According to reports from the Europe External Program with Africa (EEPA), Ethiopian President Abiy Ahmed traveled to Eritrea on February 10 for a quick visit to Isaias Afwerki. News of the trip has not been divulged, although various sources have confirmed that the trip did take place, despite the usual difficulty in verifying reliability and truthfulness.
The visit to Ethiopia by the UN Deputy Secretary General, Amina Mohammed, which began on February 5 with her presence at the 35th summit of the African Union and continued with a visit to the regional states of Amhara, Afar and Tigray, where she also met President Debretsion Gebremichael, ended on February 9.
Upon his departure from Addis Ababa, the Deputy Secretary General held a press conference in which she said she encouraged the federal government to “hold peace talks with all actors in the national crisis in order to end the ongoing atrocities.”
No significant military activity has been reported over the past week in the regional state of Tigray and Afar, although uncertainties persist about the actual position of TDF forces along the eastern borders with Afar after the intense military operations of the past weeks.
More unstable, on the contrary, seems to be the situation in the regional state of Oromia, where on February 8 the OLA has launched a new attack against the city of Gidami, in western Oromia, about 50 km from the border with South Sudan, previously under its control and recently recaptured by the forces of the federal army. According to local sources, as always difficult to verify, the attack launched by the OLA militias would have caused hundreds of victims among the civilian population.
According to Ethiopian sources, the attack perpetrated last week by OLA militias in the area of Guji was aimed at killing the president of the federal state of Oromia and his escort, while they were in transit neat Bule Hora. The attack would have caused the death of 3 soldiers of the escort of the president Shimalis Abdissa, and the wounding of 8 others, while the president would have remained unharmed.
News of a schism within the Ethiopian Orthodox Church came on February 7, when the top Orthodox clergy of the Tewahdo Church of Tigray announced their intention to establish an independent Orthodox Church in Tigray.
At the basis of the decision is the deep disagreement with the leadership of the clergy of the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, whose leadership has approved and supported the conflict in Tigray.
The announcement of the Tigray clergy has fueled an intense debate within the Orthodox Church of Ethiopia, where contradictory voices have followed one another regarding the actual extent of the schism. At first, rumors circulated of a desire to maintain a single Synod, while subsequent statements have definitively confirmed the desire to operate a deep and complete separation.
The economic crisis in Ethiopia and the prospect of new sanctions by the United States are causing concern.
While inflation has shown a modest improvement, reaching 34.5% in January 2022 (compared with 35.1% in January of the previous year), a report by the Standard Bank Group has raised the alarm about the debt values of five African countries, including Ethiopia.
According to the research director of the pan-African banking institution, Jibran Qureishi, Ghana, Kenya, Angola, Zambia and Ethiopia are today the countries most at risk in terms of their ability to repay their foreign debt, being considered by leading international financial operators and rating agencies as incapable of “restoring investor confidence”.
Pressure from US sanctions also contributes to concern over economic performance. On February 8, the bipartisan bill on stabilization, peace and democracy in Ethiopia was voted favorably by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, with a request to the U.S. government to impose new sanctions against anyone deemed responsible for hindering efforts to reach a truce in the country. A bill of equal scope is also under consideration by the Senate.
If the bill were to be passed, it would result in sanctions on U.S. aid programs to Ethiopia, the imposition of individual sanctions, and specific government efforts to oppose financial loans from international agencies to Ethiopia, especially those from the World Bank and International Monetary Fund.