Ethiopia: AACC urges gov’t to compensate businesses for Eritrean port losses

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Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce (AACC) has demanded that the Ethiopian government compensate businessmen who lost their properties at Eritrean ports during the border war between Ethiopia and Eritrea.

The Hague based Eritrea-Ethiopia Claims Commission recently issued a verdict that saw the two countries being awarded compensations for damages incurred during the war. Ethiopia obtained US $10.5 million more than Eritrea.

The recently awarded compensation has led to renewed claims for the loss of property incurred by Ethiopian merchants. The claims were brought to the attention of the chamber, which is currently negotiating with the government to seek due compensation for the businessmen.

According to Eyesuswork Zafu, president of the Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce, the government’s efforts to retrieve the properties from the Eritrean government through the required legal channels could not yield the intended result.

“Ethiopia’s negotiations with the Eritrean government is one case; Ethiopia’s obligation, duty and responsibility to compensate its business people for what they have lost is also another case. I can only discuss the second aspect” said the president of the chamber.

The government of Ethiopia has a duty to protect the lives and properties of its citizens wherever it can, he added.

In 2005, the commission, reportedly, rejected Ethiopia’s claims about lost property, thereby refusing compensation. The government of Ethiopia, however, failed to make the information public.

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