursummary of their report describes a number of outstanding concerns raised by the non-binding panel, including the inadequacy of the hydrological-impacts study (a key document for understanding how the dam will affect people and ecosystems downstream).
In response, Ethiopia’s “national panel of experts” (which includes two of the 10 members of the Panel) issued a histrionic statement that claims our organization is backed by “Egyptian financiers,” seeks to prevent Ethiopia from developing, and other provocative and groundless charges. Unhelpfully, their statement does not actually address the concerns raised by the International Panel of Experts (IPoE), nor our summary of them. You can read the IPoE reportand come to your own conclusions.
Ethiopia’s wild allegations have been quite popular with a certain category of internet attack dogs, and these folks aren’t likely to be swayed by what we say here. However, we can state unequivocally: International Rivers does not take funding from any government institution, including Egypt. We are not “taking sides” – we are impartial when it comes to critiquing destructive river projects and poor river management around the globe, including inEgypt and Sudan. The Nile is just one of many basins where conflicts are arising from engineering rivers for a narrow purpose with a limited group of beneficiaries, while a much larger group of people is left to suffer the consequences. These conflicts are exacerbated when transboundary rivers are “developed” for hydroelectricity in isolation and in secrecy. Readers can learn more about our cautions regarding the myriad of dams and diversions planned by many riparian nations along the Nile in our 2003 paper Can the Nile States Dam Their Way to Cooperation?, which presciently noted that poorly planned large dams could worsen tensions over the Nile.
We recognize Ethiopia’s interest in updating the Nile Basin Treaty, support economic development that winnows Ethiopia’s poverty rates, and acknowledge that the Ethiopian Government must chart its own course of development. Our experience as an organization with expertise in hydropower and rivers, and as part of a global civil society movement of dam-affected peoples, leads us to conclude that maintaining healthy rivers and the ecosystems and communities they support is key to long-term prosperity. Our experience studying mega-dams in Africa reveals these projects have consistently failed to reduce poverty, and have been a costly and ineffective solution for increasing access for the millions of people on the continent without reliable access to electricity. We believe a greater focus ondecentralized energy solutions will more quickly, cheaply and effectively begin to close the yawning gap of Africa’s energy poverty.
The GERD Panel concluded a year ago that more studies – some of them quite substantial, but also standard practice for a project of this magnitude – must be undertaken to fully assess GERD’s impacts. Drawing upon this evaluation by an international team of technical experts, International Rivers has called for a halt to the hurried construction so that critical information on the project’s impacts can be assessed and steps to reduce impacts agreed upon by all nations involved in the dispute.
To the government of Ethiopia, we respectfully submit that the greatest threat to the GERD project is not International Rivers’ publicizing the Panel’s report, but rather the escalation of tensions resulting from the dam’s poor planning process. Such a monumental project should be accompanied by an equally monumental effort to gain acceptance from people who will be affected by it, and a commitment to adopt best practices for managing this important shared river. The next step is to begin the robust studies as called for by the Panel of Experts.
At this writing, Egypt and Ethiopia remain at an impasse while construction of the dam proceeds at a rapid pace. This serious conflict – borne of decades of mistrust between the two nations and controversial treaties over the use of Nile waters – is being enflamed by Ethiopia’s rushed and secretive process. This is what threatens the viability and success of this project. We urge the Nile states to find constructive ways to forge national and regional development strategies that ensure the long-term health of this critically important river, and build resilience to climatic uncertainty.
GERD Panel of Experts Report: Big Questions Remain
Construction on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam(GERD) – Africa’s biggest hydropower dam – began based on piecemeal preliminary studies and design documents, with only a very basic analysis of how the project would affect downstream neighbors, according to the 2013 final report by an international panel of experts established to evaluate the scheme. The megadam is being built on the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, near the Sudan border, and has created conflict with Egypt over its downstream impacts; the experts’ study confirms Egypt’s concerns that the project’s impacts could be significant and are not well understood.
The Ethiopian government reported last year that the panel’s report “showed that the Dam offers high benefit for all the three countries and would not cause significant harm on both the lower riparian countries”, while Egypt has repeatedly said the report calls for more analysis of downstream impacts. Because the report was not made public, neither side could be vetted. Egypt has called for mediation if further studies are not allowed; at this writing, Ethiopia had refused, and was continuing with dam construction.
In March 2014, International Rivers received a leaked copy of the report. The report documents numerous problems with existing analysis and a lack of analysis on a number of critical issues. The panel recommends further investigation into the dam’s hydrological impacts, including on downstream countries’ water supplies and power generation; risks from climate change, and geotechnical issues. The panel recommends “a full transboundary environmental and social impact assessment … conducted jointly by the three countries.”
The 10-member panel included two members from each of the three riparians (Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan), plus four international experts agreed upon by the governments. A geotechnical expert group was added later. The main panel met for about a year, and had four field visits to the dam site. While the panel’s members were granted access to many key project documents (all of which remain confidential at this time), some key reports were not shared with them, including the critical geotechnical assessments for the main and saddle dams, and project cost-benefit analyses.
One international dam expert who has seen the report states that it shows that construction on the project is proceeding on “an aggressively accelerated schedule” with little room for adjusting key elements of dam design to reduce harm or prevent problems. A number of key studies for the project are described by the panel as being outdated or in process. While references are made to some specific international standards being adhered to, overall, the process described seems chaotic and incomplete. It is also clear that there is precious little oversight on Africa’s largest dam project to date. While the international panel has brought a type of oversight, it may be too little, too late – and with too little teeth; it seems the panel does not have a continuing role in ensuring best practices as construction proceeds.
The panel’s report is almost a year old at this writing, yet its members have been mostly silent since their report was completed (as far as we know, none of the panelists have made public statements about the project). The Egyptian and Ethiopian governments continue the war of words, while at the same time construction on the megadam proceeds, and questions raised by the panel remain unanswered.
Going forward, International Rivers recommends construction on the project be halteduntil all necessary studies recommended by the panel are completed, and a process is in place for ensuring public accountability on the project. Given the panel’s findings, Egypt’s call for mediation in the process is reasonable, and donor governments and international bodies should support such a process.
The following summarizes some of the panel’s key findings and recommendations:
- Quality of project documents: The present design criteria are “quite general, and do not include project- and site-specific conditions … The most essential geotechnical, seismological, hydro-geological, hydrological, hydraulic and structural design data should be compiled into a consolidated report and not scattered in numerous design reports.” The project’s main design report is outdated and does not reflect numerous and significant design changes to the project.
- Safety: “The stability of the main dam and other main structures should be verified under consideration of additional geological and geotechnical findings.” The panel believes more analysis may be necessary, but without having access to all information on this aspect of the project, cannot be sure. Nonetheless, they do question some assumptions on the project’s “shear strength” and raise concerns about sliding, seepage and other safety issues. “In view of the on-going construction works . . . highest priority shall be given to clarify [dam safety issues] as soon as possible. Structural measures might be needed to stabilize the foundation to achieve the required safety against sliding.” The panel also suggests design modifications for the saddle dam and further studies on the spillway dimensions. The panel recommends that the discharge of the “Probable Maximum Flood” used in the dam design be increased.
- Downstream changes to water flow: First and foremost, “The (hydrological study) is very basic, and not yet at a level of detail, sophistication and reliability that would befit a development of this magnitude, importance and with such regional impact as GERD.” Project studies looked only at the GERD site. “No upstream developments are taken into account, and no downstream flow records … are given as would be needed to assess downstream impacts.” The panel notes that, “given the proposed upstream cascade development of similar magnitude than the GERD, the upstream flow records could be of significant importance.” The panel notes that the hydrological report uses questionable estimates of evaporation from the reservoir (a key issue in how much water the dam will “use”), and recommends further assessments of evaporation. It also notes that the project did not quantify water losses through deep percolation during reservoir filling. Regarding GERD’s impact on Egypt’s water supply, the panel found that “mass balances represented in the report of water between the GERD and the High Aswan Dam could not be reconciled given the information presented.” The GERD also allows for greater expansion of irrigated cropping in Sudan, which could further reduce flows to Egypt; the panel recommends a detailed study on this issue.
- Environmental impacts: Surprisingly little information is included on impacts on local people, ecosystems, fisheries or biodiversity. The official Environmental and Social Impact Assessment Report was “strictly limited to the impact zones located upstream of the dam site in Ethiopia.” Downstream environmental impacts were not considered as being significant, and therefore several related socio-economic impacts are not addressed. Dam height was chosen without consideration of downstream environmental and socio-economic impacts. The panel recommends a full transboundary impact assessment be done.
- Climate risks: The panel notes that the project did not assess the project’s sensitivity to climate change. A project of this scale and with such heavy reliance on rainfall patterns requires a better understanding of future hydrologic conditions to ensure the highest degree of flexibility and resiliency in its design and operation. The panel recommends a study that looks at the potential influence of climate change on the flow regime at GERD and further downstream.
- Sediment and water quality issues: The project did not include an analysis of sediment deposition in the reservoir (a troublesome issue for dams on the muddy Nile). The panel notes that sediment flows downstream of the dam will be substantially reduced, with implications for floodplain farming productivity, navigation, Sudan’s brick industry, riverbank erosion, and biodiversity. The panel also recommends additional studies on water quality changes from the project, particularly on methane gas production and the depletion of dissolved oxygen levels in water releases that could harm fisheries and biodiversity downstream.
- Dam operations: Very little information on how the dam will be operated was given. At a basic level, both present and future needs for “peaking power versus base power needs to be assessed in more detail,” and “needs to be taken into account in (project) planning and sizing.” The report requests verification of the 6,000MW installed capacity. Furthermore, the Panel does not indicate if the dam was designed in a way to accommodate “environmental flows” (which can be used to mitigate impacts of a dam on a river). In all likelihood this was not considered as the panel writes that “it is not clear whether the present design considers (capacity, functionality) the minimum mean flows of the dry months release to the downstream countries” without use of power generation facilities or the spillway. It is also clear that consideration of operation of the GERD in coordination with water systems in Egypt and Sudan was at a very preliminary stage during the writing of this report. The report strongly recommends additional studies of the GERD “in the context of the Eastern Nile System” in order to “quantify the downstream impacts in detail with confidence.”
Original title “Eritrea and Ethiopia: Beyond the Impasse”
Jason Mosley, April 2014
- Opportunities exist for external efforts to foster improved relations between Eritrea and Ethiopia. This will involve questioning some of the underlying assumptions about their conflict and current regional dynamics. A fresh approach should involve engagement with each country individually, rather than immediate attempts to promote dialogue between them.
- The initial focus should be on promoting the conditions in each country for an eventual confident re-engagement with the other. It is important to avoid a narrow focus on the specifics of the border conflict, and post-conflict boundary demarcation, which has hitherto dominated external engagement.
- Economic incentives are central to enabling improved relations between the two states. However, the prospective economic benefits of re-opening the border will not be the initial catalyst for improved ties given that economic considerations were insufficient to prevent the war.
- International engagement on areas of mutual interest, especially on trade and investment, could go some way to fostering a sense in Eritrea of stable economic sovereignty in the face of Ethiopia’s economic and demographic predominance.
- Waiting for a change of leadership before making significant efforts to engage is untenable. There is no guarantee that subsequent leaders would adopt a significantly different foreign policy.
The UK government is providing financial aid to human rights abusers in Ethiopia through funding training paramilitaries, who perpetrate summary killings, rape and torture in the impoverished African country, local media reported.
Through its foreign aid budget, the UK government provides financial support to an Ethiopian government security force known as the “special police” as part of its “peace and development programme”, which would cost up to £15 million in five years, The Guardian reported. The Department for International Development warned in a leaked document of the “reputational risks” of working with organizations that are “frequently cited in human rights violation allegations”, according to the report. The Ethiopian government’s counter-insurgency campaign in Ogaden, a troubled region largely populated by ethnic Somalis is being enforced by the 14,000-strong special police. This is while police forces are repeatedly accused by Human Rights Watch of serious human rights abuses. Claire Beston, the Amnesty International’s Ethiopia researcher, said it was highly concerning that Britain was planning to work with the paramilitary force.
Large-scale hydroelectric dams are not economically viable in a vast majority of cases and can seriously damage emerging economies, according to new research.
A team at Oxford University said countries pursuing projects – including Brazil, China, Ethiopia, Indonesia and Pakistan – risk saddling themselves with “serious debt owing to ill-advised construction”.
The Saїd Business School based its study on data from 245 large dams in 65 countries. The findings show the construction costs are on average 90%-plus higher than their budgets at the time of approval, in real terms.
This is before accounting for “negative impacts on human society and environment and without including the effects of inflation and debt servicing”, the researchers added.
The study also found that the magnitude of cost overruns has not declined over time and “dam budgets today are as wrong as at any time during the 70 years for which data exists”.
In the case of Brazil’s Itaipu dam, built in the 1970s, there was a 240%-plus cost overrun that impaired the nation’s public finances for three decades. Itaipu will most likely never pay back the costs incurred to build it.
Nevertheless, Brazil is currently building the Belo Monte hydro project, which “has proved non-viable even before opening”. The researchers also warn that “China, Indonesia, Pakistan and other nations show similar amnesic behaviour regarding the building of dams”.
Costs aside, mega-dams also take an inordinately long time to build, some 8.2 years on average and often more than 10 years.
Report co-author Dr Atif Ansar said: ‘Proponents of mega-dams tend to focus on rare stories of success in order to get their pet projects approved. The purported success of the Hoover dam in the USA, for example, is an often-heard argument in favour of building new large dams.
“Instead of relying on the outcome of just one project, decision makers should consider evidence for the entire population. In the case of large dams, the probability of failure dominates.
“If leaders of emerging economies are truly interested in the welfare of their citizens, they are better off laying grand visions of mega-dams aside.”
Image: the Hoover project in the US is often touted as an argument for hydroelectric dam development (Wikimedia Commons)
The battle of Adwa of the 1st of March, 1896 a great victory and pride for Africans at home and Diaspora. The victory assured that Ethiopia successfully resists European colonization.
Italy the late comer to the scramble for Africa in the late 19th century was allocated to Ethiopia but just needed to take control. The Italians and the rest of the European powers present at the Berlin Conference 1880’s wrongly assumed that Ethiopia was made up of rival tribes fighting one another and thought it would be a quick promenade for their 20,000 strong highly trained invasion forces. They never thought what they call “tribal back word sa
vages” could be united raising a much larger patriotic people’s army to defend their country and even to
win an all out war.
The main cause of the Battle being the European colonial ambition it manifested through the deferent treaty the colonial powers used to cheat the Africans. This was highly manifested by Italo Ethiopian Treaty known as the Wechale Treaty. The colonial manipulation started when Menelik II came to the throne in 1889 the Italians thought that he would surrender sovereignty to them since they had been supplying him with ammunitions. They succeeded to manipulate the king on May 2, 1889, to make him sign the Treaty of Uccialli in the province of Wello, with which Menelik accorded for the Italians some land in Tigre to the already concession he has made by letting them to take Eritrea. In this famous once sided treaty, they tricked Menelik by having two different versions- one in Italian and other in Amharic. The secret of the Italian plan was manifested on article 17 which read in one in Amharic and other in Italian. Thus the Italian version read: –
“The Emperor consents to use the Italian government for all the business he does with all the other Powers or Governments“.
The Amharic version reads:-
“The Emperor has the option to communicate with the help of the Italian government for all matters that he wants with the kings of Europe.”
When Menelik realized that he had been cheated he immediately rejected the treaty and refused all further offers of gifts from the Italians. Turkey, Russia and France stood to the Ethiopian version of the story. Finally Menelik decided to confront the advancing Italian Army which has already occupied Tigre Provence without his contentment.
As a result in September of 1895, Menelik, King of Kings of Ethiopia mobilized the population of Ethiopia to arms. Over 100,000 Ethiopians gathered under his rank to liberate his occupy province by the Italian forces.
“God, in his bounty, has struck down my enemies and enlarged my empire and preserved me to this day. I have reigned by the grace of God….Enemies have come who would ruin our country and change our religion. They have passed beyond the sea which God gave us as our frontier….These enemies have advanced, burrowing into the country like moles. With God’s help I will get rid of them.”
Menelik divided his Army under three leaders:-
- Emperor Menelik II, The King of Kings of Ethiopia
- Empress Taytu Betul, The Wife of Menlik II
- Negus Tekle Haymanot Tessemma ,
- Ras Welle Betul ;
- RasMengesha Atikem ;
- Ras Mengesha Yohannes ;
- Ras Alula Engida ;
- Ras Mikael of Wollo;
- Ras Makonnen Wolde Mikael;
[stream provider=youtube flv=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3DYdEifBqlcvI img=x:/img.youtube.com/vi/YdEifBqlcvI/0.jpg embed=false share=false width=340 height=260 dock=true controlbar=over bandwidth=high autostart=false /]
On the night of 29 February and the early morning of 1 March three Italian brigades advanced separately towards Adwa over narrow mountain tracks, while a fourth remained camped. The Italiano Forces were led by:-
- General Oreste Baratieri ;
- Brgdaire Matteo Albertone,
- Giuseppe Arimondi,
- Giuseppe Ellena and
- Vittorio Dabormida.
These invading Italian forces were made up of 18,000 infantry and 56 artillery guns, and with many thousands of Eritrean militias were prepared to fight against Menelik II on the battle field.
At 6:00 on the 1st of March 1896 the Italian Gen. Albertone used the Eritrean askari peasant fighters to face their brother Ethiopian as is always the game to make the enemy to kill one another at a place called Kidane Meret. This was the hill where the Ethiopians had managed to set up their mountain out front. On the hill side though outnumbered by the Eritrean askaris, the Ethiopian fighters were able to hold their position for two hours which they broke the rank of the Italians and able to capture General Albertone’s. At such heroic fight the Italian and their remaining askaris dispersed leaving the wounded and the dead. Seeing the capture of the Albertone Gen Arimondi’s brigade joined the fight at the last minute and start punching the Ethiopians to liberate the captured Italians. The Ethiopians fought courageously and battled the colonizers three hours while Menelik himself joined the combat with his 25,000 strong Shewans people’s army and broke their back bones once for good. Brigadier Dabormida now made a fatal error as he retreated from Menelik’s push, he was cornered into a narrow hill where he was ransacked by Ras Mikael ‘s Oromo Army . They wiped him out, his body was never recovered. The last blow came at noon the next day when Negus Tekle Haymonot led his Gojjam forces break the back bone of the remaining Italian brigade. This happened when Negus was attacked by the last of the invading army which he destroyed and by one o’clock the battle was finished with victory to the African Army.
The battle was bloody over 8,000 Italians died and 1500 wounded many captured fighting hard to save the pride of European colonizers, but with no avail. Almost the same amount of Ethiopians perished in this decisive war of history in the African heartland after the war of the Zulu in South Africa and Mhadist victory against the Britons in Khartoum led by Mahadi.
“In Ethiopia, the military genius of Menelik II was in the best tradition of Piankhi, the great ruler of ancient Egypt and Nubia or ancient Ethiopia, who drove out the Italians in 1896 and maintained the liberties of that ancient free empire of Black men.” Huggins and Jackson analyzed the victory not only in terms of its significance to the postcolonial African world, but also in terms of its linkage to the tradition of ancient African glories and victories. An Introduction to African Civilizations, Huggins and Jackson write
Ethiopian Airlines flight ET702 hijacked by the co-pilot flown to Geneva. The 30-year-old Ethiopian pilot reportedly took control of the plane when its captain went to the rest room. The co-pilot then locked himself in the cockpit and diverted the plane to Geneva International Airport. The plane was parked at a far end of a runway crowded with police and other emergency vehicles today morning. The flight was carrying about 200 people and was hijacked as it flew over Sudan, The co-pilot then locked himself in the cockpit and diverted the plane to Geneva International Airport, and before landing at the airport, asked for asylum. Upon landing, he escaped through the cockpit window using a rope before turning himself over to police, the report said. All the passengers and crew of the Boeing 767-300 were evacuated unharmed. according to some of the passengers was the regimes crackdown on opposition and the recent wanton land grabbing. Flights to Geneva from Newark and Washington in the United States and Moscow in Russia have been diverted, and flights from Lugano and Zurich in Switzerland have been cancelled We remember an Ethiopian Airlines flight between Addis Ababa and Nairobi was hijacked in 1996 by three Ethiopians. The plane crash-landed in the Indian Ocean when it ran out of fuel, killing 125 people, as well as the hijackers.
Rival parties in the South Sudan power struggle meet in Ethiopia for peace talks, mediated by two Eritreans in power in Ethiopia, Dr. Tedros Adhanom and Brehane G/kirstos. However, the conflict with Ethiopia and their home Eritrea still lingering for 16 years with no solution.
Landlocked South Sudan has sub-Saharan Africa’s largest oil reserves after Nigeria and Angola, according to BP Plc (BP/) data. It has been exporting all of its crude — about 245,000 barrels a day — through pipelines across Sudan. The fighting has cut output to about 200,000 barrels daily.
Platoons defected from Yei, about 170 kilometers (107 miles) from Juba, and a town nearby, army spokesman Philip Aguer told reporters yesterday. About 600 Nuer soldiers broke away from government troops in Maridi, the capital of Western Equatoria, before clashing with the army at the city of Rokon, he said. Government forces are advancing on the capital of Jonglei state, Bor, which is held by rebels, Aguer said.
General Abraham Jongroor Machar was killed yesterday in fighting near Pariak, about 14 miles south of Bor, Defense Minister Kuol Manyang Juuk said in a phone interview from Juba. The fighting must stop for the government to move on to negotiations on a monitored cease-fire, Makuei said. “Without a cessation of hostilities, ultimately it becomes difficult for us to continue talking,” he said.
Sporadic gunfire broke out last night around the UN compound in Juba, according to residents. That followed shooting the previous night at the Giyada military barracks and the Jebel residential neighborhood that Aguer blamed on “drunk soldiers.”
The government said it won’t bow to international pressure and immediately release politicians detained after an alleged attempted coup last month as more of its soldiers defected to rebels forces.
“We thought the international community would come in support of us,” Information Minister Michael Makuei told reporters yesterday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, where talks are taking place to end a three-week-old conflict in the neighboring African country. “There is no way we can be asked to release people who are arrested and charged.” Freeing the detainees would set a “bad precedent.”
The U.S. and the European Union said Jan. 4 that 11 politicians imprisoned in South Sudan should be freed to help warring parties reach a cease-fire and a political solution. The releases should not be a “pre-condition” for negotiations being mediated by East African nations, Makuei said.
Conflict broke out on Dec. 15 after President Salva Kiir accused former Vice President Riek Machar of trying to stage a coup. The violence has pitted members of Kiir’s ethnic Dinka community against Machar’s Nuer group. “Thousands” of people have died and about 200,000 have been displaced, according to United Nations estimates.
Sudanese President Umar al-Bashir arrived today in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, to “express solidarity” with Kiir, Ateny Wek Ateny, Kiir’s press secretary, told reporters. Direct talks between government and rebel negotiators may start at 3 p.m. today in Addis Ababa, Makuei said in a phone interview.
The leaders of the two delegations met Jan. 4 to discuss negotiations, rebel spokesman Yohanis Musa Pouk said in an interview. Machar and his allies want the release of all charged with coup-plotting by Kiir’s government and for those individuals to be given freedom of movement, Taban Deng Gai, head of the negotiating team for the rebels, said on Jan. 4. The politicians were imprisoned for expressing a “political opinion,” he said.
Those detained without charge include Pagan Amum, former secretary-general of the ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. Kiir fired his cabinet in July, including Machar, who then said he plans to challenge Kiir for the chairmanship of the ruling party. Machar was one of the leaders of a faction that split from other southern rebels during decades of civil war with the government in Khartoum.
Efforts to mediate a truce are being led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, a group of seven East African nations including Ethiopia, Kenya and Sudan.
‘Concession demanded ’
IGAD wants South Sudan to go the “extra mile” in its treatment of the detainees so they can take part in talks, Getachew Reda, a spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, said yesterday. “One of the things that was suggested was for the South Sudanese government to expedite the process, bail them out and transfer them to IGAD,” he said. “IGAD will then have the responsibility to transfer them to a court of law so they can face due process.” South Sudan has “no problem” with IGAD’s approach in general on the issue of the detainees, Makuei said.
The UN has urged both sides to avoid civilian casualties, and called on donors to help aid agencies raise $166 million for humanitarian programs. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters in Jerusalem yesterday that the start of direct talks was a “very important step” and urged officials to approach them with “resolve.”
South Sudan seceded from neighboring Sudan in July 2011, taking three-quarters of the formerly united country’s crude output with it. Oil exports provide more than 95 percent of government revenue.