Tuesday, January 17, 2023
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Ethiopian Airlines to resume Copenhagen flights

Ethiopian Airlines (ET) will resume flights to Copenhagen, 19 years after halting service to the Danish capital, a Routes Online report has revealed.

From May 22, 2023, the Ethiopian flag carrier will operate five weekly flights from its Addis Ababa (ADD) hub to Copenhagen Airport (CPH) via Vienna, Austria (VIE), with its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner fleet, the report added.

The airline last serviced Denmark’s capital in October 2003, via Frankfurt, Germany (FRA).  

ET currently serves a daily frequency to Stockholm, Sweden (ARN), and Oslo, Norway (OSL), through a codeshare with Scandinavian Airlines, on a ADD-ARN-OSL route with its fleet of Boeing Dreamliners and 777-200LRs, according to data from ET’s website.

In addition, the airline also announced that it will resume direct services to Singapore (SIN) from March 25, 2023, after halting the service in March 2020 due to the COVID pandemic.

In a statement released on December 16, 2022, ET said it will operate four weekly flights with its Boeing Dreamliner fleet from Addis Ababa to Singapore and from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur (KUL), Malaysia.

(Aerotime)

US congressman calls for sanctions on Ethiopian over alleged role in Tigray conflict

The US has been urged to withhold a loan to Ethiopian Airlines until the government in Addis Ababa meets some standards set out in the cessation of hostilities agreement reached in Pretoria in November.

US Congressman Brad Sherman, in a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and copied to Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo as well as Reta Jo Lewis, the president and chairperson of the Export-Import Bank of the US, demanded Tigray see unrestricted humanitarian assistance, banking, the internet, and medicine before the USD 100 million loan was disbursed.

“We urge you to delay action on the proposed loan AP089457XX, which would provide USD 100 million for Ethiopian Airlines to buy Boeing passenger and cargo airplanes,” he said in the letter.

The airline finds itself on the sanctions radar because of its alleged role in the conflict, providing logistical support to the Ethiopian army.

In his letter, he reminded the recipients of US Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Molly Phee’s promise to Congress that the country would not support Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s government financially as long as there was no end to the conflict in Tigray.

(News 24)

Human Rights Council President appoints Othman to serve as new chairperson of Ethiopia Commission

The President of the Human Rights Council, Federico Villegas (Amb.), has decided to appoint Mohamed Chande Othman of Tanzania to the Council-created Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia as its new Chairperson.

Othman’s appointment comes following the resignation of Kaari Betty Murungi as chairperson and member of the commission. Villegas thanked Murungi for her role on the commission and wished her well in her future endeavors.

A former Chief Justice of Tanzania (2010–2017), Othman was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in 2015 as Chairperson of the Independent Panel of Experts on the Dag Hammarskjöld Investigations. In 2019–2020, he served as a member of the Independent Expert Review of the International Criminal Court and the Rome Statute System, having been appointed by the Assembly of State Parties to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.

The three-person Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia was created by the UN Human Rights Council on December 17, 2021, with a mandate to investigate alleged human rights violations and abuses in Ethiopia committed since November 3, 2020 by all parties to the conflict. In October 2022, the Council decided to renew the mandate for another year.

(UN Human Rights)

“I was lucky. Many others were not,” says a US citizen who escaped Ethiopia detention

US citizens trapped in war-torn Tigray are being detained and interrogated by Ethiopian authorities while trying to leave the country, interviews with fleeing people and family members showed.

Leaked emails by US officials revealed that the Ethiopian government, citing national security grounds, insisted on holding and questioning US citizens from Tigray—a stance, they say, that caused Washington to abort plans to airlift Americans from the region in 2021.

The lucky few to escape the region, cut off from the outside world for two years as government forces battled Tigrayan rebels, told AFP they had been singled out and interrogated when attempting to leave.

Gebremedhn Gebrehiwot, an American citizen who made it out of Tigray earlier this year, said he was pulled aside and questioned at Addis Ababa’s international airport while trying to board a flight home.

“I had all the documents; there was no reason to stop me,” the San Diego-based deacon told AFP. He believed his “typically Tigrayan” name was the reason he was detained.

After a 90-minute wait, he was finally allowed to leave. He said, “I just ran to the gate and barely made it.”

(News24)

Kenya pushes for ban on radioactive waste imports

The Kenyan government has renewed a push to ban the importation of hazardous materials, including radioactive waste, into the country, in line with a continental pact to protect Africa’s borders from becoming a dumpsite for global manufacturers.

This is after the Ministry of Foreign Affairs asked the National Assembly to ratify the Bamako Convention, which bans the transboundary movement of hazardous waste.

The convention, which was adopted under the auspices of the Organisation of African Unity in 1991 (now the African Union) and came into force in 1998, imposes an obligation on state parties to ban the importation and transit through their territory of hazardous wastes and substances for human health and environmental reasons.

About 35 African states have signed the convention, with Kenya appending its signature on December 17, 2003, but it has yet to accede to it.

The Foreign Ministry said the most common hazardous wastes include wood, glass, scrap metal, textiles, kitchen waste, and disposal nappies, among others. The Cabinet approved the ratification of the Bamako Convention during its meeting on May 12, 2022. The convention was tabled in Parliament on November 29, 2022.

(Business Daily)

Ruto keen to sell govt’s entire stake in Kenya Airways

Kenya’s government is prepared to sell its entire stake in the East African nation’s loss-making airline, newly elected President William Ruto said.

“I’m willing to sell the whole” of Kenya Airways Plc, Ruto said in an interview on the sidelines of the US-Africa Leaders’ Summit in Washington, DC, on Friday. “I’m not in the business of running an airline that just has a Kenyan flag; that’s not my business.”

Ruto spoke a day after meeting executives from Delta Air Lines, Inc., the largest US airline by market value. He declined to provide details of the talks.

“Discussions with Delta are at a preliminary stage,” he said. The government is “looking for partnerships that will make Kenya Airways a profitable entity, whatever that means, in whatever configuration or whatever form it takes,” Ruto said.

Kenya Airways, Africa’s third-biggest airline, defaulted on its loans this year, forcing the Kenyan Treasury to take up the obligations. The carrier is 48.9 percent owned by the government, Air France-KLM SA holds a 7.76 percent stake, and a group of lenders who swapped their debt for equity in the company control 38.09 percent.

(BNN Bloomberg)

Tanzania, China sign USD 2.2 bln railway deal

Tanzania has signed a USD 2.2 billion contract with a Chinese company to build the final section of a railway line aimed at linking the country’s main port with its neighbors.

The 2,561-kilometer line will link the Indian Ocean port of Dar es Salaam to Mwanza on Lake Victoria, with eventual spurs to Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, and Uganda.

President Samia Suluhu Hassan, who witnessed the signing, said the construction of the final section of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) from Tabora to Kigoma in western Tanzania would be completed in 2026, nine years after it began.

“Upon completion of the SGR, Tanzania will be in a better position to utilize its strategic geographical positioning to facilitate cross-border trade,” she said.

Hassan said Tanzania’s investment in the SGR had now reached USD 10.04 billion, including the latest contract. “We have to borrow for this important infrastructure and other sustainable development projects because we don’t have enough local resources,” she said.

The new railway would reduce cargo transportation costs between the Dar es Salaam port and the DRC from a minimum of USD 6,000 per ton to about USD 4,000 once it becomes fully operational.

(News18)

Rwanda responds to French accusations of supporting M23

Tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have escalated with accusations of supporting armed rebel groups.

Rwanda denied again in a statement on Wednesday that it is helping rebels in the eastern DRC who are backed by the UN.

“Accusing Rwanda of support for the Congolese armed group M23 is wrong and distracts from the real cause of continued conflict in eastern DRC and its impact on the security of neighboring states, including Rwanda,” the statement read.

It was also said that blaming Rwanda hurts the work that leaders in the area are doing to find lasting peace, especially through the Nairobi and Luanda initiatives, which Rwanda is fully committed to.

But the ongoing crisis in eastern DRC is complicating Rwanda’s relationship with its western allies, while the UN is said to be pondering sanctions against Rwanda over its alleged support for the M23 rebels.

On Tuesday, it was France that presented Resolution 2667, which was voted for unanimously and which adjusted the arms embargo on the DRC, removing the need for the FARDC (DRC forces) to first ask for permission from the sanctions committee of the UN Security Council.

France presented the resolution just a day after condemning Rwanda’s support for the M23 rebels.

(The East African)

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