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Ethiopia and China: Looking east
Meles Zenawi’s new best pal
THE release of Ethiopia’s best-known political prisoner, Birtukan Mideksa, seems to have been calculated to distract attention from a reshuffle of the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF). The prime minister, Meles Zenawi, has replaced several long-serving ministers with younger men. He now faces little opposition either inside or outside the party. Speaking in New York last month, Mr Meles said that Ms Mideksa had begged for a pardon after only a “few weeks” in prison. In fact, she has spent most of the past five years behind bars, on trumped-up charges. She was more or less abandoned by Western governments keen to curry favour with Mr Meles. As a final humiliation, the government forced Ms Mideksa, as a condition of her release, to apologise in writing for “deceiving the Ethiopian people”.
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