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Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producer, reaching 2 million barrels a day. It is also OPEC's newest member. Angolans go to the polls on Friday 5 September 2008 for legislative elections, the first multiparty polls since 1992. Ten parties and four coalitions with 5,198 candidates will contest 220 seats.
Chatham House's pre-election assessment examines the run-up to these elections in this strategic southern African country whose export earnings in 2008 will be over US$84 billion. Over 8 million voters have registered for these elections which represent a milestone in Angola's post-conflict transition. They also form part of a wider process with presidential elections scheduled for 2009 and municipal elections in 2010. The Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA) has been in power since independence from Portugal in 1975.
Given the MPLA's institutional and financial strength, it is expected to win the election and might increase its majority which would allow it to change the constitution. For the main opposition party, the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) these elections will determine how relevant they are, after their military defeat and six years of peace.
Angola's Elections: A Democratic Oil Giant?
Angolans go to the polls this week in the first multi-party elections since 1992. Over 8 million voters have registered for these elections which represent a milestone in Angola's post-conflict transition. They also form part of a wider process with presidential elections scheduled for 2009 and municipal elections in 2010. Angola is sub-Saharan Africa's largest oil producer, reaching 2 million barrels a day. It is also OPEC's newest member.
Chatham House's pre-election assessment examines the run-up to these elections in this strategic southern African country whose export earnings in 2008 will be over US$84 billion. Given the MPLA's institutional and financial strength, it is expected to win the election and might increase its majority which would allow it to change the constitution. For the main opposition party, the National Union for Total Independence of Angola (UNITA) these electionswill determine how relevant they are, after their military defeat and six years of peace.
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ALERT ! Kenya mission staff -London waiting the arriavl of the Prime minister
Ancient Axumite Obelisk celebrated
The newly re-erected obelisk that was stolen from Axum, northern Ethiopia, by Mussolini’s troops in 1937 and returned to Ethiopia in Spring 2004 will be inaugurated at celebrations that begin tomorrow (3rd Sep) in Axum.
In a pain-staking and lengthy operation, Ethiopian archaeologists and UNESCO experts have re-erected the obelisk in the past months alongside a similar obelisk, or “stele”, that has stood on the site since the 4th century when the obelisks were erected over the tombs of Ethiopian rulers.
Celebrations will kick off with Panel Discussions On the following topics :
The Contribution of Aksumite Civilization and its implications for the Future Development of Ethiopia
The Cultural Heritage illegally Removed From Ethiopia and its Restitution (this includes discussion of other artefacts illegally removed from Ethiopia )
Tourism Development in Aksum and its Environs
There will be photo exhibitions, a 10 km race and a cycle race and open air performances by the residents of Axum . On 3rd September, there will be a sightseeing programme in and around the historical places at Adowa . In the evening there will be a firework display and a Candle Light Procession. On 4th September, the President of Tigray National Regional State, Tsegaye Berhe, will lead a Street Naming Ceremony - to include the official unveiling of a street dedicated to Italy - concluded by the laying of a foundation stone of a new Axum institution. During the celebrations awards will be presented to institutions and personalities that contributed to the restitution of the obelisk.
Marching bands will greet guests of honour, VIPs, invited guests, officials and dignitaries. Master of Ceremony, H.E Ambassador Mahammud Dirir, Ethiopia ’s Culture & Tourism Minister, will make a keynote speech after welcoming speeches by Tsegaye Berhe, President of Tigray National Regional State, and Seyoum Bereded, General Director of the Ethiopian Millennium National Office.
The termination of UNMEE’s mandate at the end of July has led to continued speculation on any future Eritrea Ethiopia relationship. A number of observers and commentators have tried to proffer solutions and draw lessons. The problem is not just about one segment of a boundary but more about the modalities of settling a dispute whose central fact, all too often forgotten, remains the fact that Eritrea launched an unprovoked war against Ethiopia . The Ethiopia Eritrea Claims Commission found Eritrea liable for violating Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter with the illegal use of force when it invaded territories peacefully administered by Ethiopia in May 1998. This remains the fundamental basis from which any discussion must still start. Of course, any international boundary should serve as a point for contact and interaction, not designed for separation. Any effective demarcation should take into account the realities of people in adjacent areas. Manageable boundaries allow for effective utilization of shared resources and cross-border links for electricity and telecommunications and other environmental and socio-economic cooperation for the mutual benefits of both sides. Along any peaceful boundary the areas of cooperation are limitless as everybody directly affected is well aware. Indeed, no additional benefit can be more compelling than a boundary demarcation ensuring durable peace, but this can only be done through thorough and meticulous ground work and consultation between representatives of countries. Nothing can replace this tried and tested practice of international demarcation.
On June 7, the African Union Declaration on Border Program and its Implementation Modalities was adopted by the Conference of African Ministers in Charge of Border Issues, at their meeting in Addis Ababa . The Declaration reiterates the conviction of the African Union “…that, by transcending the borders as barriers and promoting them as bridges linking one State to another, Africa can boost the on-going efforts to integrate the continent, strengthen its unity, and promote peace, security and stability through the structural prevention of conflicts;” The Declaration also reaffirms ‘… the principle of negotiated settlement of border disputes…” and “… the shared commitment to pursue the work of border delimitation and demarcation as factors for peace, security and economic and social progress,..” It also contains detailed decisions to implement an African Union Border Program with components on border delimitation and demarcation; local cross border cooperation; capacity building; and on partnership and resource mobilization to implement the Program.
Ethiopia, of course, actively participated in the discussions that led to the adoption of the Declaration, and fully supports it. Indeed, Ethiopia ’s own proposals for discussion and negotiation to resolve the dispute with Eritrea are fully consistent with the aims and purposes of the African Union Declaration. Eritrea ’s approach runs contrary to the letter and spirit of the Declaration and makes no effort to provide for a sustainable solution. Commentators making parallels with other boundary disputes clearly understand that solutions reached elsewhere have been achieved through negotiation and dialogue. Ethiopia and Eritrea can certainly learn from others, but the lesson from any particular settlement, including the efforts of the mixed commission Nigeria and Cameroon established with the help of the United Nations, is that dialogue is indispensable for a lasting settlement. A broader lesson to take from the African Union Declaration is that as members of the AU a negotiated settlement of a boundary dispute, on the basis of dialogue consistent with international practice, is not just a choice but a legal requirement.
Here it must be pointed out that the lack of progress in settling the boundary dispute between Eritrea and Ethiopia is not the result of differences over technicalities on how demarcation should be conducted. The problem is much more serious and involves differences in strategy over co-existence between the two governments. The Eritrean strategic calculation is that there is no possibility for a government led by the current leadership in Eritrea to co-exist with a government led by the ERPDF in Ethiopia . It is this which explains why the Eritrean leadership spends so much of its resources, its energy and its time, in destabilization activities aimed at creating problems for Ethiopia, directly and indirectly, throughout the region. Eritrea ’s intent is not to bring finality to the boundary dispute in any way to ensure sustainable peace and stability between the two countries, but rather the reverse.
By contrast, the view from Addis Ababa is that the crisis between the two countries is tragic and something that never should have occurred, but once taken place should have been resolved as quickly as possible. The EPRDF’s strategic calculation with respect to the boundary is not to use it as an excuse for prolonging the crisis. It is not a strategy based on the conviction that co-existence is impossible between a government led by the present leadership in Asmara and the Government of Ethiopia. The principled position of the Government of Ethiopia is that it is absolutely unacceptable for any country to demand that it should have the kind of government it wants in a neighboring state, and attempt to get this, and make this a condition for co-existence. This cannot and should not be allowed either for great powers or small states. This is a matter of principle and international law.
This fact, which is at the root of the problem between Ethiopia and Eritrea, has not been sufficiently understood by the international community, and it is equally doubtful if the Security Council has achieved any better appreciation of the problem. What is most important at this juncture, however, is that it should be understood by the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea