A Week in the Horn (16.04.2010)




A US Presidential executive on Somali sanctions

The United States Government has designated a total of eleven people and one organization, under a Presidential Executive Order, freezing any assets they may have under US jurisdiction, and prohibiting all financial and commercial transactions between any US person and these individuals and the entity, Al-Shabaab. The order, from President Obama, gives US Treasury officials broad powers to deal with Somali militants, allowing the Treasury Department to sanction or freeze the assets of individuals involved in piracy off Somalia’s coasts, or militants who have done anything to threaten Somalia’s stability. The order targets anyone who threatens the peace of Somalia, interferes with the delivery of humanitarian assistance or violates the UN’s arms embargo.

Top of the list is Al-Shabaab as an organization that is engaged in acts that directly and indirectly threaten the peace, security and stability of Somalia, threatening the Djibouti Agreement, the political process in Somalia and AMISOM, as well as obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance. Then comes a list of people involved with various opposition forces in Somalia, responsible for inciting attacks against the TFG, mobilizing support and raising funds for the Alliance for the Re-liberation of Somalia and Hizbul Islam and actively engaged in threatening the peace and security of Somalia. These include Yasin Ali Baynah, and Hassan Dahir Aweys, former chairman of the Eritrea-based Alliance for Re-liberation of Somalia and now of Hizbul Islam, Hassan Abdullah Hersi al-Turki, a senior Al-Shabaab commander, like Bashir Mohamed Mahamoud, and Ahmed Abdi aw-Mohamed (al Godane), the emir of Al-Shabaab. Others include Fuad Mohamed Khalaf, and three people allegedly involved in piracy: Mohamed Sa’id “Atom” a militia and pirate commander operating in Puntland, Abshir Abdullahi, described as key organizer and commander of some 500 pirates operating in the area of Eyl; and another principal organizer and financier of pirate activities, Mohamed Abdi Garaad. Another listed is Fares Mohammed Mana’a described as a known arms trafficker and reportedly involved in trafficking arms into Somalia for several years. The final name on the list is Yemane Ghebreab, head of Political Affairs in Eritrea’s single party, the Peoples Front for Democracy and Justice, and President Isaias’s adviser on Somalia. In its listing the US government notes that Yemane co-ordinates Asmara’s activities with Somali opposition groups, and points out that the Government of Eritrea formally rejects the Djibouti peace agreement of August 2008, denies the legitimacy of the TFG and opposes the presence of AMISOM. It says a “number of independent and mutually corroborating sources, including senior members of [opposition forces] have identified Yemane as a primary interlocutor on behalf of the Eritrean government with armed opposition groups threatening the TFG and AMISOM.”

Several countries have now begun to take steps to implement UN Security Council Resolution 1907 imposing sanctions against those involved in threatening the peace, security and stability of Somalia, and specifically identifying the role of Eritrea in this respect. The resolution decided the sanctions shall apply to “…individuals and entities, including but not limited to, the Eritrean political and military leadership, governmental, and parastatal entities privately owned by Eritrean nationals living within or outside of Eritrean territory, designated by the Committee”. The UN Sanctions Committee has, however, yet to take steps to itemise the names of those to whom the proposed sanctions should apply. Nor has it yet provided names for the sanctions proposed in UN Security Council Resolution 1844 (2008 ) which calls for member states to prevent entry or transit, freeze funds and assets and prevent the supply, sale or transit of weapons by individuals or entities designated by the Sanctions Committee with reference to Somalia, more precisely entities designated by the Committee:

(a) as engaging in or providing support for acts that threaten the peace, security or stability of Somalia, including acts that threaten the Djibouti Agreement of 18 August 2008 or the political process, or threaten the Transitional Federal Institutions or AMISOM by force;

(b) as having acted in violation of the general and complete arms embargo…

(c) as obstructing the delivery of humanitarian assistance to Somalia, or access to, or distribution of, humanitarian assistance in Somalia.

Since the decision of the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Eritrea last December, it should be expected that the UN Sanctions Committee will soon provide a list of the individuals and entities to be sanctioned.



The government’s progress report and a warning against incitement and violence

Prime Minister Meles presented a government report on Tuesday this week to the House of People’s Representatives detailing the progress made in some of the government’s major targets over the last nine months. The Prime Minister is required by law to report on the government’s performance twice a year, and this will be the last occasion before the election on May 23rd. In the economic sector government aims included registering more than 10% economic growth, bringing inflation down below 10% and achieving at least a 25% increase in exports. The Prime Minister noted that the projected economic growth for the current budget year was 10.1% and this would mean an average of over 10% growth for the 7th consecutive year. On inflation, incorporating the March figures demonstrated that the annual inflation rate had slowed to 3.9%, bringing the figure down more than expected. The Prime Minister said the export sector had declined by 10% last year, but the figures for the first eight months of this year showed 21% growth and he was optimistic that the targeted 25% could therefore be reached. He referred to the power shortages. He said Gilgel Gibe II should be repaired by July, and that the Tana Beles project would be finalized by the end of this month. This should resolve current power shortages and also accommodate any increase in power demand over the next year. He also noted that the government has successfully overcome the problems following the uneven distribution of last year’s kremt rains despite receiving less food aid than expected. He referred to the progress in attaining quality education, to the priority given to the expansion of health posts (with the aim of achieving one per 25,000 people) and the growth in health extension services. The Prime Minister also spoke of the importance of holding democratic, peaceful and credible elections pointing out the significance of the introduction of the code of conduct, the creation of joint council to settle disputes among parties, the agreement over access to media, the allocation of government funds and the invitation to foreign election observers. He detailed improvements to land management now starting in Addis Ababa and to the government’s efforts at revenue collection which this year will exceed the amount planned in the budget. He noted the problems there had been in VAT collection, including illegal activities of some civil servants, emphasising that improvements to revenue collection also required the participation and support of the public.

In sometimes frank exchanges following the statement, opposition MPs raised a number of issues with the Prime Minister. Dr. Merara Gudina of the Forum coalition said that opposition members were being harassed, that candidates had been beaten up and arrested, car windows had been broken and some of his party members had been forced to leave places. The EPRDF, he claimed, was deliberately transgressing the code of conduct. Others complained that election posters were being defaced and that many election officials were EPRDF members. Ato Lidetu Ayelew, chairman of the Ethiopian Democratic Party, alleged there had been attempts to campaign against him on religious lines in his constituency. Ato Lidetu added that he wanted to see action and not just words to deal with the attempts to defame him. The Prime Minister strongly condemned the defacing of election posters and similar activities from whatever side. Evidence of any such actions should, he added, be given to the party councils. The Prime Minister also noted that party members were forbidden to be election monitors and if any were found to be so they should be reported. In response to Dr. Merara, the Prime Minister noted it wasn’t the first time the Forum made these allegations despite the fact that it was on poor moral ground in making such complaints as it had repeatedly refused to sign the election code of conduct before it became law, demonstrating that it wasn’t ready to accept democratic principles voluntarily. Nevertheless, he added, the Forum did of course have the right to bring any complaints before the relevant organizations and obtain solutions, but cases must be supported by reliable evidence. He said this and other such allegations seemed to be intended to incite public unrest and violence, and he warned that it was no longer possible for people to do this and then to run away. If anybody thought this could be done, they were completely wrong. It would, he said, result in “dire consequences” for those responsible.

The Prime Minister defended the difference between the government’s predictions of 10.1% economic growth and opposition claims that the IMF put the figure at no more than 6%. He pointed out that this wasn’t what the IMF said, and in any case the government and the IMF always differed over the predictions. In fact, the IMF and the World Bank had both accepted the government’s actual figures for growth. He agreed that GDP was not perhaps the best measurement for growth but it was the measurement in general use. In reply to Ato Bulcha Demeksa, of the Oromo Federal Democratic Party, who wondered how Ethiopia could achieve the sort of figures only usually produced by China, South Korea or Taiwan, he pointed out that Ethiopia had devised and adopted a developmental model pertinent to its own experience, and had not “swallowed neo-liberalism without chewing”. Its experience was similar in this respect to China, South Korea and Taiwan and this explained Ethiopia’s results. On the issue of corruption over VAT, also raised by members of parliament, he accepted that there had been problems but emphasized that the government could and would take corrective action as soon as it became aware of the problem.



Foreign Minister Seyoum in Finland, Norway and Italy

A high level Ethiopian delegation led by Foreign Minster Seyoum Mesfin made official visits to Finland, Norway and Italy last week, between April 6th and April 10th, holding extensive discussions with high level officials in all three countries on wide-ranging issues of bilateral and regional matters of common interest. In Finland, the first country on his itinerary, Minister Seyoum was warmly welcomed by Mr. Alexander Stubb, Finland’s Minster for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paavo Vayrynen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Mr. Pekka Haavisto, an MP and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Special Representative for African Crisis areas, Astrid Thors, Minister of Migration and European Affairs and Martti Ahtisaari, the former President of Finland. Minister Seyoum briefed the Finnish ministers on the current state of affairs in Ethiopia as well as the political and security developments in the Horn of Africa, underlining the major political and economic achievements of recent years. He paid tribute to Finland’s important intervention in key economic and social areas through its development program in Ethiopia. He hoped the momentum of the program might be continued and even speeded up. Minister Seyoum also briefed the Finnish ministerial delegation on the preparations being made for the elections in Ethiopia. On their part, the Finnish officials emphasized that they were closely following Ethiopia’s political, economic and social progress, including the election process, with keen interest. They assured Minister Seyoum that Ethio-Finnish economic and political partnership would be further consolidated in the years ahead.

Following his successful visit to Finland, Minister Seyoum arrived in Norway where he held similar discussions with Mr. Jonas Gahr Store, Minster of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Ingrid Fiskaa, State Secretary for International Development, and Ms. Ine Marie E. Soreide, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Standing Committee. Minister Seyoum briefed the Norwegian authorities on Ethiopia’s progress in political, economic and social matters and on the preparations for May’s national and federal election. Noting the longstanding people-to-people relationship, Minister Seyoum expressed his profound appreciation of the economic partnership with Norway, emphasizing that adding the economic assistance from Ethiopia’s partners had been an important factor in achieving the double-digit economic growth Ethiopia had registered over the last six years. Minister Seyoum detailed the importance of the country’s ongoing power projects to Ethiopia and to the region at large as a source of clean and renewable energy, and requested the Norwegian authorities to consider making a strategic intervention in the energy sector. The Norwegian officials, who commended Ethiopia’s economic policy and its leadership’s commitment to lifting the country out of the vicious cycle of poverty, expressed their readiness to further expand areas of economic cooperation. During his visit Foreign Minister Seyoum held fruitful discussions with potential investors and briefed them on Ethiopia’s investment opportunities.

In both Finland and Norway, Minister Seyoum held discussions with his counterparts on regional issues with particular reference to current developments in Sudan and Somalia. Minister Seyoum also conducted a round table discussion on Sudan with a number of policy analysts at the Norwegian Research and Foreign Policy Institution. On Sudan, implementation of the CPA, this month’s election, next January’s referendum, post-referendum scenarios, Darfur and other related issues were the focal points of discussion. On Somalia, the recent political pact concluded between the Transitional Government and Ahlu Sunna wal Jama’a, piracy and the overall security and political situations were discussed in detail. The prevailing challenges and the narrow opportunities available in the quest for peace and security were explored. There was agreement on the need for urgent intervention in both countries by the international community to prevent degeneration into chaos. There was unanimity that the conflicts in the Sudan and Somalia could have major political ramifications throughout the Horn of Africa, and in the continent at large, unless preventive measures were taken, sooner rather than later.

Following the visit to Scandinavia, the Ethiopian delegation visited Italy where Minister Seyoum held talks with the Italian State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Enzo Scoti, and other senior officials. Bilateral economic relations and regional issues of common interest dominated the discussions. Both sides expressed a commitment to consolidate economic links, with particular emphasis on the on-going power projects. There was agreement that these projects would have a huge impact on regional economic integration and help create mutually advantageous links between the countries of the Horn. The Italian authorities reiterated their commitment to continue support for the power sector in coordination with other partners of Ethiopia. The talks also dealt with the current challenges facing the TFG in Somalia, particularly the absence of institutional capacity in the areas of security and defence, arising from the lack of financial resources that should have been committed by the international community. The Italian side emphasized that Italy has already committed substantial resources to the TFG in the areas of institutional building, humanitarian assistance, security and military matters. It underlined that Italy was also ready to play a leading role in galvanizing financial as well as political and diplomatic support for Somali’s Transitional Federal Government.


Meanwhile, following his return to Addis Ababa after a highly successful overseas tour, Foreign Minister Seyoum signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Head of the European Union Delegation, Ambassador Dino Sinigallia, for EU observation of the elections on May 23rd. Signed here in Addis Ababa on Wednesday, the Memorandum allows for the European Union to deploy an Election Observation Mission to operate on the basis of the laws of Ethiopia, accepted international standards and the European Union’s election observation methodology and election mission code of conduct. Speaking on the occasion, Minister Seyoum said he was pleased to welcome the decision of the EU to accept the invitation of the Ethiopian Government to monitor the election. He also noted that he was hopeful that the Observation Mission would make all possible efforts to ensure that the problems associated with the Observer Mission in 2005 were not repeated. He said that a consultation process had been put in place between representatives of the Government of Ethiopia and the European Union to settle any difference in interpretation of the memorandum and any issue over its implementation. Minister Seyoum emphasized that elections were an important element of democracy and an expression of the will of the people as laid down in the constitution. They were part of Ethiopia’s determined efforts to entrench democracy in the country. They were not however an end in themselves but a means of ensuring good governance through building strong democratic institutions. The Minister said the European Union was a valued development partner of Ethiopia. There were many issues the two agreed on, and sometimes there might be “some on which we disagree, but the mature relationship we have between us has ensured our relations remain strong.” It was fitting, the Minister said, that the European Union supported Ethiopia’s democratization process with the deployment of an election observation mission.



Sudan holds its multiparty elections

Last weekend, the Sudan held its first multiparty elections since the 1980s. Although facing considerable challenges and extended by an extra two days for logistical reasons, the process was largely peaceful in both the north and the south of the country. The people and Government of the Sudan, and the Government of South Sudan should all be congratulated for a peaceful and successful election. It underlines the fact that democracy and the will of the people has begun to mean something in the states of the region and emphasizes that peoples of the Horn in general and of the Sudan in particular are becoming able to assert their intentions on government. The elections were held in accordance with the provisions of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA). On elections, the CPA was very clear: “General elections at all levels of Government shall be completed by the end of the third year of the interim period; whoever runs in any election must respect, abide by and enforce the Peace Agreement; representation of the north and the south should be based on the population ratio; the percentages agreed herein are temporary and shall either be confirmed or adjusted on the basis of census results.” This made it very clear just how critical the election would be for the Sudan as a whole and implementation of the CPA in particular. The election is also a necessary pre-requisite for the referendum on the future of South Sudan which will be held next January.

Campaigning was largely peaceful even though some politicians earlier decided to withdraw from the presidential race, and some parties also decided not to participate. The leaderships of the Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement in the south and the National Congress Party in the north have made it clear they will be ready to work with any and all parties even after the elections. It is a reassuring sign that the process remains on the right track. Officials in the South have appealed to voters to keep calm even after the announcement of the results. The First Vice-President of the Sudan and President of the Government of South Sudan, Salva Kiir, told a press conference on the final day of campaigning last Friday that if the SPLM wins the Southern Sudan Presidency, as expected, he would make sure that the next southern government would also include other like-minded political parties in the South. His statement of inclusiveness was widely welcomed and is expected to help maintain calm after the results are announced.

In Khartoum, Presidential Adviser, Ghazi Salah Al-Deen Al-Attabani, said that the NCP would like the opposition to join the government ranks after the election, even those parties which boycotted the election. Al-Attabani noted: “We are facing important decisions like self-determination in the south and would like to garner as much support and as much consensus as we can”. Others seemed doubtful that some opposition parties would accept any such idea. Presidential Assistant, Nafie Ali Nafie, qualified Mr. Al-Attabani’s remarks by saying that those parties which boycotted the election would of course have to recognize the results if they wanted to take advantage of this offer, and he did not feel they would do so. At a press briefing, he accused some of planning a coup against the new government: “they are going to go to the streets and try to change the regime through conflict, riots.” He suggested they would try to convince public opinion that this was possible, but they would quickly discover any such idea was no more than a mirage”.

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-Moon has congratulated all those who took part in the elections, which he said “despite the reported irregularities and opposition boycotts, took place without any major incident of violence.” In a statement, the Secretary-General called on “all political leaders and their supporters to refrain from actions that could jeopardize the peaceful conclusion of the electoral process,” noting that any “electoral grievances should be addressed through appropriate legal and institutional channels and reviewed in a fair and transparent manner.” The elections were observed by observation missions from IGAD and the African Union, the European Union and the Carter Centre. With the results not yet declared, none of the Observer Missions have made any announcements about the conduct of the election process. There is no doubt, however, that the people of the Sudan have made a significant breakthrough which should be encouraged and commended. The process provides a positive example and lesson for the referendum planned for January 2011in South Sudan in accordance with the provisions of the CPA. IGAD in its recent Summit in Nairobi expressed its full support to the election in the Sudan, and urged the Government of the Sudan and all parties to ensure the removal of all obstacles to a free and fair election. They appear to have done so with remarkable success.



Ethiopian Community meetings in the United States

Last weekend, a delegation of Federal and regional state officials from Ethiopia held a meeting with members of the Diaspora in Los Angeles, California. Headed by Ato Berhane Hailu, Federal Minister of Justice, the delegation included representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and regional administrations. The meeting was chaired by Ambassador Taye Atske Selassie, Consul General in Los Angeles. Minister Berhane briefed the nearly two hundred participants on current political, economic and social issues, and on the preparations for the elections next month. He detailed Ethiopia’s over-all achievements and itemized noticeable shortcomings that still needed to be tackled. He underlined the importance of treating all citizens equally and justly, and underscored the need to accept the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. He emphasized the value of education in the fight against poverty and in helping to raise living standards. He highlighted the necessity to resolve differences of thought and opinion through peaceful discourse and dialogue. He spoke of the importance of enhancing the participation of women in all aspects of development, and of the need for hard work to build a democratic “middle-income” Ethiopia in the near future.

Meanwhile, another high-level delegation has also been touring the US. Led by the Vice-President of the Oromia Regional State, Ato Abdul-Aziz Mohammed, the delegation has been to Washington and Atlanta where it has been holding meetings and discussions with hundreds of Ethiopian-Americans. The delegation was welcomed in Washington by representatives of the Ethiopian-American Alliance and in Atlanta by representatives of the Ethiopia Joint Development Association. The delegation has been briefing members of the Diaspora on the preparations for the national and regional elections, and on current achievements and problems.



Ensuring the integrity of the upcoming elections: party loyalty to rules of the game

Strengthening of democracy in any country must largely depend upon the extent to which citizens take the process, and the institutions underpinning it, seriously. In a word, the success of a democracy building project depends on whether or not the citizens own the process. In the absence of a sense of ownership among various stakeholders, whether government or opposition parties, civic associations, individual citizens, achieving a meaningful level of democratization with no more than a declared embrace of lofty ideals can only be wishful thinking. In order to succeed in the process of building democracy, it is more than anything else necessary for stakeholders to be willing to remain true to their avowed beliefs, but even more to give their all to the further strengthening of the various institutions pivotal for democracy to take deeper root. At the very minimum, all stakeholders should be willing to abide by the fundamental rules of the game, ensuring the reliability and predictability of their own actions in a manner to help sustain a healthy regulation of the relations between and among each other. In fact, any regression to authoritarianism, as sometimes witnessed in Africa as elsewhere, can be attributed less to a lack of commitment to the ideals of democracy than to the reluctance by some stakeholders to properly observe the rules of the game in their efforts to achieve their intended alternative outcome to the process.

This particular challenge to the process of building democracy is nowhere more pronounced than the manner in which these stakeholders conduct themselves before, during and after elections. Otherwise latent but undemocratic proclivities often start to rear their head just as electoral processes begin in earnest. This challenge can be particularly troubling as the gains made in building democratic institutions between elections are often suspect after election-related recriminations and counter-recriminations. The integrity of the entire process is rendered doubtful. In a context where some stakeholders place a higher premium on the outcome of elections rather than the integrity of the process, and third parties are all-too-ready to denigrate the conduct of the election, elections can fall short of engendering democratic ideals. Indeed, they can degenerate into circuses putting the sustainability of the process into question. As circumstances in May 2005 made very clear, the propensity of some stakeholders to try to short-circuit the way to power, the failure to show loyalty to the rules of the game, can certainly cause major challenges that can outlive their original context.

The campaign for the elections is now gathering pace by the day. It is, therefore, worthwhile to reiterate the need for a hard and serious look at the way various stakeholders in the Ethiopian body politic are behaving. Political parties are putting forward their political platforms in various media. The allocation of air time in the public media has clearly helped parties access supporters and potential supporters across the country. The six televised debates among political parties have attracted a huge audience (the seventh debate is being held this evening). They have produced a significantly heightened interest in the content of the debates. Inter-party councils, as envisaged in the code of conduct, have been operating both at Federal and regional levels. Allegations of misconduct are therefore being handled in accordance with agreed procedures. There is a widespread sense of anticipation that the conduct of the election and the results will be as flawless as both government and opposition parties who are genuinely interested in the fairness of the whole procedure hope it will be. There does appear to be a much clearer understanding that the integrity of the elections are really crucial in ensuring the democratization process in the country can survive the gloomy predictions of its detractors abroad and the drab mimicry of their rejectionist elements within Ethiopia. As much as there is room for optimism, there are also indications that a lot more is still required both from government and opposition alike to hold undemocratic proclivities that might potentially stand in the way of conducting free and fair elections, in check.

Here, the idea of the loyalty of parties to the constitutional order cannot be overstressed. In fact, this is the centre-piece of any viable multi-party democracy. The most minimal knowledge of how democracy operates underlines the fact that the presence or absence of a loyal opposition, loyal that is to the constitutional order, is the difference between a functioning democracy and virtual anarchy. All parties should refrain from activities that undermine the rule of law or other democratic institutions for these are what will ultimately determine the viability of the entire democratization process. In the past, a major political undercurrent of the opposition in Ethiopia has been rejection of the concept of a loyal opposition. Opposition politics were often exemplified by debates full of sloganeering with a refusal to offer any hostages to fortune. Even today, the effect of this can be seen by a tendency of some in the opposition to consider anyone who expresses loyalty to the constitution as mere stooges of the government, however critical they may also be of government policies. The destructive effect of this mentality was very clear in the missed opportunities of May 2005. It is still far from clear whether all opposition learnt sufficient lessons from that episode. Some members of the opposition have been recently publicly declaring they are ‘the rightful successors of the CUD of 2005’, implying that problems of 2005 have not entirely disappeared. Ironically, proponents of this rejectionist tendency actually draw their main support from actors hailing from political systems that thrive on the existence of loyal opposition.

All genuine Ethiopian political parties, of whatever political persuasions, must repudiate this rejectionist tendency and the insulting stance of its foreign benefactors. Temptations to relapse into old habits of incessant allegations at every opportunity should be avoided as much as possible. Whatever complaints there may be, real or perceived, are better left to the inter-party councils. This will progressively encourage a sense of confidence in the institutions among all the parties which should also bear in mind that only strict adherence to the rule of law and continued tolerance and mutual respect towards each other can bring the desired benefits to the peoples of Ethiopia. The responsibility for the integrity of the electoral process carries a lot more weight than merely the specific outcome of the voting. As a party contending for power, the ruling party is, of course, duty bound to abide by the rules governing all parties. On a more fundamental level, its sense of ownership of the entire process should, as always, inform its relations with other parties. Its willingness to accommodate the demands of opposition parties during the series of negotiations on the code of conduct was exemplary. But negotiations among parties must always enhance the rule of law and never erode it. The ruling party should continue to hold itself as much accountable to the rules of the game as all other parties. It is commendable that it is continuing the training of its cadres on the code of conduct and other relevant laws. No one is above the law, and as Prime Minister Meles reiterated in his address to parliament this week, the ruling party is more than willing to co-operate with all parties loyal to the constitution irrespective of their political differences. The Prime Minister made it clear the EPRDF would have no qualms whatsoever about removing from its ranks members that display any undemocratic proclivities or any found interfering in the activities of opposition parties. His party, he said, would rather get rid of any recalcitrant members in order to ensure the integrity of elections than ignore any unbecoming behaviour. Reassuring to those who are able to back up allegations with evidence but they will also need to demonstrate any element of reciprocity, and stick to the rules of the game throughout.

The government is under no illusion that there is room for complacency. It will continue to do its level best to encourage all parties to come to terms with the need to respect the rule of law. It will also continue to insist that the integrity of the elections cannot be held hostage by rejectionist elements with a penchant for the dramatic. It must continue to insist that anything that falls short of affirming the rules of the game is out. The democratization process can never be allowed to degenerate into an exercise in cynicism. The election cannot be allowed to serve as the forum for rejectionist politicians with divided loyalty and external sponsors dictating alien demands. The peoples of Ethiopia deserve, and will get, better.



Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs