Friday, April 04, 2003

ERITREA-ETHIOPIA: African Development Bank gives US $1 million to help drought victimsADDIS ABABA, 4 Apr 2003 (IRIN) - The African Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday approved an aid package of US $1 million for Ethiopia and Eritrea to help them fight devastating drought.

"The bank group's assistance, to be shared equally by the two countries, will help strengthen the relief efforts currently underway," the bank said in a statement issued in Tunis. "The funds will be used exclusively for the procurement, transportation and distribution of cereals and pulses to the targeted population."

Aid agencies say that more than 11 million people face starvation in Ethiopia while some 70 percent of the 3.4 million population in Eritrea has been affected by drought.

UK donates money for Somaliland's Presidential ElectionsHARGEISA, APRIL. 3, 2002--The British Government today donated Stg. Pounds 125000 as a financial support for Somaliland’s Presidential elections to be held on April 14, 2003, according to a statement issued by Myles Wickstead, Birtish Ambassador to Ethiopia.
The statement said that Stg. Pounds 116,000 would be given to the National Election Commission through the German organization known as GTZ.
The British donation is part of Stg. Pounds 200,000 to 250,000 to be extended by the international community for the Somaliland elections. The NEC will use the funds for conducting awareness campaigns, training of election observers and other staff and for logistics.
The rest of the British money will be spent on observers coming from the Electoral Institute of South Africa and Inter-group Africa.
Wickstead expressed the hope that Somaliland’s Presidential elections would be a step forward for the strengthening of democracy in Somaliland.
He added that he hoped a political entity would be established in Southern Somalia to usher in favorable conditions for opening a dialogue between the two sides, Somalia and Somaliland.

Thursday, April 03, 2003

SOMALIA: Cholera outbreak confirmed in MogadishuNAIROBI, 3 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - An outbreak of cholera has been confirmed in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, an official of the World Health Organisation (WHO) told IRIN on Thursday.

According to the official, "99 stool samples were collected and checked by an AMREF [African Medical and Research Foundation] laboratory in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where they confirmed 46 samples are positive for cholera ogawa".

Since the criteria for opening a cholera treatment centre (CTC) had been met, Action Contre La Faim (ACF) had opened such a facility on 1 April, he added.

A regional cholera task force was activated by the local authorities in collaboration with WHO, other UN agencies involved in health and ACF "to monitor and contain the situation".

Since the opening of the CTC by ACF on Tuesday, 18 severe cases had been reported, the ACF country director, Florence Gillette, told IRIN. The Somali Red Crescent Society in collaboration with ACF had opened four oral rehydration points "to treat the less severe cases", she said. "Initial indications show that the epidemic will be moderate, but we will continue to monitor the situation."

Cholera is an endemic disease in Somalia, particularly in the Mogadishu area.


Wednesday, April 02, 2003

SOMALIA: SRRC opposes Harmonisation Committee
NAIROBI, 2 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - The Somali Reconciliation and Restoration Council (SRRC) has strongly objected to the recent creation of a Harmonisation Committee (HC) by the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development's (IGAD) Technical Committee steering the Somali peace talks being held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, according to a senior SRRC member.

The SRRC co-chairman, Ambassador Abdullahi Shaykh Isma'il, told IRIN that his group objected to the unilateral manner in which the IGAD Technical Committee had created this HC, which "is a breach of the agreed upon Conference Rules of Procedure". The establishment of the HC had been announced "without consultation and approval" of the Leaders' Committee, he said.

The role of the HC will be to coordinate the work of the peace conference's six working committees and come up with one report.

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

TNG says it will not leave Kenya peace conference
NAIROBI, 31 MARCH 2003 (IRIN) - A spokesman for TNG Prime Minister Hassan Abshir Farah said on Monday that Somalia's Transitional National Government was not planning to leave peace talks in Nairobi, Kenya, despite a meeting in Mogadishu at the weekend between the TNG and faction leaders.

Ahmed Isse Awad, head of the prime minister's office, told IRIN the meeting was not an alternative to the Kenya conference. He described it as a consultative meeting to discuss ways of bringing stability to the Somali capital.
SOMALIA: UN recommends sanctions for arms embargo violators
NAIROBI, 1 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - A United Nations panel of experts has recommended imposing sanctions on violators of the UN arms embargo on Somalia.

Last August, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan named the three-member panel of experts to investigate violations of the arms embargo on Somalia. The UN imposed the embargo in 1992, following the outbreak of civil war in Somalia.

In a report to the UN Security Council, the panel said the embargo was consistently being breached, and recommended that the Council send a clear signal that all future violators would face sanctions.

"As the arms embargo has been consistently violated since its imposition, it has no normative value, and none of the Somali faction leaders or their regional sponsors has been held accountable. A feeling that 'business as usual' will continue indefinitely prevails," said the report to the Council, issued on Tuesday.

The panel said the arms market in Somalia was also supplied by external sources.

"It [the report] cites Ethiopia as one such country that has played an overt military role in Somalia," the UN said. "Eritrea is also said to have been a major supplier of arms and ammunition. Yemen and Djibouti, among other nations in the region, are reported to have helped provide weapons to Somalia, mainly to the Transitional National Government."

"An effective implemented arms embargo can cut the flow of arms to Somalia and concomitantly limit the level of armed conflict," the report said. "This may then create the political space necessary for the successful completion and implementation of a Somali peace agreement."


SOMALIA: UN team visits Mogadishu for talks on access, securityNAIROBI, 1 APRIL 2003 (IRIN) - A high-level UN team recently visited the Somali capital, Mogadishu, to discuss issues of humanitarian access and security, a UN official told IRIN on Tuesday.

The team, led by Maxwell Gaylard, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Somalia, included representatives of the UN Children's Fund, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), and the Chief Security Adviser.

While in Mogadishu, Gaylard and his team had held talks with the president of the Transitional National Government, a number of faction leaders, and members of the business community and local NGOs, said OCHA representative Calum McLean.

"The main purpose of the visit was to discuss issues related to humanitarian access and security in Mogadishu, and the potential for the UN to do more work to assist the very real needs of the vulnerable communities residing in the city," McLean told IRIN.

McLean quoted Gaylard as saying that national staff members and partner NGOs had worked "under very difficult conditions, and continue to do so".

"It is their commitment and bravery that has allowed the UN to continue to make valuable contributions to the people of Mogadishu," Gaylard said.

He called upon the political leadership in Mogadishu to improve security within the city and "allow uninhibited access to communities in need of assistance".

The UN estimates that up to 25 percent of Mogadishu's population are displaced people from different parts of Somalia.