Cutting ties with democratic states is ruinous – Robele Ababya
This piece is written to challenge the outrageous response by the TPLF’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the statement dated 25 May 2010 made by Mr. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, on the fourth national elections in Ethiopia. (more…)
This piece is written to challenge the outrageous response by the TPLF’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs to the statement dated 25 May 2010 made by Mr. Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada, on the fourth national elections in Ethiopia. The response is appalling to say the least, but not surprising coming as it did from a government of thugs, created by thugs, for thugs.
The heinous crimes of the ruling regime including genocide, war crimes and incarceration of tens of thousands of protesters against stolen votes in broad daylight is a matter of irrefutable record that require no further elaboration, except underlining that all the four elections alluded to in the Ministry’s statement were farce designed to deceive generous donors. The sellout of everything vital to the national interests of Ethiopia has now turned into vilifying democratic countries to alienate Ethiopia from valuable friends.
The pathological lies and deceptions are too much for Sweden and Canada. Their open criticism is unbearable to the kleptocratic regime of Meles to the extent that severance of normal diplomatic relations with the two governments of these truly friendly countries for several decades has occurred or is being seriously considered.
Both Sweden and Canada are paragons of democracy and champions of human rights outside the realm of rampant breach of the constitution, gruesome criminal records of the ruling regime; violation of human rights, robbery of votes; and riding roughshod on civil liberties all of which are unthinkable in these two countries. The Ministry is aware that there are no prisoners of conscience in both countries and therefore elections are not won even with a single political dissident in prisoner; it knows it too, but alas anyone that does not agree with the results of the stolen elections is taken as a deadly enemy of the illegitimate government. And that is why no stone is left unturned to alienate Ethiopia from her true friends!
The Ethiopia-Sweden relations with Ethiopia dates back to 1866 with the arrival of the first Swedish missionaries arrived. The premises of the Embassy is found in Addis Ababa was as handed over in 1946 as a gift from the Ethiopian Government.
Ethiopia was also the first country that received development aid from Sweden, starting as early as 1954. The Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA) , the Military Academy at Holeta, the Abadina Police College initially situated in Addis Ababa, the Imperial Body Guard Cadet Training Center in Addis Ababa, the Swedish School in Addis Ababa, the Imperial Ethiopia Air Force at Debre Zeit are shining examples of institutions established under technical co-operation with Sweden.
The Commander and pilot instructor of the IEAF from 1945 to 1956 was the renowned Swedish aviation pioneer, Count Carl Gustaf Ericsson von Rosen – known to me and many of my peers as was Professor Sven Rubinson.
Ethiopia-Sweden relations in times of our dire need is further underscored by the relief flying missions under Count Gustaff Von Rosen during the Fascist invasion characterized by its inhumanity including the use of poison gas indiscriminately sprayed from the air on our freedom-fighters as well as on unarmed innocent civilians. Outstanding Swedes like Professor Sven Rubinson and Count Von Rosen stood for the territorial integrity and independence of Ethiopia, the latter sacrificing his life in his beloved Ethiopia, Gode, on 13 July 1977 by the invading forces of Somalia under Siade Barre. Hundreds of Swedish officers, men in uniform, engineers and highly skilled technicians trained members of Ethiopian defense forces that, in addition to defending their motherland, also bravely fought in various peace keeping missions in Korea and Africa.
Ethiopia Canada relations
Canada–Ethiopia relations established diplomatic relations in 1956. Canada opened an embassy in Addis Ababa in 1957; Ethiopia opened an embassy in Ottawa 1962, which she had to close the next year due to financial constraints; it was re-opened in 1989.
Ethiopia was one of 18 countries, which the Canadian government announced would be preferred in receiving foreign aid in 2009, down from 25 previous years. Canada is a significant donor of foreign aid to Ethiopia. Canada’s official development assistance in 2007 to Ethiopia totaled US$90.52 million, making it fourth in bilateral donors.
During the Imperial regime the Directors and teachers in Tefferi Mekonnen School were Canadians. Monsieur Lucien Matt was close advisor to the Emperor on education. He was founder/President of the Addis Ababa University College – the first of its kind in Ethiopia.
There is a lot to learn from Canada and Sweden; for instance look at their enviable achievements of the last decade on the Human Development Index (HDI). The most recent HDI rankings for: Canada is #4, Sweden #7, and #171 for Ethiopia out of 182 countries – which confirm that that only a free democratic society can avert the kind of the scourge of abject poverty afflicting nine(9) out of ten(10) of the Ethiopian people according to the recent UN-sponsored study carried out by Oxford University.
In a nutshell, it is dead wrong not to emulate the examples of Canada and Sweden; it is unwise to forgo their development aids; any attempt to cut ties with democratic states for cheap political gains would be ruinous in general. The disgraceful fall of the Derg is a good example in that regard.
Rude attack on the Canadian Minister
Three cardinal points followed by my comments on the Ministry’s draconian attack on the Canadian Foreign Minister are given below:
1. Blatant interference in the internal affairs of the sovereign country, Ethiopia:
Comment: You and your Ministry lack moral authority to speak of sovereignty of Ethiopia. In particular, Minister Seyoum, as a rebel fought tooth-and-nail to dismember the country and deny her natural right of access to the Red Sea frontier that is essential for national security and as economic lifeline. He worked hand in glove with Meles writing to the UN to endorse the sham Eritrean referendum. His boss made a congratulatory speech at Saba Stadium in the Eritrean capital, Asmara. Both lack moral authority to speak of Ethiopia’s sovereignty which they betrayed as soon as TPLF regime came to power.
2. The Canadian Minister actually attempted to influence the election in Ethiopia characterized by huge a large turnout of voters in a peaceful and calm atmosphere signifying the respect of the Ethiopia people for the democratic process.
Comment: This is a shameless partial quoting of Mr. Berman’s (Chief Observer European Union Election Observation Mission to Ethiopia) report the Ministry deliberately left out the vital and overriding part of the report to the effect that: the election fell below international standards; there was no level playing field; the ruling party used state resources in its favor during the election process; and that there were intimidation of opposition candidates and supporters. More importantly, it is public knowledge that the ruling party and the ruling regime counted the votes in concert. Minister Seyoum, you are aware that Meles has dismissed Mr. Berman’s report as irrelevant. So why use it to vilify the Canadian Minister at this time?
3. Offering an excuse to the most hard-line parties in Ethiopia, implication for regional peace:
Comment: (a) First of all, the instability in the Horn of Africa region was initiated and exacerbated by proxy war between Meles and Isaias Afeworqi. The uncalled for invasion of Somalia by agazi forces worsened the situation culminating in the loss of thousands of lives and dislocation of millions of Somalis now living in misery in refugee camps. Furthermore, critical issues such as secretly ceding a large chunk of fertile farmland shall only accelerate the deterioration of regional stability. All in all, Ministry has tarnished the image of Ethiopia globally and worsened any prospect of normal relations with Somalis due to the invasion of their country and giving incentive to extremists in their dream of Greater Somalia.
(b) Who are the “the most hard-line parties in Ethiopia” that the Ministry is referring to? Is this a threat that the leaders of these parties will be incarcerated? Why is the ruling party that has claimed 99.6% ‘victory’ so accusative of the hardliners?
The sham new parliament has opened on 04/10/10. The industrialized democratic world will not endorse the embarrassing 99.6% ‘win’ of the TPLF party. The unprecedented grand stealing of the election for the second time shall be indelibly recorded in history books. And the ruling repressive regime will be remembered in the annals of history for trading in the good names of the valiant people of Tigray.
In closing, I urge Minister Seyoum to apologize: to the Ethiopian people for betraying their best interests in international relations; for the ill-conceived design of his Ministry and government to alienate Ethiopia from her trustworthy friends in times of need, to wit: Sweden and Canada; for the irrational attack on Minister Lawrence Cannon; for cutting out the vital part of the interim report made public by Mr. Berman, which is bizarre given that Meles has already rejected even the final version in advance.
Meles is responsible for everything that went wrong for Ethiopia under his misrule. It should be reiterated again and again that his ruling regime has lost all moral authority and credibility to speak for the sovereignty of Ethiopia, for the regime has played the role of an invader from day one of its capture of Addis Ababa.
LONG LIVE ETHIOPIA!!!
Free Birtukan Mideksa & all political prisoners in Ethiopia!