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Sudan Tribune

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Ethiopia to send 38,000 workers to Lebanon

April 17, 2006 (ADDIS ABABA) — Residents of Beirut staged a demonstration in front of the Ethiopian consular offices on Thursday 13 April to protest over the delayed arrival of Ethiopian workers who were supposed to be in the country in accordance with an agreement recently reached between the Lebanese and Ethiopian governments.

The Ethiopian and Lebanese governments agreed on 1 February 2006 for the export of Ethiopian workers to Beirut, Lebanon. According to the agreement, 8,000 Ethiopian men and 30,000 women will be exported to Beirut. About eight agencies have been set up and each of them has deposited 37,000 dollars in Beirut and 25,000 dollars in Ethiopia to effect the accord.

The Addis Ababa based the Reporter in its Amharic edition said that four organizations have been established in Ethiopia to legally link employees to employers.

Although 1,250 workers were supposed to be exported to Beirut in February and March in line with the agreement, the Ethiopian Ministry of Workers and Social Affairs has delayed the process saying it would take care to avoid similar problems that occurred in the past.

Sources confirm that the agencies in Beirut complained over the delay after they had collected money from employers and deposited huge money hoping that the worker would arrive in time. Residents also staged a demonstration in front of the Ethiopian consular offices in Beirut and were dispersed by security forces.

According to the agreement reached between the two countries, the Ethiopian male workers would be employed in construction, guarding and driving; replacing Koreans who are leaving Beirut.

Following the agreement signed in February 2006, Lebanon has lifted a ban it imposed on Ethiopian workers on 1 July 2004 not to enter the country.

(The Reporter/ST)

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