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Ethiopia’s Abiy hosts Eritrea’s Isaias in historic post-Nobel meeting

Abiy welcomed Isaias at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said

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Ethiopia's Abiy hosts Eritrea's Isaias in historic post-Nobel meeting
Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is greeted at the Bole International Airport, Addis Ababa accompanied by Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed upon his arrival on Wednesday December 25, 2019. Photo credit / Twitter - @AbiyAhmedAli

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki flew to Addis Ababa Wednesday for his first meeting with the Ethiopian prime minister since Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize for initiating a thaw between the sparring neighbours.

Eritrea and Ethiopia fought a border war in 1998-2000 that left an estimated 80,000 dead before a prolonged stalemate took hold.

Shortly after he came to power last year, Abiy, 43, stunned observers at home and abroad by reaching out to Isaias and creating momentum for a peace deal.

READ: Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed receives Nobel Peace Prize

Abiy welcomed Isaias at Addis Ababa’s Bole International Airport, Ethiopia’s state-affiliated Fana Broadcasting Corporate said. 

“During his stay in Ethiopia, the Eritrean President is expected to meet with Ethiopian officials to discuss bilateral issues,” Fana said. 

Isaias was accompanied by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh and Yemane Gebreab, a presidential advisor, according to a post on Twitter by Eritrean Information Minister Yemane G. Meskel.

“The two leaders will discuss enhancement of important bilateral & regional matters,” Yemane wrote. 

Abiy’s office and a spokesman for Ethiopia’s foreign affairs ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

After the two leaders first met and embraced on the tarmac in Asmara, the Eritrean capital, last year, they reopened embassies, resumed flights and held a series of meetings across the region.

But the initial optimism fuelled by these gestures has faded, and citizens of both countries complain that they are still waiting for meaningful change.

WATCH: These Eritrean Painters are Painting a World of Peace with Ethiopia

During the Nobel award ceremony in Oslo earlier this month, Norwegian Nobel Committee chairwoman Berit Reiss-Anderson noted that the peace process “seems to be at a standstill”, with border crossings closed and little apparent progress on border demarcation efforts. 

READ: Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed to avoid questions at Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo

She said the committee hoped the Nobel would “spur the parties to further implementation of the peace treaties”. 

Isaias and Abiy last met in Asmara in July.

Upon returning from Oslo to Ethiopia this month, Abiy expressed hope that the two leaders would be able to meet “soon”.

Abiy wrote on Twitter Wednesday: “I am happy to welcome again to his second home my comrade-in-peace, President Isaias Afeworki and his delegation.”

READ: Zaid Aregawi says “we don’t see the peace” in query of Abiy’s Nobel prize win

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East Africa Politics News

Uganda’s President Museveni, Chinese Diplomats in Bilateral Discussions

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Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has met with visiting senior Chinese diplomat Yang Jiechi in Entebbe to discuss promoting bilateral relations between the two countries.

Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee pointed out that China-Uganda relations have developed smoothly in the last few years.

China supports Uganda in its pursuit of a development path suited to its national conditions and stands ready to work with Uganda to further deepen political mutual trust and enhance the complementarity of development strategies.

China plans to expand practical cooperation within the framework of jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative and implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, as well as pushing the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new height.

China has declared readiness to continue to cooperate with Uganda in fighting the Coronavirus pandemic and jointly promote the building of a community of common health for mankind.

Museveni stressed that Uganda abides by the one-China principle, opposes foreign interference in China’s internal affairs, and is willing to strengthen coordination and cooperation with China in international and regional affairs.

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Uganda: Bobi Wine Withdraws Election Results Petition

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Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, a.k.a Bobi Wine, has withdrawn his challenging the results of Uganda’s January 14 presidential election from the Supreme Court, citing judges bias.

The National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, who is seen as the leader of the opposition in Uganda, said he is dropping his case because the courts are filled with “yes-men” appointed by President Yoweri Museveni and he did not expect a fair decision from the panel of nine judges.

Recall that Bobi Wine had gone to the supreme court after losing the Ugandan poll to Museveni. The 76-year-old, who has been in power since 1986, won a 6th term with 58% of the vote while Wine had 35%.

Bobi Wine, who was four years old when Museveni grabbed power, called those results fraudulent, citing cases of soldiers allegedly stuffing ballot boxes, casting ballots for people, chasing voters away from polling stations and asked the court to overturn the results.

The musician turned politician says that he will now take the matter to the court of public opinion, using non-violent means.

Recall that Bobi Wine had initially said he did not wish to launch a legal challenge because a courtroom loss would validate Museveni’s victory.

Museveni won previous legal challenges to his election victories, and analysts had predicted the judges were still unlikely to rule against him.

More than 50 people were killed in violence ahead of the election.

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Uganda: Soldiers Assault Journalists at Bobi Wine UNHRC Petition Submission

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Ugandan security forces on Wednesday beat up and injured journalists who were covering the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate in January 14 election, Robert Kyagulanyi a.k.a Bobi Wine, deliver his petition to United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) offices in Kampala, the capital.

Several journalists at the event have reportedly been admitted to hospitals after the assault from military police who arrived outside the UNHRC office in trucks.

Stephen Bwire, Secretary-General of Uganda Journalists Union, said no fewer than 20 journalists were hurt in the attack, with at least four sustaining deep cuts on the head after getting thrashed with batons.

Bobi Wine lost the January 14 presidential election to incumbent Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986. He rejected the results and has filed a court case seeking annulment of the poll, which he claimed was rigged.

President Yoweri Museveni recently announced the arrest and detention of of 300 people for rioting and other criminal acts.

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