Ethiopia worried about spread of Eritrea and Djibouti dispute

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Though countries of the Horn of Africa maintain a common desire to keep conflicts away from their neighbourhood, the latest clashes between Djiboutian and Eritrean forces over their shared border could spawn more bloodshed in the region, according to ‘Sub-Saharan Informer’ weekly.

Noting the ten-year border crisis between Eritrea and Ethiopia remained unsolved , the paper, this week, urged countries of the region to set up a mechanism that would enable them to settle any disagreement through dialogue.

“Unless we all stand together and opt for genuine political solutions, the region will continue to go through a vicious circle of conflict,” the weekly warned in its editorial, pointing out that conflicts have severe economic repercussions in the region.

Concerned about the timing of the dispute between Djibouti and Eritrea, the paper said it “could not be any worse, with reports of a severe famine occuring in the region, coupled with massive population shifts.”

“Conflict is not unique in this part of the world – the problem is that conflict seems to be the first choice of settling disputes,” added Sub-Saharan Informer.

In another issue this weekend, the paper focused on refugees and internally displaced persons in Africa. “Political turmoil is often the root cause of massive displacement.

“When parties opt for guns rather than dialogue, when fear is used to pressure others to see one’s point of view, we not only destroy villages but put in motion a chain of events that could have regional consequences,” the weekly observed.

The Ethiopian Herald had one of its daily leaders focused on the current food shortages in the country, echoing an appeal by the government to international humanitarian organisations to respond to the emergency.

Officially, the affected population has been put at 4.6 million by the Herald, which criticised reports that suggested a higher figure, saying “the attempt by some interests to exaggerate the number of people facing food shortage is an irresponsible conduct with selfish ends.”

The government estimated that 75,000 children under the age of five in drought-affected areas face severe acute malnutrition and require immediate therapeutic care to survive.

In another editorial, the paper wrote that despite the success registered in the economic sector, a great number of Ethiopian children are still in abysmal poverty.

Without mentioning food as among children’s rights, the paper asserted that full respect of child rights could be realised with an active involvement of the society at large, schools, the family and other stakeholders.

“It is only when we work in unison that our children, the hope of this country, could enjoy a better future,” the daily added.

Humanitarian reports by other papers have warned about the high vulnerability of children to nutritional shocks as they could easily succumb if they do not get enough food. Panapress .

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