Friday, 20 November 2009

U.S. official gives lips service on repression in Ethiopia

US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of African Affairs Karl Wyckoff and Woyanne Foreign Affairs Minister Seyoum Mesfin held talks on Thursday in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa.

On Friday, in a meeting with reporters, Mr Wyckoff expressed concerns about the restrictions on opposition parties in Ethiopia ahead of elections next year, which is scheduled to be held on May 23, 2010.

"The US is concerned by what we see as reduction in political space and the ability of opposition parties to operate and do what opposition parties should do," Karl Wyckoff, who arrived is in Ethiopia for an official visit, told reporters.

The Forum for Democratic Dialogue in Ethiopia (FDD, or Medrek in Amharic) has also accused Meles Zenawi's regime of arresting its members and supporters in a bid to discourage its following ahead of the polls, a charge the government has repeatedly denied. (Sources include AFP, Reuters)

The following is how the ruling party Woyanned-owned WIC reported Wyckoff's visit:

Addis Ababa (WIC) Minister Seyoum Mesfin held talks with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Bureau of African Affairs, Karl Wyckoff here on Thursday.

The two officials discussed ways of enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries, according to Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

They also exchanged views on the efforts being made by the government of Ethiopia to ensure peace in the Horn of Africa particularly in Somalia.

Speaking on the occasion, Seyoum said America and others need to extend the necessary support to the Somali Federal Transitional Government.

He also informed the US official that Ethiopia has been making efforts to ensure peace in Somalia.

Seyoum also briefed the official on the upcoming national elections.

He said the government of Ethiopia has been striving hard to make the forthcoming election peaceful, democratic and fair.

Wycoff said told journalists after the talks that America and Ethiopia have longstanding friendly relationships.

He further said America and Ethiopia have discussed on various issues ranging from economic development to human rights as well as democratic issues.

They also talked on regional and sub-regional issues including the Horn of Africa and Somalia.

He said IGAD and AU are good partners of America in ensuring stability in the Horn of Africa and Africa as a whole.

Expressing appreciation to economic development Ethiopia has registered in the last couple of years, Wycoff said America would work with the government of Ethiopia in this regard.

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