Rice to Addis Ababa
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, as part of recent heavy stream of American officials visiting Africa, is arriving Tuesday in Ethiopia’s capital of Addis Ababa for two days of meetings. Rice’s schedule will be tightly packed as she seeks to address a wide-range of ongoing and potential conflicts on the African continent. It appears that Rice, in meetings with a number of African officials, will have two main priorities.
1) Address the instability in the Great Lakes region, a geographic area that includes the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and Kenya. A variety of insurgent groups are operating in the loosely governed regions of the Congo. These include the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, a Hutu group fingered in the Rwandan genocide; the militia of rogue Congolese General Laurent Nkunda; and the Lord’s Resistance Army, operating against the Ugandan government.
2) Address the spiraling violence in Somalia. Rice is scheduled to meet with Somali President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed and Somalia’s newly installed Prime Minister Nur Hassan Hussein. The meetings on this front are to also touch on the Eritrea’s role in the conflict. Finally, Rice will meet with Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Meles Zenawi regarding tensions along the shared border with Eritrea.
In other news, on November 30, the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission (EEBC) dissolved itself. The commission outlined a border between the two countries in 2002, but no permanent agreement could be reached on the border’s status between the two countries as Ethiopia was opposed to the awarding of the town of Badme to Eritrea. The termination of the commission was deemed a potential flash point for war between Eritrea and Ethiopia as identified in the International Crisis Group’s report, “Ethiopia and Eritrea: Stopping the Slide to War,” of early last month.