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  • US admits helping Mengistu escape

    US admits helping Mengistu escape | 22 December, 1999

    The United States embassy in Zimbabwe has confirmed the US was involved in finding a safe haven for the former Ethiopian dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam.

    The embassy said in a statement that then Assistant Secretary of State Hank Cohen had been involved in negotiations which resulted in Mengistu coming to Harare in 1991.

    While the US recognises that Mengistu's military regime - the Dergue - was involved in crimes and atrocities, it argues that the leader's departure from Addis Ababa was necessary to end the civil war and bring peace to Ethiopia

    Up to 500 000 people were killed during Mengistu's so-called red terror, according to Amnesty International.

    Notoriously, soldiers of the Dergue would not release a victim's body for burial until the victim's family had paid back the cost of the bullet used in the killing.

    Thousands of members of the Dergue regime are currently in prison awaiting trial in Ethiopia.

    Deflecting criticism

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe first mentioned US involvement in Mengistu's escape to try to deflect criticism that Zimbabwe was harbouring a dictator who deserved to be judged for his crimes

    Mengistu is accommodated in a luxury mansion in Harare and some Zimbabweans are outraged that their taxes are being spent in this way.

    Mr Mugabe said with some pride that the Americans had offered financial assistance, but that this had not been necessary.

    The current Ethiopian Government is keen to have Mengistu arrested, and requested his extradition when he visited South Africa recently for medical treatment.

    South Africa said eventually that it would consider extradition, but Mengistu returned to Zimbabwe before procedures could begin.

    Mengistu said he had helped Southern African freedom fighters, and that this was one reason why he did not think South Africa's ANC government would send him back to Ethiopia.

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  • Telecom Deal by China's ZTE, Huawei in Ethiopia Faces Criticism - Wall Street Journal

     For Ethiopians, a Chinese Telecom Project Changes Lives but Draws Scrutiny  : By MATTHEW DALTON

    LAKE WENCHI, Ethiopia—In the green highlands here southwest of Addis Ababa, farmers like Darara Baysa are proud owners of cellphones that run on a network built by China's ZTE Corp.

    The trouble is, they have to walk several miles to get a good signal. "The network doesn't work well," says Mr. Baysa, a former army sergeant, stopping on the unpaved road near his home to show his hot-pink smartphone.

    Among other troubles: Ethiopian government officials have in recent years complained to ZTE that the company's contract for building the network requires Ethiopia to pay too much, say people familiar with the discussions.

    The Ethiopian network's glitches underline the broader troubles that sometimes face poorer nations as they borrow heavily to invest in telecommunications, roads, utilities and other infrastructure to help lift them out of poverty.

    China's financial firepower helps its firms win many of these contracts. But in agreeing to such deals, some governments appear to have flouted rules meant to foster sound public investment. When countries sidestep such rules, say experts at institutions such as the World Bank, big projects often cost more and are more likely to be poorly executed.

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  • Ethiopian Airlines to Acquire Boeing 777-200s

    Ethiopian Airlines to Acquire Boeing 777-200s

     Ethiopian Airlines is expanding its air cargo fleet with the acquisition of four new Boeing 777-200 LR Freighter aircraft. 

    The purchase will occur under a pre-delivery payment loan financing agreement with the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (PTA Bank). Delivery is scheduled to begin in fall 2014.  
    Ethiopian operates the largest cargo fleet in Africa, currently using six dedicated freighter aircraft to 24 destinations in Asia, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.  Tewolde Gebremariam, chief executive of Ethiopian Airlines, said the new aircraft will help support the carrier's newly established cargo hub in Lome, Togo with its partner airline ASKY Airlines.  
    "We are phasing in the latest technology cargo aircraft with the aim of supporting Ethiopia's exports and the booming trade between Africa and the rest of the world. The B777-200 LR Freighters have proven capabilities that are ideal for the transport of perishables," said Gebremariam.

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  • Ethiopia's Gilgel Gibe III Near Completion - to Go Operational in September 2014

    Ethiopia's Gilgel Gibe III Near Completion - to Go Operational in September 2014

    One of the biggest power generating projects in Ethiopia, the Gilgel Gibe III, is expected to go fully operational on September 2014.

    Alemayehu Tegenu, Ethiopia's Minister of Water, Irrigation and Energy said that so far 80% of construction work has been completed.

    One of the power projects planned to be commissioned within the GTP period, the Gilgel Gibe III will add 1,870 MW electric power to the national grid upon its completion in September.

    The Minister also said that concurrent projects like the Genale Dam and the Adama II wind farm are progressing satisfactorily. Projects such as the Gilgel Gibe III project are expected to go a long way in providing energy for the domestic market, the demand of which has been expanding rapidly owing to the extensive infrastructure construction and increasing base of industry.

    However, power projects currently under construction are also expected to service the regional energy market. Ethiopia has already begun exporting electricity to Djibouti and Sudan and has started installing power transmission lines to Kenya.

    The energy policy of Ethiopia pictures development of energy sources that would be an instrument in enhancing co-operation and regional integration. Ethiopia's ambitious plan of generating 10,000 MW of energy within the GTP period was crafted, accordingly, with plans to provide energy to neighboring countries.

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