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Ethiopia PM Rejects US Criticism, Calls Ties with Washington 'Solid'
Peter Heinlein | Addis Ababa
Meles takes particular exception to a U.S. diplomat's comments about Ethiopia's ethnic policies
Ethiopia's Prime Minister Meles Zenawi over the weekend rejected U.S. criticism of several of his government's policies and laws, but described the country's relationship with Washington as "solid." Mr. Meles took particular exception to a U.S. diplomat's comments about Ethiopia's ethnic policies.
The Ethiopian leader reacted sharply to comments made by U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva Douglas Griffiths.
Speaking at a council meeting last week, Ambassador Griffiths questioned Ethiopia's contention that there is a fair representation of nationalities in government institutions. He said independent observers note that most senior government positions are represented by one ethnicity.
The dominant role of ethnic Tigrayans in the government, especially in the military, has often been a contentious political issue in Ethiopia. Tigrayans make up about six percent of the population.
But Prime Minister Meles flatly rejected Ambassador Griffiths' assertions. "I have not heard of such idiocy. But if it has occurred, it proves the idiocy of the person in Geneva," he said.
Speaking to reporters before traveling to the climate conference in Copenhagen, Mr. Meles also dismissed a U.S. critique of Ethiopia's restrictions on human rights and press freedom.
The U.S. embassy in Addis Ababa last week took the unusual step of urging Ethiopia to review a recently passed law restricting the activities of non-governmental organizations receiving foreign funding. The law goes into effect next month.
The Center for International Human Rights at Chicago's Northwestern University issued a report last month saying the measure effectively silences human rights defenders and advocates of democratic governance. The center described the Charities and Societies Proclamation, or CSO, as "the most restrictive of its kind in sub-Saharan Africa" and compared it to similarly repressive laws in Zimbabwe and Russia.
But Prime Minister Meles defended the measure, saying it is in line with democratic norms. "There is no possibility of us changing the CSO law because we believe it is a perfectly legitimate law and consistent, if not with the theory, consistent with the practice in the advanced democracies," he said.
The Ethiopian leader also rejected U.S. concerns about the closure of a newspaper that had criticized government policies. The U.S. embassy said the closure of the Addis Neger newspaper and charges against other private journalists and publishers might contribute to a perception that space for independent media in Ethiopia is constrained.
The media rights group Reporters Without Borders said the decision of Addis Neger's editors to close the paper and flee the country was evidence of a climate of fear.
Mr. Meles said such criticisms are not based on facts. "We don't take this institution seriously. Because they have proven to us over again, they take any allegation against the government as the last word in the Bible and they do not try to verify the facts," he said.
At the same time, Prime Minister Meles scoffed at reports that suggest Ethiopia's relationship with the United States is strained. He called bilateral ties "mature." "It was never off track. People assumed it was off track because of some idiot comment made by this or that particular person in this or that particular place. But the relationship is quite solid, has always been based on things other than passing emotions," he said.
Mr. Meles said he had not seen the U.S. embassy statement or the comments by the U.S. representative at the U.N. Human Rights Council. But he said, "I respect the rights of the United States to express its opinion on any matter under the sun, or if they want to, even on any matter over the sun."
Minority ethnic domination of the military in Ethiopia
oh, The most thing i like about this smart leader is that..his sppech, i always proud of what he speaks about..
Yehe When is he accepting his mistakes ? Please donot say anything about Bible, you donot qualify to say anything from the Holy Bible.
This ugly weyane/Shabia is sounding more like Mengistu by the day. Once you start calling US officials ‘idiots’, then your days are numbered. This Dedebit cadre thinks he is smart because he is surrounded by idiot weyane/shabias who have not graduated even high school
long live MELES. stop ur hate proganda to prepare ethiopia for genociadle strife. The africans should unit against this kind of propogand.
ohhhh the arrogance. astounding. i seriously cant believe this guy at times. rather than answer the allegations he calls a random person, he apparently doesn’t know, an idiot. man alebeh!
Meles is showing his stupidity for his people with ugly words..
What a ain awta?
Meles is a dictator and as all dictators do, he denies everything.
No one expects this man to admit to what he done. If he does he will be handing over his power and just because he is not as bad as IsayASS or Mugabe, it does not excuse him from eliminating his opposition. Included are the free media, such as the Addis NEGER/many who were shut down along the way and the REPORTER whose leader was beatup, taken to Gondar, threatned and held without charge for days. Its such a freak show over there.
Frankly, he, meles, is one fkd up illusive SOB who deserves to be shot on the spot.
What do comminst’s know about the Bibel?.
It shame that A leader of a country
dose not want to be defeted by an opossition and stay out of the game.
I think they do think they are God
gave the country Leaders,what a shame….
Since all or most of African regimes can not survive without the generous handout provided to them by Western countries, it would be stupid for anyone of them to bite the feeding hand.
And certainly Meles can not afford to anger the American authority particularly this time that millions of Ethiopians are in dire need of the life-saving Western grain. For Meles, it is yet again that usual degrading time of holding wide the begging bowl.
Meles must be confused and have mistaken the American diplomats with his shell-shocked Ethiopian people who, without consequence, he humiliates day in day out.
For the sake of the needy Ethiopians he should quickly swallow his pride, as beggars have no pride, and retract his stupid undiplomatic staements or else millions will go hungry and his downfall will come sooner than he thought.
By addressing the American diplomats the way he did, he must be feeling the heat.
He must have uttered such things out of desperation. But then messing with the sole superpower is far from child’s play.
You’re an Idiot!
Anyways, enjoy your power dreams….
Yes Ethio-American relationship is “solid” and as hard as a diamond, it can cut through any traitor diaspora propoganda.
i would like to remember you that all those YEKIBIR ZEBEGNOCH were not from Oxford, but 90% of them were simply YE’SULILTA AHIYA NEGNI! I am not trying to defend MALELIT/SHABIYA, but you shoudn’t forget Carter was supporting every thing around DEDEBIT, even though he knew about that 6% thing and that all of those SHIRE HAMBASHA BOYS are not also from OXFORD.
ADDISU YE’AMERICA Ambassador Griffiths BE’ETHIOPIAWYAN AYN LAY YEMIBETNEWIN ABUARA QAL-BEQAL ATQEBELEW !!
AMERICAN WUST DEGMO ‘idiots’ ENDEMAYTEFU MISIKRACHIN YEHEW N.COM DC ALELIN !!
Ande le-enatu, Tokichaw: say it loud I am Wayane-Ethiopian and I am proud.
the end of ethiopia is war like burundi if you dont stop and ignore timkihit if meles gone that country will be crashed no more ethiopia wait guys
Let me prove you wrong Mr. Zenawi:
Chief of Staff, General, Samora Yunus, Tigre
Training Department, Lt. General Tadesse Worede, Tigre
Logistics Department, Lt. General Geazi Abera, Tigre
Military Intelligence Department, Brg. General Gebredela, Tigre
Operations Department, Lt. General Gebre Egziabiher, Tigre
Engineering Department, Lt. General Berhane Negash, Tigre
Air force, Brg. General Mola Haile Mariam, Tigre
Heads of the four commands
Central Command, Lt. General AbebawTadesse, Agew
Northern Command, Lt. General Seare Mekonnen, Tigre
South Eastern Command, Maj. General Abraha W. Gabriel, Tigre
Western Command, Brg. General Siyoum Hagos, Tigre
31st Division Commander, Colonel Tsegaye Marx, Tigre
33rd Division Commander, Colonel Kidane, Tigre
35th Division Commander, Colonel Misganaw Alemu, Agew
24th Division Commander, Colonel Work Aieynu, Tigre
22nd Division Commander, Colonel Dikul, Tigre
14th Division Commander, Colonel Woedi Antieru, Tigre
21st Divison Commander, Colonel Gueshi Gebre, Tigre
11th Division Commander, Colonel Workidu, Tigre
25th Division Commander, Colonel Tesfai Sahel, Tigre
20th Division Commander, Colonel, Teklai Klashin, Tigre
8th Mechanized Division, Colonel Jemal Mohamed, Tigre
4th Mechanized Division, Colonel Hintsaw Giorgis, Tigre
19th Division Commander, Colonel Wodi Guae, Tigre
44th Division Commander, Colonel Zewdu Teferra, Agew
13th Division Commander, Colonel Sherifo, Tigre
12th Division Commander, Colonel Mulugeta Abraha, Tigre
32nd Division Commander, Colonel Abraha Teslim, Tigre
6th Mech. Div. Commander , Colonel Gebre Medhin Fekad, Tigre
23rd Division, Commander, Colonel Wold Beilalom, Tigre
43rd Division Commander, Colonel Wodi Abate, Tigre
26th Division Commander, Colonel Mebratu, Tigre
7th Mech. Div. Commander, Colonel Gebre Gebre Mariam, Tigre
Defense Ministry Departments and other specialized Units
Agazi Commando Div., Commander, Brg. General Muhamed Aisha, Tigre
Addis Ababa Security Division, Colonel Zenebe Amare, Tigre
Palace Security Force, Commander, Colonel Geresenay, Tigre
Banks’ Security Force, Commander, Colonel Hawaz Woldu, Tigre
Engineering College, Commander, Colonel Halefom Ejigou, Tigre
Heath Science College, Commander, Colonel Tesfaye Giday, Tigre
Mulugeta Buli Technical College Commander, Colonel Meleya Amare, Tigre
Resource Management College Commander, Colonel Letayi Tigre
Staff & Command College, Commander, Brg General Tesfaye Giday Tigre
Bilate Training Center, Commander, Colonel Salih Berihu, Tigre
Hurso Training Center, Commander, Colonel Negash Hiluf, Tigre
Awash Arba Training Center, Commander, Colonel Muze, Tigre
Bir Shelko Training Center, Commander, Colonel Negasi Shekortet, Tigre
Head of Admin., the Ministry of Defense, Brg.Gen. Mehari Zewde, Tigre
Dejen Defense Aviation, Head, Brg General Kinfe Dagenew, Tigre
Defense Ministry, Head of Research, Brg. Gen. Halfom Chento, Tigre
Defense Ministry, Head of Legal Affairs, Colonel Askale, Tigre
Head of the Office of the Chief of Staff, Colonel Tsehaye Manjus, Tigre
Head of Indoctrinated Centre , Brg. General Akele Asaye, Amhara
Head of Communication, Colonel Sibhat, Tigre
Head of External Affairs, Colonel Hasene, Tigre
Head, Special Forces coordinating Center, Brg. Gen Fiseha Manjus, Tigre
Head of operations Department, Colonel Wodi Tewik, Tigre
Planning and Program Department Head, Colonel Teklai Ashebir, Tigre
Defense Industry Coordinating Head, Colonel Wodi Negash, Tigre
Head of Finance in the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Zewdu, Tigre
Head of Purchasing in the Ministry of Defense, Colonel Gidey, Tigre
Head of Budget Department, Ato Brehane Tigre
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