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Cablegate: Ethiopian Pm Addresses Parliament On Unrest,

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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHDS #4181/01 3561035
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 221035Z DEC 05
FM AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8373
INFO RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHMFISS/CJTF HOA PRIORITY
RUEKDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/NSC WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS ADDIS ABABA 004181

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR AF DAS YAMAMOTO AND AF/E

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PHUM KDEM KJUS ET
SUBJECT: ETHIOPIAN PM ADDRESSES PARLIAMENT ON UNREST,
REFORMS AND BORDER ISSUE

1. SUMMARY. In a December 13 address to Parliament,
Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi focused on the
impending prosecution of CUD opposition party members, a
newly established commission set to probe the June and
December violence, and Ethiopia's commitment to withdraw
troops near the border with Eritrea to December 2004
positions. Acknowledging that the government was preoccupied
with bringing "CUD violent hardliners" to justice and
investigating its own actions in June and December, the Prime
Minister admitted little progress had been made recently on
electoral, civil service, justice and budget reforms. He
also reaffirmed the GOE's commitment to withdraw troops from
the Eritrean border as per United Nations Security Resolution
1640.

2. The entire text of PM Meles' address is included below.
This is an unofficial translation posted by state-run media
outlets. Section titles have been added for readability.

3. BEGIN TEXT:

Please allow me to present briefly a report pertaining to the
activities of the executive body after the approval of the
cabinet by the Honored House.

The executive body has been busy with the implementation of
the objectives of peace, democracy and development, which
were forwarded by the ruling party in the election process.

-------------------------------
PROSECUTION OF CUD "HARDLINERS"
-------------------------------

To realize the building of a democratic system various
activities have been undertaken in the last two months. In
this regard, the incident of street violence that was
instigated by the CUD hardliner leadership and later on
attempted to be prolonged by OLF attracted our attention to a
great extent to control and ensure peace, stability and the
rule of law. As the Police Commissioner had already reported
the details of the violence I do not go back to that issue.
However, I would like to focus on some points that are not
touched on by the report of the Commissioner as follows.

Despite the tireless efforts of the government to settle the
disputes that came out in connection with the elections and
following the situation of violence and bloodshed, as a
result of the refusal of the CUD violent hardliners to
dialogue, appropriate measures have been taken to put the
violent hardliners under control and bring them to justice in
accordance with the law. Police have put under custody those
suspects who have attempted to demolish the constitutional
order and brought their cases to the prosecutor straight away
after investigation. The prosecutor is also ready to sue the
suspects based on the police investigation in few days time
soon. Thus, grounds have been laid to conduct the trial of
violent CUD hardliner leaders in regular court in public in
line with the constitution with due respect to their
constitutional rights. As the case is mainly to be handled in
court now onwards, the executive body is to wait for the
judgment of the court and is ready to execute it, under
restricted mission to ensure respect of the law. Those youth
who had participated in thousands in the CUD violent
hardliner orchestrated street riot were temporarily put under
control and most of them have been released after
investigation and yet about three thousand of them are to
face justice for the various crimes they committed. The case
of these youngsters is also to be left mainly to the
judiciary. Hence the executive body is expecting the judgment
of the courts and is ready to execute the decision.

After the swift collapse of the street violence that was
instigated by CUD, principally through the efforts of the
peace loving and law observing public and the sacrifices paid
and efforts exerted by the security forces, OLF has tried to
create similar unrest in Oromia Region in coordination with
Shaebia. This attempt has been put under control in all rural
and most urban areas in Oromia without causing any
difficulty, even though school interruptions have occurred in
some West Shoa and West Wellega zone towns. Moreover, in some
towns like Ambo and Jeldu, conflict sparking attempts were
made. As the problem was bound in few towns and not demanded
extra force other than the local administration could exert
the federal government did not intervene.

The regional government by coordinating law enforcing bodies
and the public has taken necessary actions and is undertaking
activities to bring to justice those individuals and groups
who have played leading role in the unrest.

Hence, it has been possible to crash (sic) the coordinated
attempts of the violence forces that targeted to disrupt the
stability of our country. The government would also commit
itself to make strict follow up to crash similar attempts at
their infancy.

--------------------------------------------- ---
INDEPENDENT INQUIRY INTO JUNE, DECEMBER VIOLENCE
--------------------------------------------- ---

Ensuring the rule of law is a corner stone in building a
democratic system. The government has the authority and the
obligation of taking necessary actions to maintain the rule
of law, peace and stability. It is believed that the
government should discharge its responsibility adhering to
the rule of law as well. Despite the fact that the government
is duty bound to take necessary actions to ensure the reign
of law and order, it must not use excess force. In case it is
found using excess force it is accountable. In the bid to
protect the law and halt the violence, different parties
complained that the security forces have used excess power.
In line with this the government has started the
investigation process. The Honored House has also established
by proclamation a free and neutral Inquiry Commission by
virtue of its power to control the executive body. The
government has also instructed all concerned bodies to
cooperate with the Inquiry Commission based on the decision
of the House of Peoples' Representatives. We are now ready to
execute any decision that would come out of the Inquiry
Commission's final investigation task. In general, the
government has successfully accomplished the task of ensuring
the rule of law by living up to the expectation of our
struggle to build a democratic system in that it controlled
in a very short time, as opposed to the wish or fear of
certain groups, the violence that geared to turn over the
government, made possible the investigation of the cases of
those who are involved in violence and brought them to the
court and facilitated the realization of the Inquiry
Commission that would investigate complaints.

--------------------
PARLIAMENTARY REFORM
--------------------

In addition to the successfully undertaking activities of
ensuring the rule of law in the last two months the executive
body has also carried out several performances pertaining to
a democratic system building. Endeavors are being exerted to
look into the developments that have occurred after the
election and examine the shortcomings and put in action plans
that would correct inadequacies and prevent incidence of
violence. It is to be recalled that one of the major
criticisms that opposition parties and some sections put
against our democratic process is the code of conduct and
operational procedure of the House of Peoples'
Representatives. It is also obvious that this code of conduct
and operational procedure is criticized as if it is uncommon
in other old democracies and that it would limit the role of
opposition parties. Based on this it is to be recalled as
well that the government promised to draw lessons from four
countries that have rich experiences of parliamentary system
namely: Canada, Germany, India and Britain.

Accordingly the Spokes Person of the House of Peoples
Representatives has prepared a guideline that would enable to
hire external professionals who would study our code of
conduct and operational procedure vis--vis that of the
experienced democracies and identify in our conduct and
operational procedure those articles that are less
democratic.

If the external experts prove with tangible evidence that our
code of conduct and operational procedure is in one way or
another that it is far away from the mentioned four countries
system and meant to restrict the role of the opposition, the
ruling party would be ready to correct those articles soon
according to its prior pledge.

Based on the stated study if the ethics and working
procedures of our country include no article except those
found in one or the other of the four countries it will be

notified publicly. Accordingly if there are any problems
raised by opposition parties after our ethics and working
procedure has been proven to be similar with that of those
countries who have advanced culture of democracy, the ruling
party will be ready to solve them. As the main issue at
present is ensuring whether our ethics and working procedure
is similar or different from that of the countries with
advanced democratic culture, the government's main concern
will be to work together with concerned bodies to complete
the stated study rapidly.

----------------
ELECTORAL REFORM
----------------

It is to be recalled that re-election was held after
extensive work of investigation in areas where problems
encountered during the third national election. The process
of investigation and corrective measures proved that the
office of the Electoral Board has a considerable problem of
executive capacity. Thus relevant governmental bodies have
taken various measures to resolve these problems.

It is also to be recalled that the House of Peoples
Representatives decided to extend the mandate of the Board up
to Sene 1998 E.C. (June 2006) and it was given the mission to
present complete election report to the House as well as to
build its executive capacity. Based on this, the Board has
made foreign consultancy body, which has been closely
following up the election and providing professional support
present brief evaluation report.

The Board has taken practical measures to employ foreign
consultants who would address the problems identified in the
evaluation report and a guideline has been prepared. The
government will work with concerned bodies to successfully
implement the capacity building work of the Board by taking
lessons from countries with advanced democratic culture.

--------------
MEDIA FREEDOMS
--------------

Mass media plays an irreplaceable role in building a
democratic system. The state media played a very constructive
role during the election campaign and it was appreciated
internationally. However opposition parties have been raising
complaints regarding media utilization after the election. It
is essential to investigate these complaints and give lasting
solution if there are problems.

On the other hand the private media has been proven to be the
main weapons of violence and upheaval. It also included
journalists engaged in illegal activities.

It was found to be essential to create a condition in which
the media will free itself from illegal activity and
contribute its share in the democratization process. In this
respect issuing a legal framework and creating a strong
accountability system is believed to be something that should
be given a special attention.

Although there was a draft press law, which prepared with the
participation of all stakeholders, based on our recent
experiences and by taking lessons from countries with
advanced democratic culture, enrichment of the draft press
law is underway with foreign professionals. In order to be
able to enrich the draft law by adopting legal frameworks and
systems of accountability from countries that are advanced in
their democratic culture, practical measure is being taken by
the Speaker of the House. The government will do its level
best together with other stakeholders to enable private and
state media to contribute their share in the democratization
process by respecting law and order and by being responsible
and accountable.

-----------------------------
CUD MPs SHOULD FORM NEW PARTY
-----------------------------

On this occasion, I would like to ascertain that the ruling
party is ready to engage in dialogue with opposition parties
that respect law and order. As the violent leaders of CUD
perpetrated their illegal action in the name of their party
CUD is accused as a party.

If there is any decision to be made by the court in this
respect the Administration will implement it rapidly. This
being the case it is to be recalled that the government has
noted that those who have not been detained have three
options. Should they condemn the illegal activities and
objectives of CUD and respect the constitution and other laws
of the land and opt to engage in politics either by
establishing themselves as a new political organization
individually, the government will ensure their right. It was
also made clear that if they pursue, in one way or another,
the violent option of CUD, the government will take legal
measures against them, and if there are members who take
themselves out of politics their right will be respected.

Accordingly, some of the party leaders and members on whom
decision had not been passed to detain are now being put
under control as they are found involving in illegal
activities while others are given last warning to refrain
themselves from doing such acts.

Other members of the CUD have desire to work independently
and based on the law. Out of the 109 CUD representatives
elected for the House of Peoples Representatives MPs not less
than 66 have joined the parliament, which the government
considers it as a commendable measure as this is the
manifestation of pursuing their cause legally and peacefully.
If these people decide to pursue their politics independently
or by establishing themselves a new party their move will be
legal and acceptable unless it promotes violence.

--------------------------------------------- ----------------
EPRDF TO ADMINISTER ADDIS ABABA PROVISIONALLY IN ABSENCE OF
CUD
--------------------------------------------- ----------------

The other issue to be raised in connection with this is the
issue of the Addis Ababa Administration. The government
believes that like in other parts of the country, residents
of Addis Ababa should be governed by a party they elected.

It is to be recalled that the necessary preparations had been
made to hand over the administrative power of Addis Ababa
council to the CUD who won majority seats. However CUD failed
to take responsibility of the administration due to its
violent mission, and in order to fill the power gap in Addis
Ababa the House decided for the provisional administration to
remain in power and ordered for a lasting solution to be
sought and to be presented immediately.

Based on the order and decision of the House, directives have
been issued for the provisional administration to continue in
power for three months and set provisional plans. However the
government has refrained from giving final decision in order
to close the chance of the residents to be administered by
the party they elected.

However if the situation continues like this it will
contradict the order the House passed for lasting solution to
be sought on one hand, and on the other hand it will hurt the
socio economic development of the city. Therefore, I would
like to make sure that I would present after discussing with
concerned bodies an option that is believed to address the
problem sustainably in one-month period.

----------------------------------------
CIVIL SERVICE AND JUSTICE REFORM DELAYED
----------------------------------------

It's clear that strong democratic system can exist when
democratic and good governance institutions are built.
Cognizant of this, the government has been vigorously engaged
in building democratic institutions. In this regard the civil
service reform and the justice system have been given special
attention however, due to election related problems it
received less attention in the last two months.

Because of this, a situation arose in which the programs
weakened and sometimes a tendency came about in which the
results that have been achieved became reversed. In
recognition of this fact, the government has carried out
tasks in the last two months to re-start and continue,
aggressively, the reform programs. The result of this
endeavor would be presented to the parliament regularly by
the concerned bodies.

-------------------------

ETHIOPIA-ERITREA CONFLICT
-------------------------

Side by side with the government's relentless effort to
realize our democratic goals, various efforts have been made
to achieve our peace objectives in the last two months.
Accordingly, an issue of special attention has been
preventing armed hostilities between Ethiopia and Eritrea and
achieving sustainable and peaceful solution to the problem.
Since the moment is one in which the Eritrean government has
taken measures aggravating the tense situation in the border
areas and is beating the war drum, it has become appropriate
and essential that the issue gets a serious attention more
than any time before.

If the Eritrean government believes that it would achieve
victory from the war, there is no doubt that it would start
one.

Therefore, the only way to avoid the possibility of war is to
build up a balance of power to show that the Eritrean
government would not achieve any victorious outcome if it
starts a war. Accordingly, the government has carried out
satisfactory tasks in the last few years to bring about such
a balance of power. Such a task will continue until
sustainable peace is achieved. When the Eritrean government
took measures aggravating the tense situation in the border
areas, the government has strengthened our defense forces in
the area in the last two months so that, on the one hand, to
avoid armed hostilities emerging out of wrong assumptions and
on the other hand, to be able to take speedy and decisive
action in the event of armed hostilities breaking out.

Hand in hand with this measure to address the danger of war,
the government would exert its utmost effort to bring lasting
and peaceful resolution to the problem. Thus, many attempts
have been made to realize the five-point peace proposal we
made last year to find a negotiated settlement.

The UN Security Council is closely following the issue and
after many deliberations in the last few weeks have made many
decisions. One of the decisions is the return of the deployed
Ethiopian defense force to its last year's position.
Although, the decisions made by the UN are not without their
own limitations, since the Ethiopian government is firmly
committed to implementing decisions passed by a body with a
huge duty as the UN Security Council, and returning our
defense forces to last year's position as well as keeping
away our extra forces from the border would not harm our
strength, we are implementing the decision by the Security
Council.

On the other hand, we have made an appropriate and positive
response, as we used to do, to the call for the
implementation of the decision by the boundary commission. As
we all know, although Ethiopia believes that the decision of
the boundary commission is wrong, she has accepted the
decision in principle. On top of that, to be able to
implement the decision so that it could ensure sustainable
peace, Ethiopia has indicated its readiness to address the
issue through discussion and negotiation. The government
would continue with this correct peaceful stand energetically.

--------------------------------------------- ------
BUDGET AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION WEAKENED
--------------------------------------------- ------

We know that our government's major focus and undertakings is
on development. Various tasks have been carried out in the
last two months to implement the budget and development
programs approved last year. Because of the tense situation
created in relation to issues of the election in Addis Ababa
and a few other towns, on top of causing harm to the
development endeavor in these towns, by diverting the
attention of the government, and particularly that of civil
servants, the development programs suffered a weakening in
implementation, to some extent. In recognition of this
situation, the government has taken measures to ensure that
all development forces made the appropriate effort towards
development. Encouraging results are recorded in this regard
and we believe that the details of the implementation of our
development tasks will be reported by the relevant bodies in
the future.

Together with the relentless effort to implement the targets
of the year, a huge effort has been made to complete the

preparation of the coming five years' development targets.
Currently, since the preparation has been completed it is
expected that it would be presented for discussion by the
cabinet of ministers. After that it would be presented to the
Parliament for exhaustive discussion. The five-year target,
which would be approved in this way, would serve as our
strategic plan for all of our development tasks.

Thank you.

END TEXT.
HUDDLESTON

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