[dehai-news] (Europian Parliament) Restoring stability in the Horn of Africa: MEPs debate a boost to peacekeeping mission

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From: Biniam Tekle (biniamt@dehai.org)
Date: Thu Jan 15 2009 - 16:17:57 EST

stability in the Horn of Africa: MEPs debate a boost to peacekeeping
mission Externe
betrekkingen - 15-01-2009 - 12:52

In a resolution that seeks to restore peace and stability in the Horn of
Africa, MEPs demand the reinforcement of the peacekeeping mission in Somalia
and the deployment of a UN stabilisation force in Darfur to join forces with
the African Union troops already deployed in the region. MEPs also highlight
the unresolved border conflict between Ethiopia and Eritrea and between
Eritrea and Djibouti, and demand that human rights and freedom of the press
be observed in these countries.
The unsolved border conflicts between Ethiopia and Eritrea and between
Eritrea and Djibouti are negatively affecting peace and security in the Horn
of Africa, says Parliament. The situation in Somalia has deteriorated into
"one of the world's worst humanitarian and security crises", and the
situation in Sudan is a major risk factor for security in the region.

MEPs call on the government of Ethiopia to* *formally endorse the Boundary
Commission's demarcation by map coordinates between Eritrea and Ethiopia as
final and binding, in accordance with the internationally brokered 'Algiers
Agreements'. They believe that projects of common interest, such as energy
supply, cross border trade and ports, could trigger functional cooperation
between the two countries.

*Reinforcement of peacekeeping operations*

Parliament also urges the reinforcement of the African Union Mission to
Somalia (AMISOM) and the deployment of the UN stabilisation force in a
timely manner as soon as political and security conditions allow. Since
November 2008, Ethiopia has been progressively withdrawing its troops from
Mogadishu and all other locations in Somalia where they are still present.

Turning to the situation in Darfur, MEPs call on the Council and the
international community to step up their support for implementation of the
north-south Comprehensive Peace Agreement in Sudan and to secure the full
deployment of UNAMID, the United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur.

An EU Special Representative/Envoy to the Horn of Africa region should also
be nominated by the Council, Parliament says.

*Deterioration of humanitarian situation in Somalia*

The resolution condemns the "ever more frequent attacks on humanitarian
workers over the last few months, which have gravely constrained aid
operations and have helped worsen the humanitarian situation in Somalia".

The Ethiopian government is urged to grant full access for humanitarian
organisations to the Ogaden region of Somalia, and to provide all necessary
conditions to enable aid to reach its beneficiaries throughout the region.

Violations of human rights in Somalia include the kidnapping of two Italian
Catholic nuns, Maria Teresa Olivero and Caterina Giraudo. The EP calls on
the Somali Transitional Federal Government to condemn the kidnapping of the
two nuns and to take action to speed up their release and prevent further

*Political and press freedoms must be guaranteed*

Pointing to the lack of guaranteed freedom of the press, Parliament
expresses its deep concern at the continuing imprisonment in Eritrea of the
Swedish-Eritrean journalist Dawit Isaak, who has been held in jail since his
arrest in September 2001 without having been tried by a court. The EP
demands the immediate release of Dawit Isaak and other imprisoned
journalists. 17 Similarly, MEPs call on the Eritrean government to make a
public declaration as to the whereabouts of the prisoners and their state of
health and to either charge and immediately bring before a court of law all
political detainees and imprisoned journalists, or release them immediately
and without conditions.

MEPs also express their outrage at the imprisonment of the leader of the
opposition party Unity for Democracy Justice (UDJ), Birtukan Midekssa,
demanding her immediate and unconditional release.

The resolution was adopted by 570 votes to 11 with 27 abstentions.

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