by Timothy Elphick ETHIOPIA could feed itself if fighting in the country's 30-year civil war finally comes to an end and an interim government with a national consensus is formed, the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) said this week.
Richard Miller, CAFOD's Africa projects officer, hoped that access to areas in Ethiopia which had been cut off by the war for years would now be possible. The relief agencies, including CAFOD's church partners on the ground, would no longer have to contend with a patchwork of militarised zones, he said.
Mr Miller said that the "southern line" set up by the Joint Relief Partnership (JRP) of Ethiopian churches to provide emergency relief supplies to the northern province of Tigray, was moving again. The route was closed by the fighting which forced former President Mengistu Haile Mariam to flee Ethiopia as rebel forces advanced on the capital Addis Ababa last week.
But Mr Miller said that the aid agencies had had to suspend their operations from the Red Sea port of Assab, which was taken by forces of the Eritrean People's Liberation Front (EPLF) this week.
The EPLF is now in control of virtually the whole of Eritrea, and is currently negotiating terms with the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF), an umbrella organisation of rebel groups which holds sway over most of the rest of the country, as to the possible future independence of Eritrea.