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CrisisWatch Ethiopia

Improved Situation

Resolution Opportunity

Talks between Ethiopia and Eritrea over contested border opened opportunity to advance rapprochement, as ethnic violence continued in several areas. PM Abiy 5 June said govt would accept 2002 ruling of Ethiopia-Eritrea Boundary Commission that sought to end 1998-2000 war and concede to Eritrea Badme town and other small territories on border held up till present by Ethiopian troops. Announcement met international approval, but local communities in border areas and Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), ethnic Tigrayan party in ruling coalition, criticised move. Eritrean President Afwerki 20 June said he would send delegation to Addis Ababa and Eritrean FM Osman Saleh held talks with Abiy 26 June. Govt 30 June said it had submitted to parliament proposal to remove from list of terrorist organisations three rebel groups: Oromo Liberation Front, Ogaden National Liberation Front and Ginbot 7. Ethnic violence continued in several areas. In Hawassa, capital of Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regional state, violence sparked by ethnic Sidama demands for their own state left at least ten people dead. Ethnic Guji and Gedeo early June clashed on border between SNNP and Oromia regional states reportedly leaving several dead. In Somali regional state, local state paramilitaries known as Liyu police clashed with residents protesting against rule of state president Abdi Iley. Tens of thousands gathered in central Addis Ababa in support of Abiy 23 June, but grenade attack at rally left two people dead and scores wounded; 30 people detained over suspected links to attack. Abiy met Egyptian President Sisi in Cairo 10 June; both expressed commitment to resolving dispute over potential impact of Ethiopia’s dam on Egypt’s Nile waters. Egypt next day released 32 Ethiopian prisoners. Following Abiy’s visit to United Arab Emirates (UAE) in May, UAE delegation in Addis 16 June pledged $3bn to govt in direct aid and investments.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

11 Feb 2018
Ethiopians want [the Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF)] to concede on the issue of the constitution. ONLF previously said they were not going to recognize the federal constitution. VOA

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
19 Jan 2018
[The dispute about future management of the Nile] is a proxy conflict over who should be the regional hegemon, Egypt or Ethiopia. World Politics Review

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
3 May 2017
The Ethiopian government backed a different candidate, so there was speculation that the new Somali president may actually be hostile to Ethiopia. RFI

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
7 Oct 2016
The protests [in Ethiopia] have now reached a serious level, a different scale. We should not exaggerate and say the government is going to keel over tomorrow, but it portends future trouble unless they get a grip. Geeska Afrika

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
9 Aug 2016
It is clear Ethiopia has a potentially serious and destabilizing unrest on its hands. What started off as isolated and localized protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions has now morphed into a much broader movement covering a large swath of the country Washington Post

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa
8 Aug 2016
I think the government [of Ethiopia] is fearful that these protests may actually engulf the whole country. That is why you are seeing this heavy-handed crackdown Financial Times

Rashid Abdi

Project Director, Horn of Africa

Latest Updates

Commentary / Africa

A Wake-up Call for Eritrea and Ethiopia

A 12 June clash between Eritrea and Ethiopia comes as the Horn of Africa’s two most implacable rivals face a crossroads.

Report / Africa

Ethiopia: Prospects for Peace in Ogaden

The most credible attempt at talks to end decades of armed conflict in Ogaden may soon resume, but concerted efforts need to be made to guide them to a peaceful resolution.

Briefing / Africa

Ethiopia After Meles

The West will need to show tougher love to his successor than it did to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who died Monday, if one of its most important regional allies is to remain stable.

Op-Ed / Africa

Comment sauver le Sahel

Originally published in Slate Afrique