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Ethiopian Prime Minister Accuses Eritrea Of Fomenting Unrest

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi today accused Eritrea of trying to foment unrest in Ethiopia. The accusation comes one day after a series of bombings killed one person and injured 15 others in the capital, Addis Ababa. Mr. Meles accused Eritrea of collaborating with remnants of the government of former dictator Mengistu Haile Mariam -- and with separatist rebel groups. He said the wish of the Eritrean government is to see what he called a divided or a much weakened Ethiopia. Explosions have become commonplace in the Ethiopian capital in recent months.

Girma Asmerom is Eritrea’s ambassador to the United States. In an interview with English to Africa reporter Ashenafi Abedje, Ambassador Girma dismissed Prime Minister Meles’ accusations as “a lie and pure fabrication” aimed at diverting attention from the political situation in Ethiopia. He says, “The basic cause of the problem in Ethiopia is the existence of one party, a minority party with one ethnic group leading Ethiopia. Ambassador Girma accuses the prime minister of having “stolen the vote” in last May’s parliamentary elections and “detaining people who have defeated him at the ballot box.”

The ambassador says, “There is injustice in Ethiopia. Wherever there is injustice, the international community should support people deprived of justice. In that context, we have had long-term relations with Oromo Liberation Movement” – a group he says was even part of Ethiopia’s transitional government in the early ‘90’s. He adds, “Eritrea’s support to these people’s struggle for justice is strictly political, and absolutely nothing to do with inciting unrest.” Ambassador Girma says there is no linkage between the unresolved border issue and currently heightened state of strained relations between the two countries.