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US Says Ethiopia Must Renew Political Dialogue


The United States says Ethiopia's government and opposition must resolve their differences through dialogue to defuse a political standoff that erupted in violence last week.

The acting U.S. Ambassador to Ethiopia, Vicki Huddleston, is expressing concern about the political impasse in Ethiopia, which led to violent street protests last week that killed scores of demonstrators, left hundreds wounded and thousands jailed.

Ms. Huddleston says the turmoil, stemming from last May's disputed election, holds back Ethiopia's emergence as a leader in Africa and the world community. "In the internal affairs of a nation, there's no divorce. You've got to listen to all the voices. To resolve the quarrels of the family and the quarrels of the nation, the way ahead is clearly through dialogue, through building trust and confidence, through a peaceful means, to a strong, democratic nation," Ambassador Huddleston said.

Negotiations between the government and opposition collapsed last month over the composition of a National Electoral Board.

The opposition Coalition for Unity and Democracy accuses the government of stealing last May's election. Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, who won a third term, says he won fairly.

Following last week's violence, most of the CUP leadership have been jailed. Police announced a manhunt Tuesday for more than 20 people accused of having links to the violence, many of them journalists.

In the capital of Addis Ababa, commerce and public transportation is beginning to be restored after the government warned taxi drivers and business owners their licenses will be revoked if they do not resume services.

Government officials have posted notices on some shops in the capital's biggest commercial district, Merkato, saying the businesses have been closed for violating the decree.

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