Friday, March 03, 2006

Ethiopia: EU Commissioner calls for political dialogue

The Reporter (Addis Ababa) February 25, 2006 by A Staff Reporter via

The European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid, Louis Michel, underlined the need for quick and concrete confidence-building measures to help democracy in Ethiopia.

During his visit last week, the commissioner held talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and leaders of the opposition parties, including Hailu Shawel, Berhanu Nega and Bertukan Mideksa. He also had discussions with members of the civil society.

Meeting with the Prime Minister, Louis Michel welcomed the decision to grant him access to members of the opposition and journalists held in prison. "This is a positive sign, a sign of confidence, and I consider it a significant step in the direction of constructive political dialogue," he said.

The premier had assured the commissioner that international legal observers would be welcome at the trial of CUD leaders and others.

During his three-hour visit to the prison of Kaliti, the commissioner was able to meet with opposition leaders and Eskindir Nega, a journalist. He had exchanged views on the condition of their detention, the charges against them and the prospect for a breakthrough of the current political situation in the country.

The commissioner noted that the core of his mission to Addis Ababa was to help a re-launching of political dialogue among the major political parties and other pertinent stakeholders. He regretted that Meles was not willing to pursue political dialogue with the detained political prisoners. He, however, indicated that the opportunity for dialogue and to move on was not yet over.


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