venerdì 5 ottobre 2007

Merkel: Grmanioa pronta a mediare

German chancellor offers help in Ethiopia-Eritrea disputeThe Associated PressPublished: October 4, 2007ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia: German Chancellor Angela Merkel offered to helpHorn of Africa rivals Ethiopia and Eritrea resolve a long-runningborder dispute, and called for the rapid deployment of a jointpeacekeeping force to Sudan as she began a tour of African nations onThursday.Merkel said she had spoken with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and wasconfident the acrimonious border dispute between his country andneighboring Eritrea would be peacefully settled since Ethiopia hasaccepted the ruling of an impartial border commission."It seems that the problems are mainly in the implementation, " shesaid. "Wherever we can be of any assistance, Germany will certainly beready to do so."She did not specify how Germany could help or what had changed in adeadlock that has had both countries trading accusations for years.Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993, after a 30-yearguerrilla war, but the border between the two was never formallydemarcated. A war erupted over the border in 1998 and claimed tens ofthousands of lives.Today in Africa & Middle EastBaghdad bombing wounds Polish ambassador and kills 2Sunni legislator detained for questioning by U.S. military in IraqCargo plane crash in Congo's capital, at least 19 deadA December 2000 peace agreement provided for an independent commissionto rule on the position of the disputed 621-mile (1,000-kilometer)border, but the neighbors have repeatedly accused each other of nothonoring the deal.Tensions have increased further with the rivals backing opposing sidesin Somalia, where fighting between a weak government and Islamicinsurgents has killed thousands of Somalis this year.Ethiopia also has trouble at home, but Merkel did not directly addressEthiopia's crackdown on opposition leaders or the insurgency in theOgaden region, where Ethiopian troops are fighting ethnic Somaliinsurgents. Aid groups and the rebels accuse Ethiopia of running apolice state and targeting civilians in Ogaden.Meles used the news conference as an opportunity to send a robustresponse to U.S. legislators who have proposed cutting aid unlessEthiopia improves its human rights conditions."I don't think it will affect the relationship between ourselves andthe U.S.," Meles said. The bill "is not fair. It is a reflection ofthe vendetta of a congressman. And that's it. If this person wasinterested in human rights and democracy, he should have looked atEritrea first."The U.S. House of Representatives unanimously approved the bill onTuesday, but it not yet law.Merkel also addressed the African Union, headquartered in Addis Ababa.Germany is currently the head of the Group of Eight industrializednations, from whom the AU has been seeking funding for peacekeeping.Merkel did not make a specific pledge to peacekeeping operations, butemphasized that the EU was committed to providing US$60 billion toAfrica over the next five years.Over the weekend, 10 AU peacekeepers were killed in an attack on theirbase in the Darfur region of Sudan. The underfunded, under-equipped AUforce was to be absorbed into a larger, joint AU-UN force this month,and Merkel joined calls to overcome logistical and financial hurdlesand speed deployment."The UNAMID mission must come to action quickly and will hopefullylead to the desired success," she said, while emphasizing that "thecentral responsibility for peace, stability and security lies withinAfrica itself."She also used the speech to highlight the chaos in Somalia, where atleast four people were killed on Thursday in gunfire and grenadeattacks in the capital."The situation in Somalia is a catastrophe for the people there, whichcarries considerable dangers for the region and beyond," Merkel said,insisting that "a political solution must be found."Merkel's long-planned visit, which will also take her to South Africaand Liberia, will focus on development and trade, as well as humanrights, corruption and the fight against AIDS. She is also layingfoundations for an EU-AU summit to be held later this year, which shesays all African leaders will be invited to.Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said he would not attend thesummit because Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe was expected. Merkelsaid she would discuss the human rights problems in Zimbabwe with theSouth African government during her trip and be "very critical" duringthe summit."Protecting human rights is an elemental component of our programs tosupport peace, development and security. Protection of democracy andthe state of law are equally important, for their abuse threatenspeace and stability and prevents long-term development, " she told the AU."The crisis in Zimbabwe is an example of such abuse. We are deeplyconcerned about the developments there, about the bullying andthreats, about the silencing of the opposition and the destruction ofpoor areas and the unrelenting human rights abuses."Mugabe has been accused of abusing human rights record and presidingover the economic collapse of his country.Termini e condizioni d'uso

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