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Cablegate: Ethiopia: Ambassador Discusses Reconciliation And

VZCZCXRO5397
PP RUEHROV
DE RUEHDS #1279/01 1141527
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 241527Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 5829
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/HQ USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 ADDIS ABABA 001279

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF/E
LONDON, PARIS, ROME FOR AFRICA WATCHER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL KREL ET ER
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIA: AMBASSADOR DISCUSSES RECONCILIATION AND
DEVELOPMENT WITH PATRIARCH

REF: ADDIS ABABA 00451

1. (SBU) SUMMARY: In a courtesy call with the Patriarch of
the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Abuna Paulos, Ambassador
discussed the importance of the upcoming Ethiopian millennium
as a means to bring all Ethiopians together in the name of
reconciliation. The Patriarch echoed this view, saying that
the EOC plans its own religious summit at that time focused
on peace and unity. As Abuna Paulos is a president of the
World Council of Churches, he feels he can call on many
religious leaders from around the world to take part.
Ambassador and the Patriarch discussed several areas of
potential cooperation in this regard, also focusing on the
possibility of the Patriarch working with released CUD
detainees. END SUMMARY.

2. (U) On April 23, Ambassador and Poloff (notetaker) paid a
courtesy call to the Patriarch of the Ethiopian Orthodox
Church (EOC), Abuna Paulos. Ambassador used the introductory
meeting as an opportunity to discuss development plans for
Ethiopia and as a mutual exchange of offers for support and
guidance on Ethiopia's future

--------------------------------------------- ----
DIASPORA KEY IN SUCCESSFUL MILLENNIUM CELEBRATION
--------------------------------------------- ----

3. (SBU) Abuna Paulos began by explaining to the Ambassador
the EOC's plans for celebration of the Ethiopian millennium
celebration. (NOTE: Ethiopia uses the Julian calendar, under
which the current year is 1999. Their new year begins on
September 12 in the Gregorian calendar. END NOTE) He said
that with the hundreds of thousands of visitors expected to
visit Ethiopia around that time, and with many of them coming
from the diaspora in the US and EU, it is an ideal time to
work on Ethiopia's image and to help rebuild ties to
Ethiopians living abroad. However, "Ethiopia needs a big
brother with big shoulders," Abuna Paulos told the
Ambassador, in an effort to solicit support for the many
development projects scheduled in conjunction with the
millennium, specifically the construction of a new museum to
be built in the center of Addis Ababa. Ambassador informed
the Patriarch that the USG is planning on supporting a number
of initiatives and that large-scale projects will need
coordination with other donors and substantial time to plan
and implement.

4. (SBU) The Patriarch, who is a president on the World
Council of Churches, informed Ambassador of his desire also
to hold a religious summit at the time of the millennium, for
which religious, governmental and non-governmental leaders
from around the world would be invited to participate. The
focus of the event would be to promote peace and
reconciliation between faiths and among the Ethiopian
population. In his vision of "building a bridge to peace,"
Abuna Paulos envisions this event to also reach out to
Orthodox Church leaders in Eritrea and the US. The Patriarch
is seeking funding from the USG to assist with the planned
summit.

---------------------------------------------
ADDIS EOC KEEN TO PATCH THINGS UP WITH US EOC
---------------------------------------------

5. (SBU) Asked about recent efforts by the EOC in Addis Ababa
to mend ties with the EOC in the US (reftel), Abuna Paulos
said that the four archbishops that he had dispatched to the
US to meet with counterparts there had returned to Ethiopia,
but had been unsuccessful in their trip. Abuna Paulos
expressed regret of the divide that separates him and his
"brothers" in the US and the rift that occurred when the
EPRDF came to power which caused it. He said that he
recently released a statement in the US to this effect,
professing that no one had been forced out of Ethiopia as
widely believed. "Many people blamed me for that," he said,
but his only desire now, he says, is to bring the two
churches together again. When asked whether he himself would
visit the US again anytime soon, Abuna Paulos said that he
would like to, but that some in the US (from the US EOC) may
object.

--------------------------------------------- -------
PATRIARCH OFFERS TO WORK WITH RELEASED CUD DETAINEES
--------------------------------------------- -------


ADDIS ABAB 00001279 002 OF 002


6. (SBU) In light of other activities aimed at peace building
and reconciliation, Ambassador asked the Patriarch whether he
would be willing to focus his reconciliation efforts on the
Coalition for Unity and Democracy detainees that have been
released, and those that will hopefully be released in the
future. Though the Patriarch claimed that he was ignorant of
the political situation that these detainees find themselves
in, he nevertheless offered his help and said he recognizes
the need for Ethiopians to come together in the name of peace
and unity.

--------------------------------------------- -------
COMMENT: EOC SUPPORTS POST IN PEACE BUILDING EFFORTS
--------------------------------------------- -------

7. (SBU) In this very cordial meeting between Ambassador and
the Patriarch Abuna Paulos, both parties agreed that as
Ethiopia moves toward its highly publicized millennium
celebration, the focus needs to be on reconciliation. These
efforts should address differences between factions of the
EOC, as well as religious and political differences among
Ethiopians, both in the diaspora and at home. The Patriarch
pledged his help in supporting Embassy efforts in this
regard. Though the leadership of the EOC in Ethiopia is
viewed suspiciously by many who consider it too close to the
GoE, the church itself remains very powerful and may
nevertheless be instrumental in bringing disparate groups
together.
YAMAMOTO

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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