by FBC

Addis Ababa, July 14, 2018 (FBC) -French President Emmanuel Macron called Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed on French National Holiday and congratulated him on the historic breakthrough of peace that is achieved between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

President Macron affirmed France’s support for Ethiopia’s reforms and invited the Prime Minister to visit France, according to Office of the Prime Minister.

Ethiopia and Eritrea agreed last Monday to restore their diplomatic relations that were severed for the past 20 years.

They agreed to reopen embassies, resume flights and direct telephone lines during the visit of the Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed last Sunday.

Eritrean President Isaias Afeworki arrived in Ethiopia today-less than a week after the two countries declared the official end border war.

Speaking at a luncheon hosted by Prime Minister Dr Abiy Ahmed, President Isaias said “the people of Eritrea and Ethiopia are one.”

Later in the afternoon, he visited the Hawassa industrial park located in the SNNP regional state.

Eritrea will open its embassy in Ethiopia next Monday.

The Ethiopian Airlines will also resume daily flights to the Eritrean capital Asmara as of July 18, 2018.

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by Jigjiga Herald

In a bizarre speech that Abdi Mohamoud Omer aka Abdi Iley gave to Regional House Representatives today, he claimed that everything he did for the last ten years was direct orders from Getachew Assefa, the former chief of National Intelligence and Information Services, and other TPLF military Generals.

Abdi Iley spoke for a long time during the parliament session and we summarized here the key excerpts from his address:

“I was a tool for TPLF. They [TPLF] did have a gun on my head all this time. I was also giving every penny of the Region’s budget as a ransom payment to a few Tigres [meaning TPLF General and other key politicians].”

“I will tell you everything today. Every order to kill or cause crises was coming from them [TPLF]”, he continued.

“They [TPLF] are the ones who were ordering the killings, I was just doing it to save myself. Every massacre in the Region was also ordered by Getachew Assefa [he said that with a curse word]. He [Getachew Assefa] is also behind the Oromo-Somali conflict. Do you think that Oromos and Somalis would just go into war without someone being behind it, he asked?”

“All the mistakes I have made were because of Getachew Assefa. Getachew Assefa held a gun on our head and asked us to do what he wants us to do.

“He [Getachew Assefa] is the man who was holding on Hailemariam’s head for 6 years, referring to the former prime minister.” According to Abdi Iley, he even at times kidnaped the wife of the former prime minister Hailemariam.”

In this bizarre speech, even to Abdi Iley’s standard, he also said this: “The rumor of my resignation was spread by Getachew Assefa, who wants bags of money as he used to get.”

In the same speech, he also claimed that prime minister Abiy Ahmed is a God sent, a prophet and Lemma Meggerssa [Oromia Regional President] is like his disciple.” In what seemed to be someone who is disturbed and out of character while also lacking his usual bravado, he declared that “he is ready to work with them and be part of the changes that are taking place in the country.”

In this speech that was like no other, he also seemed conciliatory. He declared, though it lacked authenticity and seemed to be aimed to just buy time, that “our people need to forgive each other. Those who are dead will not come back. Let’s forget what they [TPLF] did to us. We also need to stop silencing dissidents with lethal force to the point of killing the person. We should be able to have a dinner together while having a different point of views”.

While continuing this speech that will be for the ages, He remarked sarcastically, “Let’s also pray for those who have been massacred. Haday joogaan way iska shidaalysan lahaayeen [meaning, if they were here today, they would have celebrated the commencement of crude oil production in the Somali Region].”

The other remark that also raised some eyebrows is this: “I am calling for the rest of Ethiopian people for neighborly coexisting, especially our foremost neighbor, our brothers the Oromos, since the devils who were instigating all this violence between us are finally caught.”

What is also interesting is the fact that he held what amounted to a press conference that he raised the same talking points covered in this piece, but in a rather constrained fashion.

The Regional parliament’s session is expected to continue for tomorrow!

'This maybe my final message' Ethiopia PM Abiy Ahmed warns

Ethiopia’s PM Abiy Ahmed sent “final message” to those who trying to disrupt his administration reform movement. PM Abiy Ahmed speaking at the welcome ceremony for Eritrean President Isaias Afewerki in Awassa.

Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso, the Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles under the Ethiopian government’s Consulate General in the U.S., was charged in a three-count indictment.

LOS ANGELES, Cal.―An Ethiopian diplomat was arrested today by federal agents for visa fraud violations arising out of the use of non-immigrant diplomatic visas for family members who did not qualify under federal regulations.

Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso, 54, an Ethiopian national assigned to the Ethiopian government’s Consulate General as the Deputy Consul General in Los Angeles, was charged in a three-count indictment unsealed in the morning of July 12, 2018. She is charged with three counts of visa fraud, including falsely stating that her brother and his wife were “single” and “fully supported by her” and that their minor child was her “son.”

According to the allegations in the indictment, Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso caused the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs to send letters required for the visas to the Embassy of the United States in July and August 2016, stating that Desta would be accompanied by family members who would stay in Los Angeles until the end of the diplomatic term. The letters stated that her nephew was her “son” and that her brother and sister-in-law were “dependents” and “fully supported by her.”

Based on this information, her family members were then issued A-1 diplomatic visas to enter the United States.

Desta Woldeyohannes Delkasso’s brother and his son have lived in Washington, D.C. since their arrival in the United States, and as alleged in the indictment, never resided in Los Angeles.

An indictment contains allegations that a defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

If convicted, the defendant faces a maximum sentences of 30 years in prison.

This case was investigated by the U.S. Department of State’s Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) Criminal Investigations Division with assistance from the DSS Los Angeles Field Office.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lana Morton-Owens of the Violent and Organized Crime Section.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice

Eritrea's president hails thaw in relations in return to Ethiopia

by Aaron Maasho

(Reuters) Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki said on Saturday history was being made as he started his first visit to Ethiopia in more than two decades, days after the two neighbors declared an end to their “state of war”.

Arriving for three days of meetings, Isaias was greeted warmly at the airport by Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, and thousands lined Addis Ababa’s main thoroughfare Bole Road, sporting T-shirts emblazoned with the pictures of both leaders.

The visit comes just days after Abiy visited Eritrea and signed a pact with Isaias on resuming ties, a move that ended a near 20-year military standoff after a border war.

“Words cannot express the joy we are feeling now. History is being made as we speak,” Isaias said during a lunch hosted by Abiy.

“Lives have perished but we are lucky to observe today ... We are one people - whoever forgets that does not understand our situation.”

Abiy introduced Isaias to guests attending the lunch as an “esteemed and missed guest”.

Eritrea formally seceded from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long battle for independence, but the two went to war in 1998 over a border dispute. Though a peace deal was signed two years later, Ethiopia refused to implement it, saying it wanted more talks.

Reconciliation between Ethiopia and Eritrea could change politics and security in the volatile Horn of Africa region, which hundreds of thousands of young people have fled in search of safety and opportunities in Europe.

During the lunch, Abiy presented Isaias with a gold ring, while a painter handed Isaias a giant portrait of the Eritrean leader.

Ethiopia’s government spokesman said Isaias and his delegation would visit an industrial park in the southern Ethiopian town of Hawassa later on Saturday. Isaias was also due to give a speech in Addis Ababa on Sunday.

Eritrea and Ethiopia have so far agreed to open embassies, develop ports and restart flights.

Eritrea is due to reopen its embassy in Addis Ababa on Monday for the first time since 1998.

Eritrea’s Information Minister Yemane Meskel said on Twitter Isaias was accompanied by several ministers and other senior government officials.

Abiy, who is also trying to bring stability to a country that has been torn by protests since 2015, survived a grenade attack last month.

Mr Afwerki arrived in Ethiopia on Saturday - his first visit to the country in two decades

The huge difference visionary leaders like Abiy make

by Assegid Habtewold [1]

The official visit of Eritreans President Isaias Afeworki is a turning point like his counterpart’s trip to Eritrea a couple of weeks ago. One leader can only create such a paradigm shift within a short period of time if and only if he is a visionary. Ethiopia has had great visionary leaders and also narrow-minded ones.

By the way, two or three years ago, when I presented a paper on the theme leadership at a conference co-organized by Vision Ethiopia and ESAT, I enlisted the strengths and limitations of three immediate past leaders (Haileselasie, Mengistu, and Meles). Some participants were mad because I was sharing the strengths of these leaders. Worse, there was a guy who felt that I was nice to Meles because I was a Tigrian. He thought my last name is a Tigrian name.

It’s shame that we have this zero-sum mentality where we don’t want to see the good sides of others once we disagree with some of their ideas, personalities, and/or values. We need to change our political culture in this regard. Our contemporary leaders have to learn from the great leadership qualities of our past leaders while avoiding making the same mistakes they committed. I’m sure that Abiy was closely watching Meles. It seems that he learned lots of lessons from both his strengths and limitations. That is smart and wise! Don’t be prideful! Don’t just hate! Learn, even from your enemies and rivals…

For the sake of comparison (hold on your anger for a moment) Meles had some great leadership qualities such as reading and articulating his ideas. He was a voracious reader. He articulated his socio-economic, and political philosophies, policies, and programs like an expert in these fields. Of course, one may question, why what he had read didn’t change him in certain areas of his life? That is another huge topic by itself. But, at least, he did his homework to read, reflect, write, and communicate what he believed even if we may not agree with all of his policies and programs. There is a very powerful saying ‘A leader must be a reader!’ It’s not enough to have zeal and mere oratory to lead and serve others.

Of course, leaders don’t need to know everything. However, they have to tap into those who are experts in the areas where they lack knowledge and experience. One of the limitations of Meles was that he rarely solicited feedback from his advisors. He wasn’t even listening to people in his own inner circle either. Even if you’re a well-versed leader, you still need to solicit feedback from others including your critics and people who oppose your policies. We all have blind spots. We cannot know everything even if we read all the books in the world!

Another limitation of Meles was that he wasn’t a visionary leader. This is against his own party’s wrong assessment. They tried to portray him as a visionary leader, calling him our visionary leader, posting his pictures everywhere to tag him with a quality he didn’t have at all. There are some key parameters that must be in place to call someone a visionary. When these indicators are present, it doesn’t take you long to know whether a person is visionary or not.

Meles had a chance to enlarge Ethiopia’s influence beyond her backyard. Yes, because he was well read and smart- for his own good, he had influence at continental and world stages. Unfortunately, he was imprisoned by the past. He had bitter hatred and anger toward one ethnic group. That blinded his ‘eyes’ and limited him from being visionary. Instead of bringing the country together, he used divide and conquer approach to govern. Rather than tapping into the full potential of the whole country, he devised a scheme that only benefited a few. Since he was in the valley most of the time and couldn’t see far beyond the horizon, he failed to see past benefiting his own cliques and ethnic group.

Because of his shortsightedness, Ethiopia was in mess. The region was wrecked havoc. Ethiopia and the Horn were on the brink of collapse and disintegration. That is what happens when you lack a visionary leader!

In the middle of this chaos, thank God and Team Lemma and other brave souls who fought for democracy, justice, and good governance, a visionary came to the helm of power! What a blessing!

Mind you. Many, especially from his ethnic group, expected Abiy to be narrow-minded like Meles. He refused! Visionaries may care about their family, friends, ethnic group or race but they never fail to see the big picture. Abiy saw the BIG picture! That was a win-win for him, Oromos, and other ethnic groups…

Remember one thing. Yes, he joined OPDO, obviously to fight for the equal rights of his ethnic group. However, when he took power, he didn’t need to benefit his ethnic group alone at the expense of others like Meles did. Abiy is too visionary and wise to fall into that trap!

As a visionary, Abiy went beyond looking after the interests of his inner circles, ethnic Oromos, and even his own nation alone. Visionaries expand their territories. That is what Abiy just did within a short period of time. He took bold actions to increase the nation’s influence beyond her borders.

As soon as he took office, the visionary leader reached out to other leaders including rivals in the region. He sees beyond his backyard. What is more, he reconciled with Isaias. This is a win-win for ethnic Oromos, other ethnic groups in Ethiopia, Eritreans, and the region. Expanding the market, bringing peace and stability, and brotherhood enlarges the pie for everyone! We don’t need to fight over the little pie while we can enlarge it and in turn increase our fair share :-)

Since Abiy took office 3 months ago, he not only expanded the pie for everybody but also increased the geopolitical stance of the nation and its people. Soon, other short and long-term benefits follow. Why? Because he is a visionary leader!

However, one visionary is not enough to turn around the destiny of the nation and the region. It takes to have many visionaries, and also executioners who may translate the vision into realities. Thus, Abiy’s administration must be busy, as soon as possible, in raising visionary leaders throughout the nation and region.

In conclusion, congratulations to both Abiy and Isaias for being visionaries, for seeing the big picture and teaming up like brothers to enlarge the pie for all stakeholders! You have taken bold steps within a short period of time for the sake of your people and nations. Now, for the Habeshas, the sky is the limit…

Going forward, thanks to the visionary steps Abiy has taken, the geopolitical map of the Horn is redefined. What I see ahead is prosperity, peace, stability, and brotherhood in the region and beyond. The leaders of the two nations and others in the Horn, job well done!

[1] Dr. Assegid Habtewold is the author of Unchain Your Greatness, which can be found on Amazon. Assegid can be reached at

by Engidu Woldie
ESAT News (July 3, 2018)

Ethiopian and Sudanese troops have engaged in a brief battle after soldiers for the latter killed and injured several Ethiopian farmers.

As information trickles slowly from the area, ESAT has learnt that the latest wave of attack by the Sudanese began three weeks ago when its army killed several Ethiopian farmers on a disputed farmland on the border between the two countries.

A witness who spoke to ESAT on the phone from Metema said the Sudanese side killed five farm workers four days ago in an unprovoked attack. The witness said Ethiopian forces have been deployed following that incident and had engaged the Sudanese in a brief battle. He said there were deaths on both sides. Seven Ethiopians including members of the army have been sent to Genda Wuha Hospital in Metemma after today’s brief exchange of fire, according to the witness.

An attack last night in Dalol agricultural development has left several injured, according to the witness who said Ethiopian soldiers were among them.

Several Ethiopian farmers were feared killed by the Sudanese in Quara.

The Ethiopian Border Affairs Committee in North America and other witnesses on the ground accused that soldiers for the Tigray People’s Liberation Front had a hand in the conflict. The TPLF has been accused of instigating previous attacks on Ethiopian farmers along the border.

The TPLF, that had the political and military upper hand in Addis Ababa until recently, had given large swaths of agricultural land to their comrades in arms in Sudan against the will of the Ethiopian farmers in the border areas. There have been several attacks by the Sudanese in past years, but the Ethiopian farmers have repulsed most.

Ethiopia PM asks supporters to scale down rallies, remain vigilant against ‘enemies of reform’

by Daniel Mumbere

Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed ahas asked his supporters to scale down on the massive rallies that have been held across the country, in support of ongoing reforms.

Abiy says Ethiopian people should instead focus on implementation of the development programs and guard against plots designed to create conflict among emerging states.

Reform rallies

Last week, a massive rally was organised in Bahir Dar, the capital of Amhara regional state, in support of Abiy’s reforms.

Rallies were also held in several other cities including Debre Berhane and Woldia.

Last month, the prime minister attended a massive rally in the capital Addis Ababa that was organised to support his reforms. That particular rally was disrupted by a grenade explosion, which the state late explained was part of a plot to fail the economy.

Abiy has championed several economic and political reforms since he took office in April, with one of the more radical ones being a decision to make peace with Eritrea by accepting the resolutions of the 2000 Algiers Agreement that hands over the the disputed border town of Badme to Eritrea.

Despite being elected leader of the governing Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPDRF) coalition, there has been reported disquiet from one of the four constituent parties.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, initially resisted the decision to make peace with Eritrea and also questioned Abiy’s decision to liberalise the economy.

Abiy in a press conference held on Tuesday, thanked several groups that have worked to minimise damage in several flaring conflicts in regional states across the country.

State broadcaster Fana Bc said Abiy thanked the youth in Gurage zone of SNNP regional state and the Sidama elderly for the effective reconciliation measures they implemented within a short period.

Also, following violence in Asoss, the capital of Benishangul Gumuz regional state that left up to 10 people dead, up to 11 police officers and four senior officials of the regional administration have been relieved of their duties.

by Daniel Mumbere

Sophia, the famous humanoid robot, has finally met Ethiopia’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, after her lost body parts were found.

A bag containing some parts of the robot was lost at Frankfurt airport last week, leading to the cancellation of a press conference scheduled to take place on Friday at the Ethiopian National Museum and dinner with Abiy on the same day.

Abiy’s chief of staff, Fitsum said the meeting finally happened on Monday, with the prime minister committing to support the innovation eco-syetem in Ethiopia.

‘‘Sophia, the first humanoid robot-today visited HE PM Abiy. He was pleased to hear the brilliant Ethiopia AI developers at @iCog_Labs were part of her dev’t. Ethiopia will increase support to nurture an innovation eco-system and create opportunities for our best and brightest,’‘ read Fitsum’s tweet.

Designed by Hong Kong firm Hanson Robotics, Sophia has been programmed to speak Amharic, Ethiopia’s official language, which would be the first language she speaks other than English.

Getnet Asefa, the manager of Icog Labs, the engineering firm behind her Amharic programming, had explained on Friday that Sophia was fixable and they would find alternative parts for her.

Sophia is attending the 2nd International ICT Expo Ethiopia, 2018 which opened on Monday under the theme “Transform Ethiopia.”

Ethiopia’s Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonnen, said Ethiopia needs technology-based development to attain its development targets.

About Sophia

Sophia became the first Android citizen in history when she was rewarded Saudi Arabian citizenship.

A Hanson Robotics invention, Sophia is the world’s most advanced android. The ‘realest’ robot to this day, Sophia’s covering artificial skin consists of organic and non-organic material.

The robot is able to express her ‘emotions’ through a number of facial expressions installed via a large number of motors under her ‘skin,’ according to an article by AFP.

To maintain eye contact and ensure the robot is able to recognize human faces, the robot has cameras installed in her eyes and torso.

Sophia has been programmed to carry out non-scripted conversations, during which she is able to collect emotional data and form emotional relations.

What residents of Asmara think about Ethio-Eritrea peace talk

by Borkena

Eritrea and Ethiopia are on the path to restoring peaceful relation after two years of deadly war and two decades of no-peace no war relation.

Eritrean high-level delegation was in Ethiopia this past week to “chart out” the peace offer and they reportedly had a productive working visit. Prime minister Abiy Ahmed is traveling to Asmara “soon” to hold a discussion with President Isayas Afeworki of Eritrea.

The development in the relations between the two countries is met with excitement in Ethiopia so much so that some Ethiopians were seen carrying Eritrean flags during rallies in different cities organized to show support to prime minister Abiy Ahmed administration. The only exeption to this exictment is there has been a concren and protest in Tigray as the implementation of the peace agreement that ended the war between the two countries would leave communities divided.

What is the reaction to the peace talks in Eritrea?

Voice of America reporter in Asmara, Berhane, spoke to some residents of Asmara and it seems like there is excitement in there too.

“Both countries and people had been living for too long in love and unity, and as brothers. Peace is very important more than anything /anyone and it is the gift of God. Let God help us for the peace talk to bear fruit soon so that normalcy between the two countries is restored,” said one resident of Asmara.

Binyam Abraham Gebretsadik told VOA reporter, Berhane, that he was born in Asela, Ethiopia and that his mother brought him to Eritrea as a child before the relationship between the two countries went astray. “I do not know the whereabouts of my father still,” added Binyam. He says that he is happy that his president Isayas Afeworki sent a delegation to Ethiopia responding to Dr. Abiy’s call for peace. And he hopes that the process will speed up to allow the two people meet.

Tsehay Alazar is a teacher and she taught at Entoto technic and vocational school in Addis Ababa before the conflict between the two countries. She says “she thanks God” for the peace talks between the two countries again. “The coming of Dr. Abiy Ahmed [is important] not only for Ethiopians but even for those of us who are here[Eritrea] as it is in alignment with our aspiration.

The following audio file from VOA Amharic has details of the story.