Category Archives: World-News

Ethiopian Airlines hesitant about using Boeing Max jets

DALLAS (AP) – The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says his airline might never fly the Boeing 737 Max again after a deadly crash in March, and if it does, it will wait until other carriers use the plane first.

Tewolde Gebremariam told NBC News that Ethiopian won’t use the plane unless the airline, its pilots and passengers are convinced that it is safe.

“If we fly them again, we will be the last airline to fly them again,” he said.

A Boeing spokesman, Charles Bickers, said the company “is working closely with pilots, airlines and global regulators to update the Max and help prevent this tragic loss of life from happening again.”

Nearly 400 Max jets operated by dozens of airlines remain grounded around the world while Boeing works to fix flight-control software implicated in two accidents that killed 346 people, including 157 on Ethiopian Flight 302.

Boeing’s changes are designed to reduce the software’s ability to pitch the nose of the plane down in some circumstances, and to make it easier for pilots to control.

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last month that the Chicago-based company had flown more than 130 test flights with an update to the software. Boeing expects the next step, a certification flight with Federal Aviation Administration people on board, “in the near term,” he said.

However, that final test has not been scheduled yet, raising questions about how quickly Max jets can be retrieved from storage and put back in service.

In the U.S., Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have steadily pushed the return of the Max farther into the future. Both have removed it from their schedules into August, although executives suggested last month that the plane could be back before then. United Airlines, the only other U.S. carrier to operate the Max, took them out of the schedule until early July.

Boeing has not given Southwest a timeline for the plane’s return, said Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based airline.

“It seems that there are too many variables at play,” King said. She said it would take 30 to 60 days for Southwest to take the planes out of storage and get them ready to fly.

Also, extra training will be required for pilots, although the nature of that training is not settled. Boeing is pushing for computer-based tutorials that would be much quicker than training sessions in flight simulators.

FILE - In this March 23, 2019 file photo, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 Max 8 sits grounded at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The CEO of Ethiopian Airlines says his airline might never fly the Boeing 737 Max again after a deadly crash in March, and if it does, it will wait until other carriers use the plane first. (AP Photo/Mulugeta Ayene, File)

American Airlines is working with Boeing, the FAA and its pilots, “and if necessary, will make additional adjustments to our schedule,” said airline spokesman Ross Feinstein.

The FAA won’t say how long its review of Boeing’s changes will take. Spokesman Gregory Martin said FAA “will take whatever time is necessary to have the safety analysis we need to make an informed decision.”

Industry experts believe that regulators in other countries will take longer than the FAA to let the Max fly again. Other regulators have indicated they want to conduct their own reviews, and they could impose additional conditions.

Canada’s transport minister, for example, has said he wants pilot training to include time in flight simulators, which would delay the plane’s return in that country.

The Justice Department is investigating Boeing. The FAA’s 2017 decision to certify the Max has also come under scrutiny by the Transportation Department’s inspector general and Congress. A House subcommittee plans to question acting FAA chief Daniel Elwell at a

Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg said last month that the Chicago-based company had flown more than 130 test flights with an update to the software. Boeing expects the next step, a certification flight with Federal Aviation Administration people on board, “in the near term,” he said.

However, that final test has not been scheduled yet, raising questions about how quickly Max jets can be retrieved from storage and put back in service.

In the U.S., Southwest Airlines and American Airlines have steadily pushed the return of the Max farther into the future. Both have removed it from their schedules into August, although executives suggested last month that the plane could be back before then. United Airlines, the only other U.S. carrier to operate the Max, took them out of the schedule until early July.

Boeing has not given Southwest a timeline for the plane’s return, said Brandy King, a spokeswoman for the Dallas-based airline.

“It seems that there are too many variables at play,” King said. She said it would take 30 to 60 days for Southwest to take the planes out of storage and get them ready to fly.

Also, extra training will be required for pilots, although the nature of that training is not settled. Boeing is pushing for computer-based tutorials that would be much quicker than training sessions in flight simulators.

American Airlines is working with Boeing, the FAA and its pilots, “and if necessary, will make additional adjustments to our schedule,” said airline spokesman Ross Feinstein.

The FAA won’t say how long its review of Boeing’s changes will take. Spokesman Gregory Martin said FAA “will take whatever time is necessary to have the safety analysis we need to make an informed decision.”

Industry experts believe that regulators in other countries will take longer than the FAA to let the Max fly again. Other regulators have indicated they want to conduct their own reviews, and they could impose additional conditions.

Canada’s transport minister, for example, has said he wants pilot training to include time in flight simulators, which would delay the plane’s return in that country.

The Justice Department is investigating Boeing. The FAA’s 2017 decision to certify the Max has also come under scrutiny by the Transportation Department’s inspector general and Congress. A House subcommittee plans to question acting FAA chief Daniel Elwell at a hearing Wednesday.

The FAA, as part of a plan to win international support for its handling of the situation, will meet with aviation-safety experts from other countries next week in Fort Worth, Texas.

Boeing has a backlog of about 4,600 orders for the Max and has avoided major cancellations despite the deaths of 189 people in an Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air Max off the coast of Indonesia and the March 10 Ethiopian crash near Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 aboard.

Gebremariam, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO, said he couldn’t say whether the airline will ever use the Max again.

“It takes a lot of effort to convince everybody that the airplane is safe,” he said.

hearing Wednesday.

The FAA, as part of a plan to win international support for its handling of the situation, will meet with aviation-safety experts from other countries next week in Fort Worth, Texas.

Boeing has a backlog of about 4,600 orders for the Max and has avoided major cancellations despite the deaths of 189 people in an Oct. 29 crash of a Lion Air Max off the coast of Indonesia and the March 10 Ethiopian crash near Addis Ababa, which killed all 157 aboard.

Gebremariam, the Ethiopian Airlines CEO, said he couldn’t say whether the airline will ever use the Max again.

“It takes a lot of effort to convince everybody that the airplane is safe,” he said.

 

 

No bright colours Maxima? Queen of the Netherlands opts for a stylish but subdued black outfit for the first day of her trip to Ethiopia for the United Nations

By Bryony Jewell For Mailonline Dailymail

  • DailymailQueen Maxima, 47, has arrived in Ethiopia for a two day visit in her role with UN
  • The royal wore stylish black ensemble including comfortable flat shoes 
  • While there Maxima will visit farmers who are shareholders in a beer breweryDailymail

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands appeared to be in high spirits as she arrived in Ethiopia for a two-day visit with the United Nations.

The royal, 47, who is often seen in brightly coloured clothes, donned a stylish but practical ensemble as she arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport today. She was seen wearing an unusually subdued outfit of black trousers with a matching blazer that had gold buttons on the front paired with flat black shoes. A beaming Maxima added a hint of colour to her outfit however with a gold patterned shirt and silver bracelets.

Queen Maxima is visiting Ethiopia in her role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development (UNSGSA).

As the royal left the airport the first stop on tour was a visit to a UN office where Maxima, spoke with partners and private sector representatives. She sat on a chair, which looked like a crown with a gold embellished patterned back as she spoke and laughed with the representatives.

In late 2017 Ethiopia launched a national strategy aimed at improving access to financial services for its citizens. Currently around 65 per cent of the adult population do not have access to financial services such as a bank or savings account, insurance, a loan or digital payment methods, reports the Global Findex 2017

Queen Máxima will begin her visit at the local UN office where she will speak with development partners and private sector representatives.  She will also meet with Ahmed Shide, Minister of Finance, Dr Getahun Mekuria, Minister of Innovation and Technology, and Dr Yinager Dessie, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia.

The mother-of-three is also scheduled to meet with the President of Ethiopia, Sahle-Work Zewde, and Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed. During her trip Queen Máxima will visit farmers to discuss a new business model that has made some of them shareholders in the Habesha beer brewery.

 

The first stop on tour was a visit to a UN office where Maxima, pictured, spoke with partners and private sector representativesDailymailDailymail

The brewery also offers them partial prefinancing for barley production in the form of seed, fertiliser and agricultural advice. The farmers pay this back with a portion of their harvest and the brewery guarantees that it will purchase the rest. This model helps boost yields and farmers’ incomes. The second field visit will focus on the various digital financial ‘Hello’ services provided by the company Belcash.

Queen Maxima, pictured, arrived at Addis Ababa Bole International Airport in Ethiopia today for the start of a two-day visit in her role with the UNDailymailDailymailDailymailDailymail

Queen Máxima visited Ethiopia in December 2013 on behalf on the UN and at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos she met with Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed. Dailymail

The royal has been the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development since 2009.  In this role she advises the Secretary-General and works worldwide to promote safe and affordable access to financial services for all. It has been a busy week for Queen Maxima and on Friday she was seen celebrating April Fair with her family in Seville, Spain. Maxima, who is often seen in bold outfits opted for a purple and pink look with her blonde hair pulled back and bright flowers in her hair.

Read the original story on  Dailymail

President Museveni receives a special message from Ethiopian Prime Minister, Ahmed

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has received a special message from the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr. Abiy Ahmed. The message was delivered by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister Ethiopia delivered on Monday May 13th by the Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Demeke Mekonnem, at State House, Entebbe.

President Museveni and his guest discussed matters of mutual interest between Ethiopia and Uganda. Mr. Museveni gifted the Deputy Prime Minister with books about the liberation of Uganda and her beauty.

kmaupdates

When Israel imposed contraception on its Ethiopian women

Human Rights – 

The Israeli Ministry of Health admitted to having injected one contraceptive agent in immigrant Falasha Jews. Without their knowledge

“We were terrified” (Ethiopian immigrant)

“They told us that if we did not want it, we would not go to Israel, nor would we be allowed to access the Joint Jewish Committee’s office, the largest Jewish humanitarian organization. And we would not benefit from any help or medical care. We were scared”, she insists. “We had no choice.” According to the report, the “operation” took place in workshops located in transit camps. The practice was then repeated every three months after the arrival of women in the Jewish state.

Charges  that in December were formally denied by the Joint. According to the organization, cited by Haaretz, the family planning workshops were part of the services provided to immigrants to teach them to space the birth of children. “We do not advise them to have small families,” said the Joint at the time. “It’s a personal question, but we inform them of this possibility.”

About-face

The same is true of the Israeli Ministry of Health, which swears in December, “does not recommend or try to encourage the use of Depo-Provera”. However, the department adds that, if these injections were actually administered, it was done without its consent. The broadcast of the report, in any case, provoked the ire of the Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), which in a letter, called for the “immediate end” of the injections and the launching of an investigation.

Six weeks later, Professor Roni Gamzu, director general of the Ministry of Health, ordered the end of the practice, revealed Haaretz. In an official directive, he asked all gynecologists in the country to “not renew the prescriptions of Depo-Provera for women of Ethiopian origin or other women who, for all sorts of reasons, do not understand the implications of this treatment “. However, the Ministry points out that this instruction “does not constitute a statement of fact or fact finding” about this forced contraception.

Discrimination

For the spokesperson of ACRI, Marc Gray, this letter constitutes “an important admission that this phenomenon has existed”. Bad publicity that the Jewish state could have done without. It was denounced in 2012 for its hateful campaign to deport African refugees, but had not been called out regarding  the Falasha Jews (or Beta Israel), who are Israeli citizens. Long cut off from other Jewish communities, the Jews of Ethiopia were only recognized as such in 1975 by the Israeli government. In the 1980s and 1990s, it organized two large repatriation operations, enabling 35,000 of them to settle in Israel.

According to AFP, today there are more than 120,000, of whom 80,000 were born in Africa, but many still face enormous cultural differences and discrimination in Israeli society.

Mg-mast-head Source

U.S. Ambassador Reflects on Ethiopia’s Transition and the Relevance of the American Experience in National Day Remarks

At this time last year, I spoke about the incredible promise of the reform efforts under His Excellency Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed, and the unprecedented opportunity for Ethiopia to build a prosperous, peaceful, and democratic future. I’m excited by the many gains since then, and remain firm in my optimism today.

When U.S. embassies commemorate our country’s anniversary, there’s a certain tendency to focus on America’s role as a global leader during an unprecedented period of international prosperity and security. And we often talk about the role our values have played in getting us to this point.

Those values, such as equality, inclusive democracy, economic opportunity, and the guarantee of fundamental rights, are sometimes presented as the ingredients in a recipe for success, as though mixing them in the right amounts will automatically result in the kind of peace, prosperity, and opportunity we celebrate today. But the reality is far less straightforward.

After all, it took nearly a century for all American people to be free. It took almost another full century before all Americans were promised equality under the law, and we’re still having debates about how best to uphold that promise. Our success as a nation and as a people was never a foregone conclusion, and no country can take for granted its future success.

When the United States’ founders outlined the framework for our democracy, they made what many people saw as a fairly risky bet. They bet that the people themselves would be entrusted with the power to choose their own way forward; that they would resolve their differences through compromise; that they would commit to being a part of something bigger than their narrow self-interest; and that they would take responsibility for the consequences of their actions, and in so doing, play a constructive role in building not only their own futures, but their country’s future as well. It sounded risky indeed, and perhaps, to some, it still does.

In the early days of our country’s existence, the United States was more a loose confederation of states than a nation. We didn’t even have the capacity to collect taxes to pay for the war being fought for our independence. Friction between states, and local uprisings, raised fears that our young country would fall apart just as it was beginning.

Even the process of forming our system of government was contentious, as individual states strove to maintain their independence, even as they recognized the need for a central authority to coordinate policies, facilitate trade, provide security, and help resolve disputes. It took six years after our Revolutionary War ended to draft and ratify our constitution, elect our first president, and establish the federal government.

As our founding mothers and fathers struggled in those early years of hardship and uncertainty, some inevitably questioned whether our nation’s insistence on being a democratic republic was really such a good idea.

During our fight for independence, one of General George Washington’s colonels expressed this sentiment in a letter, suggesting that perhaps a benevolent king would be a more expedient and effective form of leadership for our fledgling nation. General Washington, who went on to become our first President, responded the same day, writing to his colonel that no experience during the war caused him as much pain as the suggestion of abandoning the democracy he had fought for. General Washington understood that no matter how risky the idea of giving power to the people, every other form of governance was riskier still.

Ethiopia’s own foray into representative democracy is just beginning. Like our journey in the United States, it began with a number of visionaries who — together — dared to dream of a different future for Ethiopia.

That dream gained an extraordinary boost with the courageous and statesmanlike decision by former Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn to resign with a public call for this country to accelerate political reforms. And that in turn led to a breathtaking sense of hope and possibility, as Dr. Abiy’s reform agenda galvanized this country and Ethiopians worldwide.

Much has been accomplished in the past year. Last week, Ethiopia hosted the global celebration of World Press Freedom Day, a reflection of the great strides it has made in press freedoms over the past year. Foreign direct investment has increased by more than 10%, as the global business community recognizes the potential being unlocked by political as well as economic reforms. Ethiopia has improved the rule of law by, among other things, revisiting the laws themselves, including the Anti-terrorism Proclamation and the Civil Society Organizations law.

At the same time, many of the challenges my young country faced are also being faced by Ethiopia today. There’s uncertainty among some Ethiopians about the right way forward; varying views over fundamental questions of government function and structure; and a bit of reluctance among some Ethiopians to engage on such difficult issues.

Recently, I’ve heard some very thoughtful and patriotic Ethiopians make the same kinds of arguments that were made when the United States’ own democracy was taking shape. Ethiopians are too accustomed to being led, I’ve been told, to be comfortable leading themselves. Wouldn’t it be faster, and simpler, some have suggested, to have someone just take control and decide the development of the country, rather than going through the messy, risky, and protracted process of democracy? Some have even said to me that Ethiopians would rather complain about an imposed reality than take responsibility for creating a reality of their own.

What Ethiopia does with this pivotal moment in its history is up to the Ethiopian people themselves to decide. As an American, though, I can’t help but see some similarities between the choices and challenges my country’s founders faced 243 years ago, and the choices and challenges that the founders of a new Ethiopia are facing, including every Ethiopian here this evening. And with those similarities, I can’t help but feel an enormous sense of connection as well.

I hope my country’s story can offer hope and faith: hope that the future can be better than today, and faith that the Ethiopian people will make it so. I hope Ethiopians can take encouragement from the very things that seem so daunting to so many: the colossal, messy, and essential process of putting this country’s destiny in the hands of its people, which is precisely what will make this country stronger, more vibrant, and more successful in the future. And I hope Ethiopians will not let the splendid diversity of their country obscure the fact that the vast majority of their fellow citizens want exactly the same things they do: opportunity, tolerance, prosperity, peace, freedom, and respect.

Having those values as common ground is a wonderful foundation to build upon. And I believe – the United States believes – that Ethiopia can and will build, upon that foundation, a house in which all Ethiopians can thrive. For our part, the United States government and people remain committed to helping Ethiopians build that house – to invest in the capacity of Ethiopia’s government, institutions, and people to achieve the future that Ethiopians want for themselves, and to overcome any challenges that might stand in the way.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Ethiopia, Rwanda and Kenya to drive Sub-Saharan Africa construction sector growth, report

Sub-Saharan Africa construction activity is forecast to grow across the region, despite a number of significant risk factors that threaten to limit economic growth in the region accordin to Mace’s latest Market report. 

While the overall outlook for construction activity in SSA is reasonably strong, with growth forecast at an average rate of over 6% per annum over the next two years, there is notable variation across the region.

This variation, driven in part by the complex political and economic challenges in each nation, creates an element of uncertainty that has the potential to destabilize markets and restrict growth.

This is particularly the case in SSA nations with high levels of foreign denominated debt.

On a more positive note, ambitious, large-scale social infrastructure programmes are expected to support further growth, with the housing and energy sectors set to attract significant funding across the whole of SSA.

Ethiopia, one of the region’s largest markets, is leading the charge, with construction activity forecast to achieve double-digit growth through to 2020. There’s also positivity elsewhere, with construction activity in Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda also forecast to grow over the medium-term.

And, amid a return to economic growth, prospects for construction in South Africa may improve as well; although the upcoming general election  is causing a temporary hiatus in public sector spending.

A reflection of Mace’s  expanding presence in SSA – including through joint ventures with cost consultancy companies in South Africa (MMQSMace) and Kenya (MaceYMR) – the latest report provides an overview of the region, as well as detailed economic analysis of the construction sectors in South Africa, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda and Ghana.

Simon Herd, Managing Director, MaceYMR, said: “The cautiously optimistic outlook for construction demand across SSA comes at a time when the costs of construction materials are rising and contractor capacity is already stretched. Together, these factors suggest that upwards pressure on construction costs in SSA will continue over the medium term, which will create a challenging procurement environment.”

www.macegroup.com

PM Abiy to lead peace & security meetings at TICAD

Concluding his official three-state visit to Africa, Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan has requested Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed (PhD) to attend and lead the peace and security sessions of the upcoming seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD-VII) to be held by the end of August in Yokohama.

The foreign minister arrived at Addis Ababa on Sunday after concluding his visits to Angola and South Sudan since last Thursday and among his bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Abiy, his government’s interest to delegate the premier to peace and security session of TICAD was said to be on the table.

Natsuko Sakata, assistance press secretary for the international press division with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on Sunday, has briefed reporters about the TICAD-VII and the visits of minster Sakata. She said the foreign minister has handed PM Abiy a formal request. However, the confirmation of his participation and whether he would lead the peace and security forum of the TICAD meetings is yet to be confirmed in the foreseeable future.

Three months away, the TICAD forum had been an important platform the government of Japan has initiated in 1990s with a view to fade the “Afro-Pessimism” which the western world has developed towards Africa. Some 25 years later, Japan currently is witnessing a competition from the likes of China and the US towards befriending Africa.

The recently concluded the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative puts Africa on the map. In fact, China has an Africa oriented economic forum: Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and during the last summit China has pledged to provide USD 60 billion for Africa’s infrastructural development.

Similarly, During the 2016 TICAD meeting (the six series and the first to be held in Africa where Kenya hosted 53 heads of state and 11,000 participants), Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had pledged to extend USD 30 billion for Africa’s development and to provide trainings and human capacity development supports for 10 million African youth. How much of that pledged funding and capacity development support has been materialized so far? Well, that is one question reporters are asking these days and looking for more details.

The upcoming TICAD will deliberate on economic reform, businesses as well as Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) issues and Africa’s Agenda 2063 in addition to focusing on peace and security matters.

Highlighting on the ongoing preparations and briefing officials, mister Kono has departed to Japan to be able to attend the final events which officially been regarded as a week-long extended holiday for the coronation of the new king, Crown Prince Naruhito. The new king has replaced his imperial father Emperor Akihito whom officially abdicated ceremonial Throne a few days ago.

United, Ethiopian Muslims welcome Ramadan

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Muslims on Monday welcomed the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in the wake of a large conference of clerics promoting unity and understanding among Muslims.

A majority of Ethiopian Muslims had been disillusioned with the Majlis for the past couple of decades due to a perception that its members were assigned by government.

In his remarks at the Ethiopian Muslims Ulama Conference last Wednesday, premier Abiy Ahmed underlined that a strong Muslim community would be the foundation for Ethiopia’s unity.

Influential Muslim leaders at the conference agreed to compromise and work for the formation of an elected Islamic Affairs Supreme Council, or Majlis.

The formation of such a body has been advocated over the past decades by many Muslim activists, most of whom were jailed and tortured in prisons for demanding Muslims’ civil and religious rights.

“This is a big achievement not only for Ethiopian Muslims, but also for the whole nation,” Zekeriya Mohammed, a renowned journalist and author, told Anadolu Agency.

Underlining worries at the prospects of the conference’s failure, Mohammed said its success “brought tears of joy to millions of Ethiopian Muslims.”

“The fact that this all happened on the eve of the great month of Ramadan makes this year’s Ramadan special; one that would be the most peaceful ever. I hope it would be a month when our prayers for our nation would be accepted by Allah,” Zekeria said.

Muslims unite

Omer Redi is owner of Ifriqiyah Media and Communications based in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa. He works on the side as correspondent to foreign media.

This is the first time in many years that Ethiopian Muslims are welcoming the holy month of Ramadan with “true unity”, Redi told Anadolu Agency, adding that minor differences in belief had in the past led to wide rifts within the community

“This is now changing thanks to the unity among the Ulama and Sheikhs [clerics] who follow different mazhabs [sects],” he said.

He emphasized the relative climate of freedom enjoyed by the Muslim community as well as all Ethiopians after “three decades of tyranny”, adding that this had only been possible through new political leadership.

“This is manifest in the release from prison of representatives of the Muslim community over a year ago and their active involvement in the affairs of the Muslim community and the reform of the Ethiopian Islamic Affairs Supreme Council [Majlis],” he said.

The vast majority of Ethiopian Muslims are Sunnis and Muslims in Ethiopia account for 34% of the more than one million population, making the country home to Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest Muslim population after Nigeria.

AA

Sudan’s ousted president Bashir questioned in corruption investigation: prosecutor

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir has been questioned over suspected money laundering and financing of terrorism, the state prosecutor said in a statement on Sunday.

The prosecutor began investigating Bashir last month over accusations of money laundering and possession of large sums of foreign currency without legal grounds. Large sums of money were found in suitcases in his home.

Bashir was removed from office by the military on April 11 after months of demonstrations against his 30-year rule. He is also wanted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague for war crimes over the conflict in Sudan’s Darfur region.

Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz; Writing by Nadine Awadalla; Editing by David Goodman

South Sudan rivals agree to delay forming government

Aljazeera – South Sudan‘s warring parties agreed on Friday to delay the formation of a power-sharing government, just days before it was due to be installed in the capital Juba.

The parties met in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to agree on a way forward on forming a national unity government, part of the peace agreement signed by the two sides in September.

They had failed to resolve several crunch issues as the May 12 deadline loomed for creating a unity government with Machar as vice president.

His camp wanted a six-month delay to resolve security and other issues that, it says, prevent him from making his return from exile to Juba, which he fled in 2016 when a prior peace agreement collapsed.

The government wanted the meeting to focus on forming a joint administration in Juba.

But both parties agreed to push back the deadline at the talks hosted by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), a regional bloc for East Africa.

“The Parties identified lack of political will, financing and time constraints as the major challenges that have delayed implementation of the Pre-Transitional tasks,” IGAD said in a statement.

IGAD’s South Sudan special envoy, Ismael Wais, said both parties had avoided a crisis by agreeing to iron out the unresolved aspects of the deal rather than pushing ahead too early.

“Everybody is asking the question what comes next. Would there be a problem if the implementation of the agreement a failure, have we failed already,” he said.

“Now, this meeting proved all the South Sudan parties are committed to the peace agreement.”

The extension requires approval next week by a council of regional foreign ministers from Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, Somalia, Kenya and Uganda.

 

Is oil money fuelling war in South Sudan?

The peace deal that was signed in September ended a five-year civil war that killed about 380,000 people and displaced millions. Key elements of the agreement have yet to be implemented, including drawing South Sudan’s internal boundaries and creating a unified national army.

The previous peace deal signed in 2015 also had Machar return as Kiir’s deputy but it ended in gunfire as new clashes erupted in the capital, Juba, in 2016, forcing Machar to flee the country.

Some look at the new agreement with scepticism.

“Even if you give Salva Kiir and Riek Machar 1,000 years they will never implement any peace deal together. The duo should never work together. The [East African bloc] should try another formula,” said Jacob Chol, senior political analyst and professor at the University of Juba.

The parties need to reach an agreement but the question is will “we be in any different position six months from now?” asked Alan Boswell, senior analyst with the International Crisis Group.

Meanwhile on Friday, President Salva Kiir lifted a state of emergency in northern parts of the country, state radio reported.

South Sudan Radio said that Kiir had lifted the state of emergency imposed in 2017 in the states of Tonj, Wau, Aweil East, Gogrial and Western Lakes.

image – The fighting has killed around 380,000 people and forced more than four million – almost a third of the population – to flee their homes [Jake Simkin/AP]

 

SOURCE: NEWS AGENCIES