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May 02, 2010

Ethiopia Accusation Dismissed as ‘Ton of Mourning’

by Peter Clottey

Eritrea’s information minister says Ethiopia’s latest accusations that Asmara is arming insurgents to disrupt this month’s general elections is a diversionary tactic aimed at controlling Ethiopian voters ahead of the poll.

Ali Abdu said Ethiopia is simply “creating drama after the United Nations’ targeted sanctions failed to cripple Eritrea.”

“This latest accusation has two objectives: number one is I can call it ton of mourning meaning, after the failure of the so-called sanctions, the ton of frustration is coming out from the Ethiopian regime.  This is why that government is uttering a ton of mourning.  [The] second point is to divert the attention of the Ethiopian people in this election time,” he said.

Ethiopia’s News Agency reported that it has documentary evidence that shows Eritrea is planning to use explosives to destabilize the country ahead of the elections.  This comes after Ethiopia security agencies said they have apprehended members of the Oromo National Liberation Front (ONLF) and al-Shabab who were trained by the Eritrean government to undermine the poll.

Minister Abdu said Ethiopia’s government often creates internal tensions and blames neighboring countries for it – a charge Ethiopia denies.

“The Ethiopia regime has the habit of terrorizing people and creating a ghost enemy that, when the people oppose this drama of election, they will be intimidated as terrorists,” Abdu said.

Ethiopia’s Joint Anti-Terror Taskforce of the National Intelligence and Security Service, as well as the Federal Police, called on Ethiopians to “intensify efforts to curtail the disruptive acts of the Eritrean government and its clique.”

But, Minister Abdu denied supporting opposition groups to destabilize neighboring Ethiopia.

“This is not our political culture and this is not our political psychology.  We, to the contrary, have fought and will fight for stabilization and [an] inclusive Ethiopia.  That is why we supported the incumbent regime hoping that they will work for the betterment of Ethiopia for united and inclusive Ethiopia.  But, unfortunately, that group turned to be a family regime,” Abdu said.

Meanwhile, Djibouti's foreign minister, Mahmoud Ali Youssef, recently accused neighboring Eritrea of “exporting chaos.”  "They have started training militias and arming them to carry out sabotage in Djibouti just as they support elements in the Ogaden region of Ethiopia,” Yousssef said.

But, Abdu dismissed the accusation as without merit.

“A very simple logical question, what did Eritrea do and where is the evidence?  Where are the accusations, which have been coming time and time again from different sources…why is Eritrea being blamed for nothing that it did?  Who is the real power behind these accusations?  I mean people should ask simple logic(al) questions, not just repeat what others have said,” Abdu said.