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Archive for the tag “Addis Ababa”

Joint Declaration between the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Ogaden National Liberation Front (21.10.2018)

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Joint Press Statement following the visit by the Foreign Ministers of Eritrea and Ethiopia to Mogadishu Somalia, October 2018 (17.10.2018)

English High Court continues restraint against Djibouti Port Company over shares in Joint Venture (23.09.2018)

Court extends Order to prohibit interference with DP World’s right to manage Doraleh Container Terminal S.A. (“DCT”).

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 23, 2018 – The High Court of England and Wales in London has continued the injunction first made on 31 August 2018, prohibiting the Government of Djibouti’s port company, Port de Djibouti S.A. (“PDSA”) from interfering with the management of the joint venture company, Doraleh Container Terminal S.A. (“DCT”).

On 31 August, the Court issued a without notice injunction against PDSA, as shareholder in DCT, prohibiting the following actions:

  • It shall not act as if the joint venture agreement with DP World has been terminated
  • It shall not appoint new directors or remove DP World’s nominated directors without its consent
  • It shall not cause the DCT joint venture company to act on “Reserved Matters” (being matters contractually reserved to DP World) without DP World’s consent.
  • It shall not instruct or cause DCT to give instructions to Standard Chartered Bank in London to transfer funds to Djibouti.

Following a hearing on 14 September 2018, at which PDSA failed to appear despite being notified, the Court ordered that the injunction will continue until it makes a further order or an award of the arbitration tribunal at the London Court of International Arbitration (“LCIA”) that will be formed imminently to consider the shareholding dispute with DP World.

On DP World’s application, the Court also extended the injunction to include any ‘affiliate’ of PDSA.  Under the JV Agreement, PDSA’s affiliates include the Government.  The decision follows the enactment of an “emergency” ordinance by the President of Djibouti on 9 September.  This ordinance purported to transfer PDSA’s shares in DCT to the Government of Djibouti.

PDSA is 23.5% owned by China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd of Hong Kong (“China Merchants”).

The Court further ordered that PDSA must ensure that any transferee of DCT shares is legally bound by the Joint Venture Agreement and Articles of Association in the same way as PDSA.  The ruling means neither the Government nor PDSA can control DCT or give valid instructions to third parties on behalf of DCT without DP World’s consent.

DP World confirmed last week it will continue to pursue all legal means to defend its rights as shareholder and concessionaire in the Doraleh Container Terminal in the face of the Government’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and respect for binding commercial contracts.

A DP World spokesperson, said: “This is yet another in a series of rulings – all in favour of DP World – that demonstrate Djibouti’s continuing disregard for the rule of law. We underline our belief that companies intending to operate in such a country or already operating there need to seriously consider their dealings with this Government in the face of such behaviour.”

The 2006 Concession Agreement that the Government awarded to DP World is governed by English law.  It provides that all disputes relating to the Agreement are to be resolved through binding arbitration at the LCIA with two such LCIA proceedings already completed.

In the first proceeding, the Government filed an arbitration against DP World seeking to rescind the Concession Agreement, claiming its terms were unfair to the Government and were procured through bribery.  The LCIA tribunal (comprising Sir Richard Aikens, Lord Hoffmann, Peter Leaver QC) ruled against the Government, finding the terms were fair and there was no bribery.  Certain counterclaims raised by DCT and DP World in relation to DP World’s exclusive right to container handling facilities in Djibouti remain to be decided by the Tribunal.

In a separate proceeding, another LCIA Tribunal (comprising Professor Zachary Douglas QC) held that the 2006 Concession Agreement was valid notwithstanding the Government’s attempts to terminate it through special legislation and decrees.  DP World’s claims for damages against the Government will now be determined in these proceedings.

To date, the Government has not made any offer to compensate DP World.

Eritrea: Peace deal prompts hope of internal reforms, to improve fundamental human rights (19.09.2018)

The peace agreement between Eritrea and Ethiopia has raised hopes that improving human rights will be front and centre on Eritrea’s path forward, according to a United Nations Special Rapporteur on Tuesday.

DAKAR, Senegal, September 19, 2018 -On 9 July, leaders of both countries signed a Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship, raising expectations that the end of the “no war, no peace” stalemate between them, would positively impact Eritrea’s internal human rights situation.

The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began earnestly in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart.

Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability – UN Rapporteur

Yet, repression reportedly continues within Eritrea.

“During the past 17 years, the Government of Eritrea has maintained tight control over the country, stifling any form of public debate and participation,” said Sheila B. Keetharuth, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea.

Eleven government officials who had criticised the President in an open letter, along with 10 independent journalists, were arrested in 2001 – silencing public political discourse an

“I have received reports that the former Minister of Finance,” Ms. Keetharuth continued, “who recently wrote two books on the current state of affairs in the country, including the rule of law, has been arrested in Asmara during the morning of 17 September.”

If confirmed, the arrest, on the eve of the 2001 clampdown anniversary, would question the will for genuine reform, “especially regarding respect for fundamental rights and freedoms,” the expert asserted.

According to Ms. Keetharuth, while comprehensive domestic reforms would be required for a free, fair, democratic society with all human rights entitlements, the Government can take immediate action towards that end in three concrete, urgent areas.

Firstly, the families of prisoners who have disappeared in Eritrean jails should be informed about the fate of their loved ones. Secondly, implementing the 1997 Constitution would provide a natural basis for a national legal framework and a society governed by the rule of law. And thirdly, the Government could inform new military conscripts that they would not have to serve beyond the 18 months stipulated by Eritrean law.

“The achievement of peace between Eritrea and Ethiopia must be duly celebrated,” stated Ms. Keetharuth. “However, Eritrean authorities must urgently embrace and implement bold measures to strengthen protection of and respect for human rights, justice and accountability,” she concluded.

Special Rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a specific human rights theme or a country situation. The unpaid positions are honorary, and independent from any government or organization.

 

‘Wind of hope’ blowing through Horn of Africa says UN chief, as Ethiopia and Eritrea sign historic peace accord (17.09.2018)

NEW YORK, USA, September 17, 2018 –  There is a powerful wind of hope blowing across the Horn of Africa region, said UN chief António Guterres on Sunday, in Saudi Arabia to witness the signing of a peace agreement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, ending decades of simmering conflict.

Saudi Arabia facilitated the agreement, and in a message on Twitter, the Foreign Ministry said that the accord, signed in Jeddah “is a historic milestone for the peoples of Ethiopia and Eritrea, and will contribute to strengthening security and stability in the region at large”.

“The signature of the peace agreement between the President of Eritrea and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia is indeed a historic event,” said the Secretary-General, speaking at a press conference following the signing in Saudi Arabia’s second-largest city, on the Red Sea coast, with Foreign Minister Adel Aljubeir.

“We have seen a conflict that has lasted for decades, ending, and that has a very important meaning in a world where we see, unfortunately, so many conflicts multiplying, and lasting forever,” added Mr. Guterres.

He expressed his “deep appreciation” for the role played by Saudi Arabia, before paying tribute “on one hand to the courage, the vision, the wisdom of the Prime Minister of Ethiopia – who has had the capacity to overcome enormous resistance from the past and open a new chapter in the history of his country – and also the way the President of Eritrea has promptly responded to his peace initiatives.”

The thaw in relations between the neighbouring countries, who fought a bloody, unresolved war in the late 1990s, began in earnest in June, when Ethiopia’s newly-elected leader, Abiy Ahmed, made peace overtures to his counterpart, which have now come to fruition.

Seizing on the implications for the whole region, Mr. Guterres said that the agreement meant that “there is a wind of hope blowing in the Horn of Africa. It is not only the peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea – it is the fact that tomorrow and the day after tomorrow we will have, here in Saudi Arabia, the President of Djibouti and the President of Eritrea – two countries that have also been at odds with each other.”

According to news reports, Eritrea and Djibouti announced on Friday that they would also normalize diplomatic relations with each other following a falling out on the border, in 2008, which left several dead and resulted in prisoners being taken on both sides.

The UN chief also noted the peace agreement between the President and his former Vice President in South Sudan, that was signed on Thursday – in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa – as another indicator of real diplomatic movement across the Horn of Africa and its borders.

“I want to say that this window of hope is enormously important in a world where, unfortunately, hope has been very scarce,” added the Secretary-General.

Somalia’s destiny lies in the hands of the people, highlights outgoing UN envoy (14.09.2018)

Despite remarkable achievements in Somalia in the recent past, structural challenges remain and continue to undermine the country’s security and political stability, the United Nations envoy for the country has warned.

DAKAR, Senegal, September 14, 2018 – Briefing the Security Council for the last time in his capacity as UN Special Representative for Somalia, Michael Keating called on all Somalis to draw strength from the positive transformations going on inside the country and work collectively for the common good.

“The future of Somalia is in the hands of the Somalis,” he declared.

In particular, Mr. Keating – who also heads the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) – urged unity among political leaders.

“The more [they] show unity, the greater the opportunity, and the responsibility, of international partners to invest in all parts of the country and its leadership,” he said.

In his remarks, Mr. Keating highlighted four key concerns the country’s leaders need to address, and issues that the international community should keep focusing on.

These include the threat posed by the Al Shabaab and other extremist groups; the risk of political differences overshadowing progress in legislative, reform and security areas; fragmentation within the international community; and the danger of a humanitarian “catastrophe”, especially with most of the population already living in precarious circumstances due to climate change and other vulnerabilities.

“Future crises will result from the combination of climate related shocks; armed conflict provoked by Al Shabaab and unresolved grievances; competition over natural resources; and systemic marginalization of certain groups,” warned Mr. Keating. He underscored the need to reduce the vulnerability faced by ordinary Somalis, through job creation and smart investments that safeguard natural resources and help unlock the enormous economic potential of the country.

Besides political will, Mr. Keating underscored, success will depend on leaders from the political, business and traditional spheres “working together for the common good, leveraging the country’s potential wealth to transform prospects for people – especially the young.”

On 1 October, Nicholas Haysom will replace Mr. Keating as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Somalia and the head of UNSOM. Mr. Keating was appointed the top UN official in the Horn of Africa nation in November 2015.

Women have brought ‘important voices’ to Somali politics

Alongside Mr. Keating, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN gender equality and empowerment agency for women and girls (UN Women) highlighted the “once-in-a-generation opportunity” that Somalia currently has to establish lasting peace, and gender equality.

She commended the nation for improving representation of women in public office, illustrated by the “jump” in women’s representation in parliamentary elections from 14 to nearly 25 per cent of seats in the most recent elections.

This progress, she underscored, has brought many “important voices” to Somali politics.

She said it had brought to the centre “the fight to end child marriage, end female genital mutilation (FGM), and change laws that discriminate against women,” noting that the participation of women will be further boosted if more leaders, especially clan leaders, embrace gender equality and support women.

She also called on the international community and the Security Council to support Somalia’s federal and provincial authorities, advance gender equality, act strongly against sexual and gender-based violence, advocate for meaningful participation and recognition of women in all sectors, and support women’s groups in the country.

“Women’s organizations in Somalia are organized. They are dedicated to their country: they are activists, advocates, entrepreneurs, professionals, and patriots,” said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, noting that as the country prepares to confront the challenges in the days ahead, “women will make the difference.”

DP World: We will continue to pursue all legal means to defend our rights as shareholder and concessionaire in Doraleh Container Terminal (12.09.2018)

Investors across the world must think twice about investing in Djibouti.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 12, 2018 – DP World (http://web.dpworld.com) said today that it will continue to pursue all legal means to defend its rights as a shareholder and concessionaire in Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT) in the face of Djibouti’s blatant disregard for the rule of law and respect for commercial contracts.

On 9 September the President of Djibouti enacted a decree which purportedly transferred the shareholding of Port de Djibouti SA (PDSA) in Doraleh Container Terminal SA (DCT) to the Government of Djibouti. PDSA is 23.5% owned by China Merchants Port Holdings Company Ltd of Hong Kong (“China Merchants”).

DP World said the transfer appears to have been made in an attempt to flout an injunction of the English High Court which restrains PDSA from using its shareholding to take control of DCT. This is the latest step in the Government of Djibouti’s five-year campaign to take the 2006 Concession Agreement away from DCT, through which DP World operated, and part owns the Doraleh Container Terminal.

“Investors across the world must think twice about investing in Djibouti and reassess any agreements they may have with a government that has no respect for legal agreements and changes them at will without agreement or consent,” a DP World spokesperson said.

On 31 August, the High Court of England & Wales issued an injunction against PDSA, as shareholder in DCT, ordering that it:

  • Shall not act as if the joint venture agreement with DP World has been terminated
  • Shall not appoint new directors or remove DP World’s nominated directors without its consent
  • Shall not cause the DCT joint venture company to act on the “Reserved Matters” without DP World’s consent.
  • Shall not instruct or cause DCT to give instructions to Standard Chartered Bank in London to transfer funds to Djibouti.

In an apparent attempt to circumvent the injunction, on 9 September 2018, the Government of Djibouti transferred PDSA’s shares in DCT to itself. The new decree was accompanied by a press release replete with untrue statements. It also refers to DP World being paid fair compensation in accordance with international law.

The 2006 Concession Agreement, which is governed by English law, provides that disputes relating to the Agreement are to be resolved through binding arbitration in the London Court of International Arbitration. Such arbitration proceedings are ongoing. To date the Government has not made any offer to compensate DP World.

Subsidies on school uniform mask deeper Djibouti anomalies (11.09.2018)

With unemployment rates in urban areas, at around 60 percent, a chronic problem, initial charges for uniforms were seen as astronomical.

DJIBOUTI CITY, Djibouti, September 11, 2018 – THE autocratic regime of President Ismaïl Omar Guelleh has yielded to public pressure to lower the price of uniforms for students at basic education level but this is seen as a smokescreen to divert attention from major issues afflicting the impoverished East African country

Minister of Education, Moustapha Mohamed Mahamoud, announced parents will pay some 2 000 Djibouti Franc (DJF) (equivalent to R171 or US$11,25) down from the initial 3 500 FDJ.

With unemployment rates in urban areas, at around 60 percent, a chronic problem, initial charges for uniforms were seen as astronomical.

Analysts believe the announcement, made on Monday as the students returned for the 2018/19 academic year, is only a ploy by government to deflect scrutiny from inherent failure to make available schools for the youth population as well as rampant drought, inadequate sanitation and food insecurity, all which have prevailed despite massive financial loans running into government coffers.

Critics lay the aforementioned problems on the lavishness of Gueleh, in power since 1999 at the death of his uncle Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had been in power since independence from France in 1977.

His administration is synonymous with brutality against opposition and media and discrimination against persons with disabilities as well as restrictions on unions.

“The announcement of the reduction of uniform prices is all a smokescreen, coming in the criticism of the government’s extravagancy in the face of mounting social challenges,” said political analyst Beran Omar.

Mahamoud meanwhile portrayed the administration as thoughtful of the challenges by the populace.

Mahamoud said uniform prices had been slashed after Guelleh heard the grievances of parents.

“He gave clear instructions in this direction,” the minister said.

However, despite the government’s claimed commitment to education, net student enrollment at the primary level, representing the percentage of children of official school age who are enrolled in primary school, is around 60 percent, according to latest World Bank figures.

The number reveals an even more challenging situation with enrollment rates lower and dropout rates higher for girls, those living in rural areas and those living in poverty.

“Djibouti is not on track to meet the Millennium Development Goals and is at risk of remaining in a low-level equilibrium in terms of both access and quality (education) for years to come,” World Bank stated.

The tiny country of slightly less than 1 million people is also on the throes of an eruption of waterborne diseases and rampant food deficit. It is also enduring the aftermath of the Cyclone Sagar, which ravaged the region in May, with southeastern neighbor, Somalia, the epicentre.

Floods affected at least 15 percent of the capital Djibouti City.

Schools and other social infrastructure have been affected with the total damage estimated at $30 million

Some 20 000 children under the age of five, out of almost 200 000 affected people, are impacted by drought.

Djibouti has one of the world’s highest levels of malnutrition for children, particularly among those under the age of five living in rural areas.

Djibouti: Communique du Doraleh Container Terminal (09.09.2018)

Statement of the Chairperson of the Commission on the Horn of Africa (07.09.2018)

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