Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe Invite Meles to Summit

April 1st, 2007

ETP — The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE), a Group within the European Parliament, has invited Prime Minister Meles Zenawi to attend its 2007 summit.

The summit which will be held in Dakar – Senegal from 1 to 3rd April, aims to strengthen liberal democratic values, according to ALDE.

Attendees list includes 12 African leaders, heads of state from the Pacific and Caribbean countries. The theme of the summit is Liberalism and Governance: the Social Liberal State.

EU Commissioner Louis Michel will attend the summit and is expected to give one of the opening speeches along with Graham Watson, President of the ALDE Group at the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, many within the Ethiopian community in Europe and elsewhere disapprove of ALDE’s decision to invite Prime Minister Meles to this summit.

In a letter to European human rights groups, the Ethiopian community in Europe is asking liberal MEP’s to distance themselves from the invitation extended to Ethiopia’s primer. (Read letter below)

After over 15 years in power, Prime Minister Meles presides over a country that still cannot feed its own people and is very much dependent on the U.N. World Food Program. Approximately half of the Ethiopian population lives on less than one U.S dollar a day, which is not enough to buy a single meal.

Since the parliamentary elections of 2005 human rights and press freedom have suffered significantly in Ethiopia.

Amnesty international has accused the government of Meles Zenawi of torture and extrajudicial killings. Journalists, renowned human rights activists and opposition party leaders are currently detained in the country’s notorious Kality prison.

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