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In an unprecedented move, a government agency has ordered the shutting down of two soft drink bottling plants and ordered the recall of the products.
The Ministry of Trade has shutdown the MOHA Soft Drinks plant in Hawassa and the East Africa Bottling plant in Dire Dawa over substandard qualities. The companies are known for their flagship products, Pepsi and Coca Cola, respectively.
Sources from the Ministry of Trade confirmed the closure. However they declined to comment on the current status of the investigations.
The plant in Hawassa, called the Hawassa Millennium Pepsi Cola plant was opened in 2007 and employs over 500 people.
“We have been informed of the process but it is too early to comment,” Tekie Berhan, communication director Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise told Fortune.
The office is responsible for conducting inspections on the two factories regarding the quality of the products.
In a letter written by the enterprise regarding MOHA’s products, the reason behind the closure was revealed as the substandard quality of the soft drinks processed by the plant.
The letter reads that samples taken on October 17, 2016 from the plants from Hawassa failed to fulfil PH Standards set by Ethiopian Standard Agency. In general, the allegation states that MOHA failed to meet the compulsory standards in soft drinks that were approved by the Agency in 2013.
The test results of Pepsi soft drinks manufactured in the Hawassa plant show that it failed the PH limit standards. The requirements state that PH values for soft drinks (aside from citrus juices) have to be 2.5. Pepsi’s samples showed 2.43.
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The Ethiopian foreign minister did say, however, that his government is positively cooperating with Egyptian counterparts to maintain friendly relations
Ethiopian foreign minister Workenh Gebeyehu said in an interview published on Monday on the Saudi Arabian Middle East news website that his government is positively cooperating with Egyptian counterparts to maintain friendly relations, though it awaits an official response from Egypt to a request by Ethiopia that Cairo stop the activity of Ethiopian opposition groups within Egypt.
"We informed our Egyptian friends about the activities of some hostile groups that are working against the Ethiopian government in Cairo, and we requested that Egypt stop the activities of these hostile groups", Gebeyehu stated.
Ethiopian PM Hailemariam Desalegn said on Thursday in an interview with the Qatari Al-Jazeera news channel that his country demanded that the Egyptian government take clear action against "terrorist organisations" that are receiving support from "some Egyptian bodies" in Cairo.
In October, Ethiopia's communication minister Getachew Reda accused Egypt of financing and training "armed groups" operating in Ethiopia.
Reda's claims came amid demonstrations against an Ethiopian government plan to expand the boundaries of the capital Addis Ababa into the territory of the Oromo ethnic group.
Egypt's foreign ministry said at the time that Cairo completely respects Ethiopian sovereignty and non-interference in the country's internal affairs.
Ethiopian Right groups say that 500 civilians were killed during the demonstrations, with the Ethiopian government declaring a six-month state of emergency.
In 2015, Egypt dismissed Ethiopian President Mulatu Teshome's accusations that Egyptian “elements” are supporting armed opposition groups in his country with the aim of preventing Ethiopia from building the Ethiopian Grand Renaissance Dam, which Cairo fears could reduce its share of Nile water.
In March 2015, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan signed a trilateral declaration of principles that guarantees that all parties will take steps to ensure the dam will not harm the interests of all parties concerned.
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