Dermot Ahern, The Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs, to meet Ethiopian PM over political crisis

Minister for Foreign Affairs Dermot Ahern is to hold talks with Ethiopian leaders in the country’s capital, Addis Ababa, today in a bid to help ease political tensions.
Mr Ahern, who is on a week-long official visit to Africa, held detailed discussions with the main opposition party in Kaliti prison yesterday and has also visited their representatives.
Following bitterly-contested elections in May 2005, leaders of the Coalition for Unity and Democracy (CUD) were imprisoned and are facing trial for treason and attempted genocide.
The CUD claims the polls were rigged – charges rejected by the government.
“The stand-off between government and opposition must be settled peacefully and through dialogue. Ireland will do all in its power to facilitate that dialogue,” Mr Ahern said.
Ethiopia is also facing considerable and ongoing difficulties in its relations with Eritrea following a long and bloody border war. An agreed and lasting peace between the two nations is crucial for the entire region, Mr Ahern said.
The minister will hold a two-hour meeting with Ethiopian prime minister Meles Zenawi and will also meet foreign minister Seyoum Mesfin.
“There is considerable interest in the Irish peace process here, on all sides. In that context I have undertaken to brief the prime minister and foreign minister on the process of conflict resolution in Ireland and to outline possible parallels between our countries,” Mr Ahern said.
The minister has already visited the war-torn Darfur region in western Sudan.

posted by Ethiounited Moderator at2:18 AM

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