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United States called for “inclusive national discourse on matters of importance to Ethiopian citizens”

The United States calls for “transparent investigation” into the killings protestors last week in Ethiopia.

borkena, Ethiopian News
October 18,2017

United States - USAID - US Embassy in Addis Ababa - Ethiopia
US embassy in Addis Ababa
Photo credit : US embassy

The United States embassy in Addis Ababa issued a statement today regarding the ongoing situation in Ethiopia.

Usually, United States’ statement on a crisis like situation is murky and equivocal. Not today’s statement. There were times when the US called for “restraint on both sides” even at a time when more than 200 civilians were killed by security forces with an order from the late Meles Zenawi.

Today’s statement seems to have a different tone. It went to the extent of calling for a national discourse, perhaps an indication of the deteriorating situation in the country.

A renewed popular protest broke out in Oromo region of Ethiopia last week; so far up to ten civilians are killed. The US Embassy called for “transparent investigation that allows those responsible for the violence to be held accountable.”

The protest in the region unequivocally called for an end to the end of United States’ client regime, Tigray People’s Liberation Front. Regional police (Oromia police) demonstrated an apparent sentiment for the causes of the protest and many pictures that emerged in social media show, unlike in the past, police taking a picture with protestors. The statement from the US embassy seems to have noted that: “We note with appreciation a number of recent events during which demonstrators expressed themselves peacefully, and during which security forces exercised restraint in allowing them to do so.”

The statement added, “…we encourage constructive, peaceful, and inclusive national discourse on matters of importance to Ethiopian citizens.” Clearly, it seems to have noted influence of radical Oromo ethno-nationalists activism which claims clandestine leadership at the grassroots level and perhaps the recklessness of radical Tigray ethno-supermacists the ruling party too.

Two US senators, James Inhofe and Michael Enzi, visited Ethiopia last week and discussed US-Ethiopia relation with prime minister Hailemariam Desalegne.

After the end of the cold war and with the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ethiopia was reduced to virtually a US sphere of influence. Currently, the United States is funding “cultural preservation” projects in Ethiopia, among other things.

Herman Cohen, United States’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs between 1989 to 1993, was instrumental in installing Tigray People’s Liberation Front as the new government in Ethiopia after his government helped precipitate the collapse of Colonel Mengistu’s government which was then a USSR client.

Since then, it has developed an arms-length relationship with the regime and has been a leading donor to it.

When opposition parties united in Ethiopia under the umbrella of Coalition for Unity and Democracy ( then popularly known in Ethiopia as Kijit) and denied election victory for US’ client government in 2005, the US acted as a “peacemaker” between the opposition and the ruling party.

Once the opposition was crumpled and the leaders sent to jail virtually for winning the election, the United States continued to fund its client regime, TPLF.

Another popular movement broke out in Ethiopia in 2016. People demanded an end to the proxy ruthless rule of Tigray People’s Liberation Front. The ruling party had to introduce a state of emergency to control the movement and more than five hundred civilians were killed across Ethiopia.

US influence and dominance over Ethiopian affair do not seem to be as strong as it used to be. There is a growing foreign interest in Ethiopia with different objectives. There is Turkish economic presence with is cultural interest. There is Chinese investment and interest. In fact, China established its first naval base in Djibouti, which is next door to Ethiopia. And the region has become a ground for contesting interests.

You may read today’s statement on US Embassy in Ethiopia’s website.

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