Tag Archives: France

Ethiopia to Procure Long Range Missiles, Fighter Jets from France

Le Point newspaper obtained Ethiopian Prime Minister's shopping list of arms from France
French weekly magazine Le Point obtained the long shopping list of Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed that was sent to President Emmanuel Marcon: Rafales, helicopters and nuclear [capable] missiles.
BY LAVRILLEUX ARIANE | LE POINT INTERNATIONAL *

Two months before he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize , the Prime Minister of Ethiopia sent a letter to “His Excellency” President Emmanuel Macron . On July 22, 2019, Abiy Ahmed asked France to help “strengthen the Ethiopian Air Force” by providing, on credit, a sophisticated arsenal detailed on three pages.

This list includes: 12 fighter jets (including Rafale and Mirage 2000), 18 helicopters and 2 military transport aircraft manufactured by Airbus, 10 Dassault drones, electronic jamming systems and, even more surprisingly, thirty M51 missiles with a range of more than 6,000 kilometres … and nuclear warheads! An extravagant (and illegal) request knowing that both France and Ethiopia have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.



For the rest, France has, of course, endorsed a new defence partnership in March 2019, but no one expected such a military appetite and formalised so quickly from one of the poorest countries on the planet. If we refer to the selling prices of previous similar contracts, the bill could exceed 4 billion euros**.

Visiting Addis Ababa last spring, Emmanuel Macron’s objective was to develop the trade, currently dominated by China, and to develop naval forces (which disappeared after Eritrea became independent), writes Le Point journalist Patrick Forestier.

“This cooperation with France is not short-term, it is strategic, it is old and it can go far beyond the naval forces,” Abiy Ahmed said at the time. It’s all “beyond” that.

If the former soldier-turned-prime minister dreams of the same missiles as those of The French nuclear submarines, his country has not had access to the Red Sea since 1993. As his shopping list suggests, his first priority is to restore the coat of arms of his air force, out of breath and “90 years old”.

East Africa leader…

Internationally, Abiy’s leadership impresses. One year after the peace agreement with the 60-year-old Eritrean foe, the Prime Minister has established himself as a mediator in Sudan to facilitate the ongoing democratic transition. But not everyone in the region is happy with this geopolitical renaissance.



Egypt, in particular, is concerned about Ethiopia’s stubbornness to fill its future dam (“Renaissance”) as soon as possible, regardless of the dramatic consequences on the flow of the Nile irrigating 90% of the Egyptian fields.

In the midst of a diplomatic crisis, the Ethiopian Prime Minister said last October: “If we are to go to war, we can mobilise millions of people to defend the dam.”

Since the intervention of a U.S. mediation in early November, tensions have dropped back to a notch, but the dispute is far from resolved.

Officially, France refuses to get involved in this thorny issue, especially as it has forged a strategic partnership with Egypt Al-Sisi, a major buyer of French arms since 2014. But Rafale with the Ethiopian flag could sift through this Franco-Egyptian relationship.



“The Egyptians would take it badly, because we are more than in competition with the Ethiopians, who have done everything to block the diplomatic route,” said Tewfik Aclimandos, a professor at Cairo University and a keen expert on the Egyptian General Staff.

In modernising its aviation, “Ethiopia wants to reaffirm its status as a regional power, vis-à-vis its more sceptical neighbours, such as Kenya and Egypt, or Somalia,” says Sabine Planel Research Institute for Development (IRD).

According to this expert, however, these military ambitions are not contradictory to its image as a regional stabiliser, since, “by equipping itself with a military arsenal, Ethiopia is strengthening its credibility in the region as a local guardian of peace and presents itself as a bulwark against the jihadist movements present in the Horn of Africa”.

On the brink of internal implosion …

Ethiopian soldiers are already participating in several peacekeeping missions; in Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan. In areas where international organisations increasingly tend to delegate their interventions to local actors, Ethiopia intends to “adapt its army to future operations and to a regional deterrent force driving joint interventions under the United Nations,” says a defense analyst from the region who wishes to remain anonymous and assures that Ethiopia has also turned to the United States, Russia and Italy to strengthen its arsenal.



This role of regional gendarme contrasts with his inability to manage his own internal tensions. Last November, 86 people were killed in demonstrations at the call of a political opponent.

“Ethiopia is on the brink of internal implosion. A more comprehensive restructuring of the military sector (assuming that men would follow arms, and even that would be financed from other budgets) would no doubt favor an authoritarian and violent resolution of the current crisis. Any strengthening of this sector in a crisis situation must be watched with great attention,” warns Sabine Planel.

In debt, does Ethiopia afford it?

Beyond political considerations, could Ethiopia repay the French State? In the letter sent to Emmanuel Macron, the Prime Minister himself recognizes his “glaring lack of foreign currency” and seeks a loan to “be delivered in a short period of time.”

>> MUST READ : Ethiopia’s Macroeconomic Imbalances Evolving into Critical Crises

The Elysée Palace communication department assured Le Point that “the agreement signed last March paves the way for sectoral cooperation in the field of the navy and the air force”, but that France “is not at this level of discussion”.



With a public debt of 61%, according to the World Bank, this country of 110 million people is already accumulating foreign loans. Between 2006 and 2015, China lent it $13 billion in exchange for licensing investment projects .

In June 2018, the Ethiopian central bank received $1 billion from the United Arab Emirates, which is said to have allegedly played a role in the rapprochement with Eritrea, where their naval base is located.

Another $2 billion Emirati dollars will also finance investments in Ethiopia, seen by Abu Dhabi’s crown prince, Mohammed Ben Zayed, as a pivot of his policy of expansion and influence in Africa.



*Software translation from French

**Egypt bought 24 Rafale for about 90 million euros each. According to La Tribune, Ukraine has ordered H-225 Super Puma helicopters around 15 million euros each, 5 million for the H125M and 11 million for the H145M; India bought the Airbus C295 for around 28 million euros. Dassault Neuron drones have not yet been exported, but its program has cost 406 million euros.

France to Help Landlocked Ethiopia Build Navy

The loss of French influence in Africa is not only attributable to China but its arrogance too. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, Pool)

BY REUTERS

Ethiopia and France agreed their first military cooperation accord on Tuesday, a deal that includes helping the landlocked nation build a navy, as Paris seeks to boost economic ties in Africa’s second-most populous country.
Continue reading France to Help Landlocked Ethiopia Build Navy

President Isaias Receives Credentials of Six Ambassadors

They are Ambassadors from (L-R) the UK, Qatar, Yemen, Italy, Israel, and France.

By Shabait,

President Isaias Afwerki today received the credentials of six Ambassadors. The Ambassadors were Ian Richards of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland, Jabir Ali Salim Al-azba of the State of Qatar, Abdalla Ali Muqbil Al-Seri of the Republic of Yemen, Stefano Moscatelli of the Republic of Italy, Gadi Harpaz of the State of Israel and Francois Goldblatt of France. Continue reading President Isaias Receives Credentials of Six Ambassadors

Eritrea Appoints New Ambassador to France

(Archive Photo): Ambassador Hana Simon presenting credentials to President of the European Commission Romano Prodi, in 2000. This is her second tour of duty as Eritrean ambassador to Paris

By Shabait,

AMBASSADOR Hana Simon, in her second tour of duty, has presented her credentials to President François Hollande of France.

In the course of the presentation ceremony, the Eritrean Ambassador conveyed President Isaias Afwerki’s message of goodwill, and pointed out that Eritrea has good understanding as regards the role France is playing towards ensuring stability in the Horn region.  Continue reading Eritrea Appoints New Ambassador to France

AU Wants all Members Demarcate their Borders by 2017

Ambassador of France to the AU, Brigitte Collet, handing over copies of 45 African border Agreements

By CCTV,

The French government on 29th November 2013 handed over the true and complete copies of 45 Agreements relating to African borders to the African Union Commission.

The maps and plans are a collection of documents signed by France between 1845 and 1956.

It is hoped that this move could resolve some of the continent’s border disagreements between countries.

Africa has 80,000 km of borders, but only 30 per cent are precisely demarcated and this has been a source of disagreement among many countries on the continent, including Tanzania – Malawi, Ethiopia – Eritrea among others. Continue reading AU Wants all Members Demarcate their Borders by 2017

Eleven New Ambassadors Accredited to Eritrea

New UN Ambassador to Eritrea, Ms. Christine Imutoni

By Shabait,

President of Eritrea, Isaias Afwerki, received credentials of 11 Ambassadors accredited to Eritrea.

At a special ceremony held at the State House in Asmara, Ambassadors from the UK, China, Republic of South Sudan, Germany, France, Denmark, Switzerland, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Australia and the UN submitted their respective credentials.  Continue reading Eleven New Ambassadors Accredited to Eritrea