ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia
(Xinhua) -- As Ethiopians commenced
the week-long celebrations welcoming the Ethiopian New Year,
calls for unity and togetherness are being echoed by the various
sections of the Ethiopian society.
The Ethiopian New
Year, or Enkutatash in Amharic language, falls on Sept. 11 (or
Sept. 12 during a leap year), as the East African nation uses a
unique calendar that counts its year seven to eight years behind
the Gregorian calendar.
Presently the country is celebrating the arrival of 2011,
which will fall on Sept. 11.
Amid the start of the celebrations earlier this week,
Ethiopian officials as well as religious leaders called on
various sections of the Ethiopian society to uphold values of
unity and togetherness.
The latest call was issued by the Ethiopian Government
Communications Affairs Office (GCAO), which on Saturday stressed
that as the East African country embarked on togetherness and
unity more than ever, the wider public should envisage on
further upholding such values towards the country’s
Noting the representation of the final five days of the
current Ethiopian year 2010 on five long-standing values of the
Ethiopian society—peace, love, forgiveness, togetherness, and
unity—the office urged the public to maintain these values as
the New Year approaches.
Ethiopia has its own calendar with 13 months, and each of the
12 months has 30 days, while the 13th month, called Pagume, has
five days, which becomes six in each leap year.
As it comes with change of the season, the New Year in
Ethiopia is characterized by many as new hope and new beginning.
Amid the celebrations, the Ethiopian government has also
disclosed various incentives and discounts on various services
to Ethiopians who are flocking back home from abroad to join the
Majority of Ethiopians in diaspora usually return home in a
bid to join the New Year celebrations with family and relatives.
The Ethiopian government has also established a special
entity that brought almost all the major service providers,
including the Ethiopian Airlines, hotels association and
government tourism organizations in a bid to accelerate the
welcoming of Ethiopian in diaspora.
Celebrations for the Ethiopian New Year is usually a
week-long fest, while the major holiday starts on the eve,
whereby each household or neighbors lit wooden torches locally
called "chibo" in Amharic language, which symbolizes the coming
of the new season of sunshine after the end of the cloudy
(rainy) season that has prevailed since June.
The New Year brings an extended family together to attend a
series of events, including slaughtering of cattle, either a
sheep, got or cow, depending on a household’s financial
Often, a community or a village will pool money to slaughter
a cow in group, while each household can choose to slaughter a
less expensive sheep.
The Ethiopian New Year comes at the time when the heavy
rainfall starts to cease, and the bright sun comes to shine over
the green land, which is also covered by the golden flower known
in Amharic language as "Adey Abeba."
United Nations chief
welcomes Horn of Africa rapprochement
UNITED NATIONS New York (Xinhua) --
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
welcomed Saturday the visit two days ago by foreign ministers of
Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia to Djibouti, hailing it as
"another important step" in the rapprochement among the
countries in the Horn of Africa region.
In a statement through his spokesperson Stephane Dujarric,
Guterres said the agreement reached among the four ministers to
work together to restore peace and stability in the region is a
positive example for the region and beyond.
He reiterated the readiness of the UN to support countries in
the region in consolidating the recent "remarkable" gains.
As a result of the visit on Thursday, Eritrea and Djibouti
agreed to normalize relations after a decade of diplomatic
The two countries have a border dispute extending back to
The Horn of Africa region has seen a number of diplomatic
thaws since Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed in June decided
to fully accept a 2002 border deal that followed a 1998-2000 war
with Eritrea. Restored diplomatic ties quickly followed.
Eritrea and Somalia in late July also agreed to restore
African Union welcomes
positive developments in Horn of Africa
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The Chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC),
Moussa Faki Mahamat, on Saturday welcomed recent positive
developments in the Horn of Africa amid improved relations among
countries in the region.
The continental body chairperson’s positive remarks regarding
the Horn of Africa region followed optimistic agreements as well
as discussions that involved various countries in the region.
Amid the easing of tensions in the region, Ethiopia’s Prime
Minister Abiy Ahmed, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and
Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed on Wednesday signed a
trilateral agreement that aimed at strengthening ties among the
Ethiopia also on Thursday reopened its embassy in the
Eritrean capital Asmara as the two long-time rivals embark on
The reopening of Ethiopia’s embassy in Asmara, which followed
the reopening of Eritrea’s embassy in Ethiopia’s capital Addis
Ababa on July 16, is the latest of the positive developments as
relations between the two African countries deepen over the past
The AU said on Saturday that the chairperson is "encouraged
by the recent positive developments in the Horn of Africa, in
particular the improvement of relations between countries of the
Faki "commends the leaders of Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia and
Somalia for their steadfast efforts and commitment to the higher
interests of their people and the region as a whole," the pan
African bloc said in a statement.
Faki further reiterated that the steps taken are a major
milestone in Africa’s endeavor to silence the guns by 2020 and
promote deeper regional and continental integration, in line
with Agenda 2063.
"These regionally-led efforts are also a clear demonstration
of the value and effectiveness of the search for African
solutions to African problems," the statement quoted Faki as
The chairperson also urged other parts of the continent where
active conflict and crisis situations are witnessed to follow
the footstep s of Ethiopia, Eritrea, Djibouti, and Somalia.
The ongoing positive developments involving the various Horn
of African countries started with moves to normalize relations
between Ethiopia and Eritrea, the region’s longtime arch rivals.
After 20 years of hostility, Ethiopia and Eritrea resumed
diplomatic relations recently.
On July 8, Ethiopia’s PM Ahmed made a landmark visit to the
Red Sea nation and a week after, Eritrea’s Afwerki paid a
courtesy visit to Ethiopia.
Recent positive developments are considered as a new
beginning since the two countries fought a bloody two-year
border war in 1998-2000 that killed an estimated 70,000 people
from both sides.
The war was ended by a December 2000 Algiers peace agreement,
but it left the two countries in a state of bitter armed
Amid the easing tensions, telecom services between the two
countries have resumed, and agreements were made to strengthen
The two countries’ flag carriers, Ethiopian Airlines and
Eritrean Airlines, have also started flights to Asmara and Addis
Leaders of the two countries, in another bid to augment their
growing ties, had also agreed to increase the movement and
amount of bilateral trade through Eritrea’s port city of Assab
to Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa.
Ethiopia eyes better road
connection with Eritrea as relations improve
ADDIS ABABA Ethiopia (Xinhua) --
The Ethiopian Roads Authority on Sunday revealed
its plan to renovate the disused roadway that connects Ethiopia
with its long-time foe Eritrea and reopen the long-abandoned
lane to travelers.
The announcement came amid recent positive developments that
are considered a new beginning in bilateral ties. The two
countries fought a bloody border war in 1998-2000, which killed
an estimated 70,000 people from both sides.
The war ended following a December 2000 Algiers peace
agreement, but had left the two countries in a state of bitter
Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, who on Wednesday paid
Eritrea his second visit since he assumed office in April,
promised to further improve ties between the two neighboring
countries that were once a single nation. Eritrea declared
independence from Ethiopia in 1991.
Ahmed, accompanied by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki,
visited Eritrean ports as land-locked Ethiopia eyes Eritrea’s
Assab and Metswa ports for its import-export needs, in which
conducive road connectivity was said to be vital.
The previously constructed road networks connecting the two
countries need renovation, having been kept vacant for more than
two decades following the armed standoff.
According to the head of the Ethiopian Roads Authority,
Habtamu Tilahun, efforts are underway to build roads to leverage
Ethiopia’s ambitions to utilize Eritrea’s ports.
"In addition to the planned new projects, we are working to
finalize the renovation activity within the coming three months
period and embark on service provision," Tilahun was quoted by
Ethiopia’s state news agency as saying on Sunday.
Ethiopia on Thursday reopened its embassy in the Eritrean
capital, Asmara; Eritrea’s embassy in Addis Ababa was reopened
on July 16.
Telecom services between Ethiopia and Eritrea have also
resumed, and the two countries’ flag carriers—Ethiopian Airlines
and Eritrean Airlines—have also started flights to Asmara and
Addis Ababa respectively.
A decision to construct a pipeline linking Addis Ababa and
Eritrea’s Assab port has been also unveiled by Ethiopia and the
United Arab Emirates.
The pipeline would allow landlocked Ethiopia to export crude
oil via the Eritrean port. Ethiopia started test extraction from
its Somali Regional State in June.
On Wednesday, Ethiopia’s Ahmed, Eritrea’s Afwerki and Somali
President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed signed an agreement
strengthening trilateral ties.
In addition to political and economic relations, Ethiopia and
Eritrea are also taking steps to strengthen cultural and
A cultural symposium last month in Addis Ababa brought
together 500 participants from both countries.
Ethiopian diplomatic service re-open former Asmara Embassy
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Somalia, Eritrea and Ethiopia in talks for Economic
Ethiopia opening New Chapter with their long time rival