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Meles Hopes UN Will Back AU In Deploying Forces In Somalia
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, June 15, 2007 – Ethiopian Prime Minster, Meles Zenawi expressed hope that the United Nations Security Council that will visit Ethiopia by the end of this week would back the African Union (AU) financially so that additional peacekeeping troops will be deployed in Somalia.
Meles said that he expects the visit of UN Security Council to Ethiopia will bring some good news that shares the responsibilities Ethiopia is shouldering so far.
“Our stay in Somalia has enormous financial burden on Ethiopia and we wish to be relieved of this burden,” said Meles in the press conference. “We hope and expect the Security Council to understand the burden we are shouldering and help in relieving them.”
Asked if Ethiopian soldier’s causalities in Somalia were in thousands after attempts to target Ethiopian military trucks, the Prime Minster retorted “if Ethiopian troop’s causalities were in the thousands, there wouldn’t have been any soldier in Somalia because all of them would have been dead”.
“No Ethiopian soldier has been killed by any terrorist activities since the end of the fighting in Mogadishu that was in April”, Meles reiterated.
In a press conference Meles gave at the end of last week after his trip to Germany to attend the G8 meeting, he also conveyed his dissatisfaction over the move of UN security council regarding Eritrea’s violation of the Algiers cease fire agreement.
After indicating it is very unfortunate that Eritrea is moving to the direction of harboring terrorists of all sorts in the region, Meles said his government expects the international community would prevail upon the leadership of Eritrea to move away from the destruction path that they appear to have selected for themselves.
“I hope the UN Security Council will live up to its expectations regarding the violation of this cease fire agreement,” he added.
Talking about the National consciousness program the government is planning with respect to the Ethiopian millennium, Meles made it clear that it wouldn’t include groups like OLF or ONLF and added if the CUD leaders in jail want to become part of the program, they need to rehabilitate themselves in the political process in Ethiopia. “It is up to the leaders themselves as to whether they wish to abandon their destructive policy they started and seek to be part and parcel of the peaceful democratic process,” he said.
CUD leaders in jail together with journalists and publishing companies were convicted early this week of four different charges and they are expecting their sentence in less than a month’s time.
Members of the United Nations Security Council left yesterday Thursday, June 14, 2007 on a weeklong mission to Ethiopia, Sudan, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in support of ongoing peace efforts in Africa.
On Saturday, under the joint leadership of Ambassadors Emyr Jones-Parry of the United Kingdom and Dumisani Kumalo of South Africa, the delegation will meet in Addis Ababa with African Union (AU) and Ethiopian officials, as well as with the AU Peace and Security Council, a UN spokesperson announced.
The Council will then head to Khartoum, where meetings are planned for Sunday with President Omar al-Bashir and other top Sudanese officials and with officials from the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).
On Monday, delegates will be in Accra, Ghana, to meet with President John Kufuor in his capacity as AU President.
The following day the Council delegation will be in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire, for meetings with Ivorian leaders, including President Laurent Gbagbo and Prime Minister Guillaume Soro.
Later on Tuesday, the delegation will proceed to Kinshasa in the DRC, where Council delegates will meet with President Joseph Kabila, key parliamentary leaders and officials from the UN peacekeeping mission (MONUC), according to the spokesperson, who said the delegation will return to New York on 21 June.
Source: The Sub-Saharan Informer