Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Britain 'alarmed', 'concerned' after deadly Ethiopian clashes

June 8, 2005 report via AFP:

A senior official at Britain's Foreign Office said Wednesday he was "alarmed" and "concerned" about reports of deadly clashes between police and protestors in Ethiopia and called for an urgent inquiry.

The comments by parliamentary under secretary of state, Lord David Triesman, came after hospital sources in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa said at least 22 people were killed and hundreds wounded as Ethiopian police fired on crowds during protests against alleged fraud in disputed elections last month.

"I have been alarmed to hear reports of loss of life and continuing unrest in Ethiopia and extend my deep sympathies to the victims and their families," Triesman said in a statement issued by the Foreign Office.

"I note with deep concern reports that the security force's reaction resulted in many of the deaths," he said.

"These incidents should urgently be investigated. Equally we note and regret the reported deaths of some members of the security forces."

The minister also reiterated a call to Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for restraint and urged all political parties to resolve the dispute over the election results to enable the democratic process to continue.

Ethiopia's opposition party accuses the ruling Ethiopian People's Democratic Front (EPRDF) of trying to steal the polls with ballot rigging and is trying to quash the certification of provisional results by the election board.

PMs Tony Blair and Meles Zenawi

Photo: Britain's Prime Minister Tony Blair, right, is greeted by Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, left, in Addis Ababa, Wednesday Oct. 6, 2004 where Blair attended the Commission For Africa meeting. (AP)



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